Righteous Weeping

Posted: April 18, 2014 in Jeremiah

Jeremiah 8:4-9:26, “Righteous Weeping”

God is good – all the time.  We say it, but do we mean it?  Obviously we recognize God’s goodness during our joyful times – and we often cling to God’s goodness when we are in the midst of trials.  But what about periods of discipline?  When God takes us to the proverbial woodshed, do we still trust in God’s goodness and righteousness?  Prior to a spanking, parents sometimes tell their children, “This will hurt me more than it hurts you…you’ll thank me for this when you’re older.”  As a child, I never believed it – though today I am grateful for the discipline that my parents gave me.  Do we do the same with God?

There are times that God HAS to discipline His children.  God will show Himself righteous in the face of all sin, though for many people, the righteousness of God will be demonstrated on the day of judgment.  Yet for the people who are called by the name of God – the people who belong to God through Jesus Christ, sometimes God has to bring His discipline to us right now.  He cannot allow sin to continue unchecked…especially among His own people.  After all, we are a witness of God unto all the world.  Sometimes we witness of His grace and glory, and other times we witness of His righteousness as God acts in our lives.

This much is certain: God will always do what is right.  That’s one thing He demonstrated with the Jews as He promised the pouring out of His wrath through the Babylonians.  In Ch 8-9, God once again details the sins of the people, describing their rejection of Him, and clearly proclaims that He will bring His withering discipline and wrath.  In response to it all, Jeremiah weeps.  And this is the right response.  Jeremiah rightly grieves over the sins of the people, even when the people don’t recognize it.  And though Jeremiah can weep over the judgment of God, he still recognizes that it is the right judgment.  Why?  Because God is good, all the time.

Jeremiah 8

  • False teaching from a sinful people (vss. 4-13)

4 “Moreover you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Will they fall and not rise? Will one turn away and not return? 5 Why has this people slidden back, Jerusalem, in a perpetual backsliding? They hold fast to deceit, They refuse to return. 6 I listened and heard, But they do not speak aright. No man repented of his wickedness, Saying, ‘What have I done?’ Everyone turned to his own course, As the horse rushes into the battle.

  • The fact that vs. 4 begins with a “moreover” reminds us that we’re picking up in the middle of something that God had already given Jeremiah to say to the people.  The Lord had just shown Jeremiah a picture of horrendous destruction.  The Jews had so defiled the things of God that God would allow their bodies to be defiled.  So many people of Jerusalem would die that their bodies would go unburied, becoming food for carrion birds.  Beyond that, the Babylonians would open up graves, and pile up previously buried bones in the sun.  Everything would be desolate and defiled.  It’s in light of all of that destruction that God gives this further word as He questions His people.
  • The question: “Why are they still sinning?” After all that God promised to bring to them, they still “backslide,” going further and further away from God.  They choose to cling to their sin, even rushing to engage in MORE sin, utterly refusing to repent.
  • We could ask ourselves the same question when we go back to the same sins like we’ve always done.  Like a dog returning to vomit…  What will it take for us to wake up & wise up?  Hopefully God will not have to bring the level of discipline into our lives as He had to bring to the Jews. …
    • Likewise, a similar question could be asked of our nation.  What will it take for our culture to stop backsliding? It may take a similar level of discipline as it did for Jerusalem!

7 “Even the stork in the heavens Knows her appointed times; And the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow Observe the time of their coming. But My people do not know the judgment of the LORD.

  • Quite a bit of irony here.  The birds know when to change direction and migrate, but God’s own people cannot recognize the time to repent and turn around.
  • What was the problem?  They did “not know the judgment of the LORD.”  They didn’t know (or refused to acknowledge) what God had said. …
    • For us, it’s the word of God.  We need to know the Scripture!

8 “How can you say, ‘We are wise, And the law of the LORD is with us’? Look, the false pen of the scribe certainly works falsehood. 9 The wise men are ashamed, They are dismayed and taken. Behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD; So what wisdom do they have?

  • They may have claimed to know the Scripture, but they plainly did not.  They had taken false teaching to themselves in place of God’s true word.
  • Without God’s word, they had no wisdom.

10 Therefore I will give their wives to others, And their fields to those who will inherit them; Because from the least even to the greatest Everyone is given to covetousness; From the prophet even to the priest Everyone deals falsely. 11 For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of My people slightly, Saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ When there is no peace. 12 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed, Nor did they know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; In the time of their punishment They shall be cast down,” says the LORD.

  • Much of this is repeated from Ch 6:13-15.  The idea here is the same as it was there.  The people had violated their end of their covenant agreement with God, so God would bring the consequences upon them as outlined in the covenant, as a result.  When the Hebrews originally came into the land, God had given them houses they did not build, and vineyards they did not plant.  Now the possessions of the Jews would be given to others.  God had given them, and God would take them away.  And everyone would be affected by it because everyone had sinned.  “From the least even to the greatest,” every section of Jewish society had sinned against the Lord.  They had been greedy in their “covetousness,” and they had lied about the word of God.  The prophet and priest bore special blame for this.  God had not given a word of “peace,” though that is what they promised the people.  And they had no shame in it.  They tickled the ears of the people, lying in the name of the Lord, and they were glad to do it.  It’s no wonder that God declared their punishment!
  • There are words from God that may be tough to hear (and no doubt tough to preach), but if God gives it, teachers need to teach it and God’s people need to receive it.  Pastors and teachers cannot afford to water down the word of God, and we dare not ever lie about what God has said!  Teachers need to remember that we will be held to a stricter judgment, and we can be assured that God WILL judge these things.

13 “I will surely consume them,” says the LORD. “No grapes shall be on the vine, Nor figs on the fig tree, And the leaf shall fade; And the things I have given them shall pass away from them.” ’ ”

  • How many would fall?  All.  God would take everything “on the vine.”  God would take everything that He had previously given them.
  • Question: would anything remain?  Yes!  God’s promise of judgment does not negate His faithfulness.  In all of this repeated talk of the judgment and wrath of God, we need to always remember that God had also promised a Messiah to come from the line of David.  Through Jacob, God had promised a lion of the tribe of Judah, from whom the scepter of leadership would never depart.  To Abraham, God had promised that everyone in the world would be blessed through his descendants.  To Adam and Eve, God promised a future Son that would step on the head of the serpent.  God had given numerous promises of a coming Messiah – all of them unconditional.  Everything that God was now promising to take from the Jews were based on conditional promises.  If the Jews obeyed, then God would provide for them.  If they disobeyed, God would take it from them, and God was not limited on what He might take.  Yet none of that conflicts with His unconditional promises of a coming Messiah.  He might take all from the Jews, but there would always be enough to remain that would eventually bring forth Jesus.
  • Recognizing God’s judgment (vss. 14-17)

14 “Why do we sit still? Assemble yourselves, And let us enter the fortified cities, And let us be silent there. For the LORD our God has put us to silence And given us water of gall to drink, Because we have sinned against the LORD.

  • Speaking from the future viewpoint of the people, Jeremiah sees that they acknowledge (finally!) the truth of God’s judgment.  Initially they had lied about God’s word, but now they recognize it for what it is.  They could see the armies approaching, and they sought refuge behind the city walls, though it would ultimately do them no good.
  • They even recognized that this was coming due to their sin.  That’s not to say that they were yet repenting, but at the very least they saw their own responsibility in it.  They saw that this was the judgment of God, and that it was He who put them “to silence” and gave them “water of gall to drink.
    • Who else drank water of gall?  Jesus, as He hung upon the cross.  When He suffered, we can never forget that it was for judgment…OUR judgment, due to OUR sin.

15 “We looked for peace, but no good came; And for a time of health, and there was trouble! 16 The snorting of His horses was heard from Dan. The whole land trembled at the sound of the neighing of His strong ones; For they have come and devoured the land and all that is in it, The city and those who dwell in it.”

  • Why had they “looked for peace”?  Because they had lied about the word of God.  They had heaped up false teachers for themselves that promised peace, when God had never promised any.  They had looked for the opposite of what God said, but God ended up giving them exactly what He promised: judgment.
    • The same is true today.  The Bible promises that every man and woman WILL face the judgment of God.  We can be absolutely sure that this promise is true.
  • What was the “trouble”?  The Babylonian cavalry.  Invading armies on horseback that stretched across the whole nation, devouring the land.  And why did they come?  Because God brought them.  These were “HIS horses…HIS strong ones.”  The Babylonians came in according to their own desire for conquest, but ultimately they were a tool in the hands of God, used to bring judgment upon His people.
    • We ought not be surprised that God sometimes uses the enemies of His people to bring discipline and consequences.  When Solomon’s heart turned from the Lord, it was God who allowed Jeroboam to rise up and take 10 tribes away from Solomon’s son.  When the Israelites repeatedly sinned in the days of the judges, God would often allow their enemies to come in and conquer.  Even the Hebrew judge Samson was overrun by his enemies when Samson had repeatedly been unfaithful to God.  Obviously we in the Church are in a different covenant relationship with God than the Israelites were, but we can expect God to sometimes allow certain adversaries in our lives to remain (or even increase) if we continue in rebellion against Him.  We might need to ask ourselves if those “sandpaper” people are there for our benefit – that we might actually repent.

17 “For behold, I will send serpents among you, Vipers which cannot be charmed, And they shall bite you,” says the LORD.

  • As with the analogy of the grapevine & fig tree, again the idea is that nothing will be left.  Everyone will be affected as the proverbial serpents come in and bite the people.
  • Calls to mind the serpents sent among the Hebrews as they wandered in the wilderness.  (Num 21)  They had spoken against God and against Moses, despising the good gifts that God had given them in the manna and water.  In response, God sent vipers to bite the people.  Yet there, there was a method of deliverance.  If they but looked in faith to a bronze serpent that Moses placed upon a pole, they would live.  (Ultimately, it looked forward to Jesus being lifted up on the cross – the One to whom we look in faith in order to live.)  This time, unlike the serpents of the exodus, when God sent the figurative vipers of the Babylonians, there would be no deliverance.  The judgment of Jerusalem was assured, and there would be no escape.
  • Grieving for a sinful people (8:18 – 9:11)

18 I would comfort myself in sorrow; My heart is faint in me. 19 Listen! The voice, The cry of the daughter of My people— From a far country: “Is not the LORD in Zion? Is not her King in her?” “Why have they provoked Me to anger With their carved images— With foreign idols?” 20 “The harvest is past, The summer is ended, And we are not saved!”

  • Jeremiah is often called “the weeping prophet,” and here we see why.  This is his grief for his people.  He sees what is coming, as he believes the word of the Lord, and he mourns.  Jeremiah laments their exile and their ruined witness.  Not only would the Jews be removed from the land that God had graciously given them, but it would be done in full view of all the world.  The nations would wonder why God wouldn’t/couldn’t protect His own people. The sin of the people not only brought down the wrath of God, but it brought shame upon God’s own name.
    • Sadly, that’s still often the result of sin among God’s people.  When Christians sin, it brings shame on the name of Jesus.  It gives the unbelieving world one more reason to sneer & say, “Where is the God of the Christians?  See, I told you there was nothing!”  It’s inevitable.  As Christians, we will witness to Christ one way or the other.  We will either give a good testimony, or a bad testimony.  May God help us walk in humility and faith! 
    • Keep in mind that ALL of us are going to sin at some point in time.  None of us are exempt from this, and it’s likely that at some point our sin is going to be done in front of unbelievers.  How we handle that sin makes all the difference in the world.  Will we double-down in our sin, choosing to remain rebellious regardless of the consequences (like Jerusalem)?  Or will we humble ourselves before God, and potentially before others if our sin was against them?  HOW we handle our sin is sometimes as great a witness to Jesus as our initial testimony about Jesus.
  • Regarding the punishment that Jeremiah mourned, he knows clearly that although it was brought in by God, it wasn’t God’s fault.  It was the Jews’!  They had “provoked” God to anger.  They had repeatedly engaged in idolatry (and other sin that will be detailed), despite the numerous warnings that God had given.  Like any parent who counted to “10” and finally acted, so had God counted.  He had been abundant in His mercies, withholding judgment, but He would withhold no longer.  He was provoked, and He had to act.
  • Although they waited for deliverance (through the various yearly seasons), no deliverance came – and none would come.  The Babylonian invasion was the judgment of God, and from it, none would be saved.

21 For the hurt of the daughter of my people I am hurt. I am mourning; Astonishment has taken hold of me. 22 Is there no balm in Gilead, Is there no physician there? Why then is there no recovery For the health of the daughter of my people?

  • It’s no wonder Jeremiah was in such anguish.  This was the righteous judgment of God, but it was still painful to witness.  How can we NOT grieve over the judgment of God?  God’s grace is made freely available to all, and we ought to wish that even our worst enemies would humble themselves, be saved by Christ Jesus, and experience God’s grace for all eternity.  Yet multitudes will not, and they will end in eternal hell.  That is a horrendous punishment, though it is absolutely righteous & justified.  And our hearts ought to break when we think upon it.  There is only one group of beings for whom we might rejoice that a lake of fire exists: Satan, Antichrist, the false prophet, and the hordes of demons.  Yet may we never talk of the reality of hell for humans without tears in our eyes!  There can be absolutely nothing worse for a person to endure, and multitudes will endure it for eternity.  If that thought does not grieve us, then perhaps we need our hearts broken by God.
  • The prophet looks around for any sort of comfort, and finds none.  Would there be any comfort – would there be any healing?  Not at the time.  In the immediate future, Jeremiah saw only hopelessness.  The judgment of God was assured, and nothing would change it.
    • But in the far future, the answer is most certainly “Yes!”  In the promise of Christ Jesus, there is MUCH hope, healing, and comfort.  As the old hymn says, “There is a Balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole; there is a Balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul.”  Jesus IS the Balm of Gilead!  He heals our soul, and comforts us for all eternity!

Jeremiah 9
1 Oh, that my head were waters, And my eyes a fountain of tears, That I might weep day and night For the slain of the daughter of my people! 2 Oh, that I had in the wilderness— A lodging place for travelers; That I might leave my people, And go from them! For they are all adulterers, An assembly of treacherous men.

  • Is Jeremiah being a bit over-the-top here?  A bit too dramatic?  Absolutely not!  Sin is always tragic, and grief is always the right response.  Think of it: Jeremiah had seen visions of his people (his neighbors & countrymen) slaughtered with their bodies piled up in the fields.  Their unrepentant sin brought forth the terrible consequence of death, and it grieved Jeremiah to his core.  There were not enough tears that could be shed.
    • Do we understand the consequences of sin?  Do we understand how truly BAD it is?  Be it in our lives, or in the general culture – sin is truly terrible and it leaves a wake of death.  No doubt we ought to shed tears, too!
  • Why did he want to leave?  Jeremiah was not blind to the sin of his people; he just didn’t want to see it.  He’d rather be far removed than to see them blatantly sin against God.  They were “adulterers,” and Jeremiah hated to see God’s holiness trampled through the mud by the very people who were supposed to witness of Him.

3 “And like their bow they have bent their tongues for lies. They are not valiant for the truth on the earth. For they proceed from evil to evil, And they do not know Me,” says the LORD. 4 “Everyone take heed to his neighbor, And do not trust any brother; For every brother will utterly supplant, And every neighbor will walk with slanderers. 5 Everyone will deceive his neighbor, And will not speak the truth; They have taught their tongue to speak lies; They weary themselves to commit iniquity. 6 Your dwelling place is in the midst of deceit; Through deceit they refuse to know Me,” says the LORD.

  • The common thread here is deceit, but the sin of the Jews is rampant, ranging in all kinds of forms.  They were all idolators – all liars – all bent on evil.  How bad was it? They could not even trust one another.  They were in as much danger from fellow Jews as they were from the rampant destruction of the Gentiles.
    • What happens when people forsake the truth?  All that is left is a lie.  The Jews had rejected the true word of God, and thus they dwelt in deceit.  The same thing can happen to us and our culture, and is in fact already happening.  Our culture is rejecting the Bible more and more, and it’s no wonder that people embrace things that are abhorrent to God. 
    • As Christians, what does that tell us?  WE need to stay in the truth!  We need to be grounded in what God has already revealed as His perfect word!
  • All of this sin among the Jews proved that they did not know God.  They refused to know Him, though they had plenty of opportunity.  They had been freely given the truth, but instead they chose deceit.
    • It’s always a choice.

7 Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts: “Behold, I will refine them and try them; For how shall I deal with the daughter of My people? 8 Their tongue is an arrow shot out; It speaks deceit; One speaks peaceably to his neighbor with his mouth, But in his heart he lies in wait. 9 Shall I not punish them for these things?” says the LORD. “Shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?”

  • God would purge them of their sin.  His judgment may be painful, but it is refining.  Just as the blacksmith needs to turn up the heat to strike out impurities from metal – just like chefs need to cook meats to the right temperatures to kill off certain bacteria – so does God turn up the heat to refine and purify His people.  We can either submit ourselves to the process of His refinement, or we can rebel against it and feel the discomfort that results.  (Keep in mind that God is an all-consuming fire!  Those who continue to reject God will be consumed in God’s purity.)
  • Keep in mind, God HAD to do something.  This was a deceitful people, and they had brought things to a point that it would have been unjust for God NOT to act.  As He said, “Shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?”  God had judged other nations of the world for the same sins – the same idolatry – the same wickedness.  At this point in history, Judah had even engaged in human sacrifice similar to the other pagans before them.  How could God NOT act?  His own people had completely rejected His truth for the lies of their own choosing.  They had pressed and provoked Him, and God had to do something.
    • We’ve seen this same truth several times in Jeremiah.  Eventually, a nation rebels to the point that God simply must act in judgment.  No matter how much they may have claimed to follow God in the past, if they now reject God, how can He not avenge Himself?

10 I will take up a weeping and wailing for the mountains, And for the dwelling places of the wilderness a lamentation, Because they are burned up, So that no one can pass through; Nor can men hear the voice of the cattle. Both the birds of the heavens and the beasts have fled; They are gone.

  • Jeremiah again speaks of his weeping.  The whole land faced the desolation of the Babylonians – from the high ground to the lowlands.  All livestock and other animals have fled.  Everything is gone.
  • That’s exactly what God confirms…

11 “I will make Jerusalem a heap of ruins, a den of jackals. I will make the cities of Judah desolate, without an inhabitant.”

  • God declares that the city would be a place of desolation.  The only beast that remained in the land was the jackal…not exactly a symbol of prosperity! 
  • Keep in mind, this was once a glorious city!  During the initial reign of Solomon, the city was so glorious that people travelled from all over the world to come and see what God had given to Solomon.  Gold was so plentiful that silver had virtually no value.  Men and women were excited and joyful in their worship of God.  All of those days are now long gone, and the once-glorious city would later become a ghost-town.
    • How sad it is what we miss out on because of sin!  A few moments of lust can destroy a lifetime of trust.  Addictions erode families.  Uncontrolled anger can ruin careers and throw friendships down the tubes.  The list can go on…
  • Understanding God’s judgment (vss. 12-16)

12 Who is the wise man who may understand this? And who is he to whom the mouth of the LORD has spoken, that he may declare it? Why does the land perish and burn up like a wilderness, so that no one can pass through?

  • Note the context.  What is it that the wise man would understand?  Judgment.  The wise man understands that God is justified in bringing all of this wrath and destruction upon the Jews.  It was awful, but it was the right thing for God to do.
  • And God gives the reason why in vs. 13…

13 And the LORD said, “Because they have forsaken My law which I set before them, and have not obeyed My voice, nor walked according to it, 14 but they have walked according to the dictates of their own hearts and after the Baals, which their fathers taught them,” 15 therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: “Behold, I will feed them, this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink. 16 I will scatter them also among the Gentiles, whom neither they nor their fathers have known. And I will send a sword after them until I have consumed them.”

  • The people abandoned God!  They had “forsaken” the law, and walked in sin and idolatry.  And this is what they had done for generations!  They hadn’t invented their sin, but they certainly continued in that “which their fathers taught them.”  They were Jews-in-name-only, claiming to be the people of God, but in reality worshipping anything other than God as revealed in the Bible.
    • How important it is for us to stay grounded in the word! …  And to demonstrate to our children and grandchildren what it is like to be grounded in the word!  Everyone is responsible for his/her own sin, but few of us learn to sin in a vacuum.  Children reject God’s word as authoritative when adults treat it without authority.
  • Again, God proclaims His judgment.  “Therefore,” God would bring a sword against them and a scattering.  Babylon would come in, drive the Jews out of their homeland, and they would be dispersed to all parts of the pagan empire.  (And there are results from that diaspora that have lasted even to this day!)
  • People are called to grieve (vss. 17-21)

17 Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider and call for the mourning women, That they may come; And send for skillful wailing women, That they may come. 18 Let them make haste And take up a wailing for us, That our eyes may run with tears, And our eyelids gush with water. 19 For a voice of wailing is heard from Zion: ‘How we are plundered! We are greatly ashamed, Because we have forsaken the land, Because we have been cast out of our dwellings.’ ”

  • Why call for the mourners?  Because they had reason to grieve!  Jeremiah had grieved over the sins of the people – Jeremiah had grieved over the righteous judgment of God – but the people themselves had not yet grieved.  God prophesied that the people would do so in the future.  Just as mourners would be hired to grieve for the dead, so should mourners be called to grieve for the “death” of the kingdom.
  • Finally, the people were “ashamed” – but was it for the right reason?  They surely sorrowed over their loss, but it does not seem that they yet sorrowed over their sin.  Godly sorrow produces repentance (2 Cor 7:9-10), and they weren’t yet there.

20 Yet hear the word of the LORD, O women, And let your ear receive the word of His mouth; Teach your daughters wailing, And everyone her neighbor a lamentation. 21 For death has come through our windows, Has entered our palaces, To kill off the children—no longer to be outside! And the young men—no longer on the streets!

  • Notice God doesn’t tell them to dry their eyes; He specifically tells them to grieve.  He tells them to expect death and judgment.
  • God wants us to understand the seriousness of sin.  He wants us to grasp the gravity of it all.
  • Understanding God’s judgment (vss. 22-26)

22 Speak, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Even the carcasses of men shall fall as refuse on the open field, Like cuttings after the harvester, And no one shall gather them.’ ”

  • Picks up the idea from the end of Ch. 7 – the dead would be so numerous that they would lie out in the open like grass clippings.  It is terrible – it is horrifying – and it is the result of their sin.
  • The wages of sin is death…always.

23 Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; 24 But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the LORD.

  • We often quote these verses in more joyous contexts.  Paul himself quotes this in regards to the wonderful news of the gospel.  It may seem like foolishness to the world, but it is the wisdom of God.  Thus we glory only in Christ, and nothing that we ourselves have within us (1 Cor 1:30).  Yet that’s not the context here.  Remember that in vs. 12, Jeremiah looked for the wise man who would understand God’s just judgment of the Jews.  It’s the same sort of idea here.  The wisdom of man might try a different tactic with the Jews – the strength of man might try to save the Jews, etc., but it’s not the wisdom, strength, or riches of men that matter here.  It’s the knowledge of God.  That is greater than all.  Those who truly know God will understand that God’s judgment is righteous.
  • This is what God declares about Himself.  He is merciful AND He is just.  He exercises “lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness.” ALL of these things will be known among God’s people – among those who truly seek His face.

25 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “that I will punish all who are circumcised with the uncircumcised— 26 Egypt, Judah, Edom, the people of Ammon, Moab, and all who are in the farthest corners, who dwell in the wilderness. For all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart.”

  • God promises to punish the Jew with the Gentile.  Why?  The Jews are acting just like the Gentiles.  They might as well be uncircumcised in the flesh, because they surely act that way in the heart.
  • God desires true circumcision & true humility.

Conclusion:
Do we weep over sin?  Be it the sin of our nation – the sin in the church – or our own sin as individuals.  Do we recognize the awful nature of it, seeing it as the death that it is – or do we gloss over it, choosing to deceive ourselves thinking that it’s not really so bad?  We tend to re-label things that make us uncomfortable.  It’s not deceit; it’s a half-truth.  It’s not lust; it’s weakness.  Etc.  Whatever we do, we try to redefine it to call it anything than what it is.  It’s SIN.  We ought to recognize it, take responsibility for it, and grieve over it.

And then let that grief take us to the cross.  Choose to let the weight of sin take us to the feet of our Savior, rather than letting us double-down in our deception.  The Jews of Jerusalem chose to remain deceived, rather than humble themselves in repentance – and God did what was necessary to open their eyes.  It was hard – it was horrendous – but it was just and righteous.  The wisdom of God is demonstrated in His wrath as much as it is demonstrated in His lovingkindness.

Amazingly, both of those aspects come together in the Lord Jesus Christ.  That’s exactly what the cross is all about.  The just wrath of God is poured out – the provoked anger of God is unleashed – and it was all justified.  The infinitely righteous God had to have a response to sin, and He did…vengefully so!  But instead of going on us, it went upon Jesus.  And that’s where the merciful lovingkindness and grace of God shines forth!

Christian, weep over sin, and let it cause you to embrace your Savior! 
Weep over the sin of our nation, and let it cause us to intercede for our people, just as it caused Jeremiah to intercede for his.

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