The Crisis Within and Without

The Crisis Within and Without

Scripture: Jeremiah 2:3, Judges 2:1-15, 1 Kings 12:26-31
Date: 10/10/2015  Lesson: 2
"If we could pick one word to describe the human condition since the Fall, it would be "crisis", the extent of which can be best understood by what it took to get us out of the crisis: the death of Jesus on the cross."

Unwrapping the Pharaohs by John Ashton

Unwrapping the Pharaohs by John Ashton
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Good morning, friends, and welcome again to Sabbath school study hour. A very warm welcome to our friends joining us across the country and around the world for our study time today. Also, I'd like to welcome the members of the Granite Bay church and those who are visiting from across the country and all over the place joining us this morning to study God's Word together. We've been studying through our new lesson quarterly dealing with the book of Jeremiah - one of those great old testament prophets. Today we find ourselves in lesson #2 entitled the crisis within and without.

Now, if you don't have a copy of today's lesson, for our friends watching, you can download today's lesson at the amazing facts website. That's amazingfacts.org - lesson #2 in our lesson quarterly and you can study along with us. We also have a free offer that we'd like to let you know about. For anybody in North America, you can call and we'll be happy to send this to you for free. It's a book entitled riches of grace written by Joe Crews.

If you'd like to receive this, call our resource number - it's 866-788-3966. Again, that's -788-3966 and ask for offer #152. Again, the book's called riches of grace - we'll be happy to send that to you. Well, before we begin our study, as usual we'd like to invite our song leaders to come and lead us as we lift our voices in praise. Hello and welcome to everyone that's joining us.

We have something a little bit different today and I know you're going to absolutely enjoy it, but we're not leaving you out. You're going to join with us. So the first song that we're going to do is found in your hymnals - #154 - when I survey the wondrous cross. Beautiful song, the only difference is the tune's not in the hymnal, but I think it's a familiar tune that most of you will know, so join with us - #154 - when I survey (the wondrous cross). When I survey the wondrous cross on which the prince of glory died, my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, save in the death of Christ, my God; all the vain things that charm me most I sacrifice them to his blood. See, from his head, his hands, his feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down: did e'er such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown? Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a present far too small; love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, demands my soul, love demands my soul, my life, my all. That's one of my favorite songs. I love that tune. And the next song is a special people need the Lord.

Every day they pass me by, I can see it in their eyes. Empty people filled with care, headed who knows where? On they go through private pain, living fear to fear. Laughter hides their silent cries, only Jesus hears. People need the Lord, people need the Lord. At the end of broken dreams, he's the open door.

People need the Lord, people need the Lord. When will we realize, people need the Lord? We are called to take his light to a world where wrong seems right. What could be too great a cost for sharing life with one who's lost? Through his love our hearts can feel all the grief they bear. They must hear the words of life only we can share. People need the Lord, people need the Lord.

At the end of broken dreams, he's the open door. People need the Lord, people need the Lord. When will we realize that we must give our lives, for people need the Lord? People need the Lord, people need the Lord. At the end of broken dreams, he's the open door. People need the Lord, people need the Lord.

When will we realize that we must give our lives, for people need the Lord? People need the Lord. People need the Lord. Amen. I invite you to bow your heads as we begin with a word of prayer. Dear Father in Heaven, we thank you for another beautiful day that you have given us this Sabbath and, as we open up your word, we ask for the Holy Spirit, once again, to come and guide our hearts and our minds.

Father may we learn the lessons that you have in store for us in our study of this ancient book - especially Jeremiah, this important prophet. Thank you, father, for your promise to be with us. In Jesus' Name, amen. I'd like to invite Pastor Doug Batchelor to come forward and lead us in our study today. Thank you, Pastor Doug.

Thank you, Pastor Ross. Good morning everyone. Good morning. We're excited about entering into this new study in Jeremiah and, for those that are joining us, we're just beginning our second study - I think there's thirteen altogether in this very important book. One of the great major prophets of the old testament, and today we're going to be on lesson #2 and the title of the lesson is the crisis within.

We're going to be talking about the crises among God's people back then and we may find that there's some similarities with some crises that we face in our day. And there's a memory verse that goes along with the lesson and it's in Jeremiah chapter 2, verse 3. If you have your Bibles or your quarterly, you can say it with me. It's from the new king James version - Jeremiah 2, verse 3. Are you ready? "'Israel was holiness to the Lord, the firstfruits of his increase.

All that devour him will offend; disaster will come upon them,' says the Lord." God is talking about his protective guardian relationship with Israel when Israel was holy and walking with him in the wilderness, but we'll get to a little bit of that more. Now this lesson is doing something different. I wish some of the other lessons would do it more when they enter a new subject - a new book. It's going to go back and give a Bible history of the people of God so that when we finally start looking at the prophecies of Jeremiah, we know the context of what he's talking about. When someone first comes to the Lord and you say, 'where do I start? 'You just hand them a new testament.

It's hard to understand a lot of the new testament without the background history of the old testament. And take it from me, if you grew up pretty much a pagan - I mean, the only Bible stories I knew about David and Goliath and, I think I only had a fleeting idea about Daniel and the lion's den, but I knew very little. And so when I started reading through the new testament, it made so many references to the history of Israel that it wasn't until I went back and read at least from, you know, Genesis through, you know, and 2 Kings. Then, when you read the new testament, it makes a lot more sense. And that's the way it is with the - the prophecy of Jeremiah.

If you're going to understand Jeremiah, you need some background in what was the crisis he was dealing with. Jeremiah lived during the time where the people of God - the southern kingdom - was on the verge of being destroyed. The temple was - I mean, there was no greater catastrophe except when the Romans destroyed the people and the temple back in the days of 70 ad - the days of the apostles. This was the other big time where, I mean, major judgment fell on God's people. Jeremiah is the prophet who forewarned this and actually lived through it.

What brought the people of God to the place where God would deal with them so severely? And so we're going to have to go back and look at some of the history. And so, in our lesson, it actually tells us we're going to go to the book of Judges and so if you'd turn in your Bible to the book of Judges and we'll be starting out with oh, let me see here, we'll be going to Judges chapter 2 - I think I'm going to read verses 1 to 15 - Judges 2:1-15 - and maybe I'll start by reading verses 1 to 4. Now someone, in a moment, we're going to ask you to help us. You're going to read Judges 17:6 - who has that verse? Alright, you'll be the next that'll be sharing a verse with us. And I'm going to read Judges 2:1-4, "then the angel of the Lord came up from gilgal to bochim, and said: 'I led you up from Egypt and brought you to the land of which I swore to your fathers; and I said, 'I will never break my covenant with you.

And you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.' But you have not obeyed my voice. Why have you done this? Therefore I also said, 'I will not drive them out before you; but they shall be thorns in your side, and their Gods shall be a snare to you.'' So it was, when the angel of the Lord spoke these words to all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voices and wept." Now it's interesting, sometimes God speaks through prophets, his messengers, his Judges; here God is speaking directly to the nation through an angel. An angel of the Lord spoke to the people. May have been just meeting with some of the leaders. There was a problem that happens in the book of Judges and we've probably quoted this.

Even people in the world have quoted this - maybe didn't know where it came from. If you look in Deuteronomy 12, verse 8 - don't lose your place in Judges 2, but in Deuteronomy 12, verse 8 - last book of Moses - he said, 'you will not do all as we are doing here today' - he's talking to the people before they enter the promised land - every man doing what is right in his own eyes.' What is right in his own eyes. You ever heard that expression before? Every man does what's right in his own eyes. That expression became famous during the time of Judges. Moses forewarned - he said, 'when you enter into the promised land, don't do like you're doing now where every man does what's right in his own eyes.

What did he mean by that? We'll, before they entered into the promised land, God said, 'when you enter, I will tell you where and how to bring your offerings. I will specify a place. That place was later Jerusalem. That was the central place of offerings. In the wilderness, they kind of wandered.

They brought them to the tabernacle, but it was a little different - a little more relaxed - and he said, 'don't every man do what is right in his own eyes. He's talking specifically about worship there. Well, when you get to the book of Judges, what happened? Let's go ahead and read Judges 17, verse 6. "In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes." And so, you ever heard about the wild, wild, west? And, you know, they - as the great American west was being settled - now, in - in legend it's often bigger than reality, but it is true that as the west was being settled, there were some towns that sprang up that actually had no law. There were no sheriffs, there were no deputies, there were no policemen, and it's - they called it the law of the west - the rule of the west - and every man kind of did what was right in his own eyes.

During the California gold rush - and, of course, here in the Sacramento area we're just right in the very crucible of that history, people migrated so quickly that there were towns that sprang up and there was no law. There were no Judges and people just had to be governed by their own morals and you hoped that whoever was large and in charge had some morals. Well, that's the way it was in Israel, they quickly dispossessed these other nations. They all claimed their territory, they divided the land among the tribes, there was no king - they did have the levites that did their best to teach, but for the most part every man did what was right in his own eyes. And they began to be influenced by the other nations and started to apostasize.

Now you're going to find that phrase 'whatever was right in their own eyes' in the book of Judges, several times. Now they don't do it after they get a king, but before they had a king, before they had the careful law and the Judges and administrators, people were sort of making up the rules as they went along. I want to go back here and read, again, in Judges chapter 2, just to give you the history. So the people wept when the Lord told them that they had done this and that takes us to verse 4 in Judges chapter 2. I'm going to read on.

We're still in Judges chapter 2 and it says here in verse 5, "then they called the name of that place boshim; and they sacrificed there to the Lord. And when Joshua" - Joshua's still alive - he "...dismissed...the children of Israel went each to their own inheritance to possess the land. So the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord which he had done for Israel." Now you realize, even though, as they went through the wilderness, everybody from 20 years old and upward died, except Joshua and caleb. That's - you find that in Numbers chapters 13 and 14, because of their loss of faith. There were still people - how many of you remember - what's your earliest memory? How old were you? Anyone remember when you were ten years old? I hope everybody can remember something about when you were ten years old.

I - just - there's a chance. Some of you don't remember yesterday and it's okay. How many of you remember something from when you were five years old? I've got a couple fleeting memories. Any of you remember something from when you're three years old? A couple. Two? You just think you remember something from when you're two is all.

You saw a picture your parents showed you. You said, 'I remember that.' No you may have; I'm just teasing, but you don't go much further back than that unless you're a real prodigy, but there were people who lived with Joshua that were 18, 15, 13 years old that remembered Egypt. They remembered the plagues. They remembered the red sea parting. They remembered the Jordan parting and as Joshua died off - you know, Moses lived a hundred and twenty, aaron's a hundred and twenty-two or a hundred and twenty-three.

Some of them outlived Joshua, Joshua was only a hundred and ten. So for ten or fifteen years after Joshua, some of the elders who had remembered the entire Exodus, that generation died off. And then things began to change. The ones who had lost the vision - the miracle - the presence of God - the awesomeness of their deliverance. Then another generation came and they said, you know, yeah, this - 'we're an institution now and yeah, our parents were excited about something and we don't remember exactly what it was.

' They didn't see all the miracles and those generations passed on - things began to change. "Now Joshua, The Son of nun, the servant of the Lord, died when he was one hundred and ten years old. And they buried him within the border of his inheritance at timnath heres, in the mountains of ephraim, on the north side of mount gaash. When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers," - you know what that means - died and they're buried in their territories - "another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which he had done for Israel then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the baals; and they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other Gods from among the Gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they" - notice, they began to serve the Gods around them. They were influenced by their culture - their environment.

"They bowed down to them and they provoked the Lord to anger. They forsook the Lord and served baal and the ashtoreths." - That's the female Gods of baal - "and the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel. So he delivered them into the hands of plunderers who despoiled them; and he sold them into the hands of their enemies all around, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies. Wherever they went out, the hand of the Lord was against them for calamity, as the Lord had said, and as the Lord had sworn to them. And they were greatly distressed.

" So, gradually, as the generation that had the revival that was - experienced the movement that saw that - as they died off, they began to look for - instead of looking to God's Word, and looking to their history and their roots, they began to look around and what was happening with the other nations that surrounded them, they began to shop with these people, hang out with these people, work with these people - became very close. Look at the story of Samson. I mean he - God raised him up to deliver the people from the - the philistines and he ended up wanting to marry a philistine and then after that fell apart and then he - he just moved in with delilah, another philistine. The very people he was supposed to destroy, he became friends with. Could that happen to the church in our world today? Where you forget your roots, you lose the fire of the movement, you forget the reason for the movement and you start to try to be like the Gods around you and the nations around you and, instead of being defined by the Word of God and his prophets, you become defined by what's culturally relevant.

So that's why this study of Jeremiah is very important to us - and this is in the lesson, I'm not just - you think, 'well, Pastor Doug's riding on his hobby horse.' No, my hobby horse is in the lesson this time. (Laughter) and my hobby horse is that we get back to the movement that defined us as a people - get back to the word - the reformation principles and do not be defined by an ever downwardly evolving culture, because that's what God's people did in the past. And so they drifted into unfaithfulness. It says they did evil. Now there's a question; on the bottom of page 2 in your lesson, under quick history - I want to read this question to you.

Think about the problem of the next generation, not having the values and beliefs of the one before it. How have we, as a church, dealt with this issue? How can we learn to transmit our values - and I hope they're the Bible values, not just because it's our values, to those who follow us. You know, I thought this would be a good place to read something you may or may not have heard before. Have any of you ever heard - it was so well and so perceptive - so well written that it kind of made its way to the internet and made the rounds. It's an appeal.

It's the last sermon of a general conference president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church named robert h. Pierrson and it was sort of his concluding message to the delegates after he had served out all of his terms. He served almost as much - matter of fact, robert pierson to 1989 was a general conference president from 1966 to 1979. The only one who served longer was a.j. Daniels.

He was a prolific writer. He's credited with authoring 28 books - many of them translated into multiple languages - and hundreds of articles. Shortly before his retirement he delivered this earnest appeal to the leaders of the world church gathered for an annual council meeting - I said general conference; it was actually an annual council meeting - October 15, 1978. His message seems almost prophetic. This is the message elder pierson gave in 1978 - what, 37 years ago.

You tell me if you think it's a relevant message. "This will be the last time, in my present role, that I stand before you, the world leaders of my church, your church, our church; and I have a few words to leave with you. I take my thoughts from something elder and mrs. Ralph neall had written describing how typically a sect - a movement - evolves into a church. They say that a sect often begins by a charismatic leader with tremendous drive and commitment; that it arises as a protest against the worldliness and the formalism that is unpopular and despised.

It's persecuted by society in general. It has definite beliefs firmly held by zealous members. Each member makes a personal decision to join it and knows what he believes. There's little organization or property and there are few buildings. The group has strict standards and control on behavior.

Preachers, often without education - or at least formal - there's little concern about public relations - it is message driven. And then it passes on to the second generation. With growth there comes the need for organization and buildings. As a result of industry and frugality, members become prosperous. As prosperity increases, persecution begins to wane.

Children born into the movement do not have to make the same personal decisions to join it, nor do they necessarily know what they believe. They do not need to hammer out their own positions. These have been worked out for them. Preachers arise more by selection and by apprenticeship to older workers than by direct inner compulsion and drive. In the third generation" - moving down the line now - "organization develops and institutions are established.

The need is seen for schools to pass on the faith of The Fathers. Colleges are established that turn into universities, members have been exhorted to live up to the standards, while at the same time, the standards of the membership are being lowered to make it more appealing to others. The group becomes lax about disfellowshiping non-participating members. Missionary zeal cools off. There's more concern over public relations.

Leaders study methods of propagating their faith, sometimes employing the extrinsic rewards as motivation for service by its members. Youth begin to question why they are different from others and intermarry with those not of their faith. The fourth generation there's much machinery. The Numbers of administrators increase, while the Numbers of workers at the grass roots becomes proportionately less. Great church counsels are held to define doctrine.

More schools, universities, and seminaries are established. These go to the world for accreditation and tend to becomes secularized. There is a re-examination of the positions and a modernizing of methods. Attention is given to contemporary culture, and with interest in the arts, music, architecture, and literature. The movement seeks to become relevant to its society and becomes involved in popular causes.

Services become formal. The group enjoys complete acceptance by the world. It has gravitated from a sect to a church." Then he appeals. I won't read the whole thing because I don't have time. "Brethren and sisters, this must never happen to the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

This will not happen to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It is not just another church, it is God's church. You are, the men and women sitting in this sanctuary this morning, on whom God is counting to assure this does not happen. Already, brethren and sisters, there are subtle forces that are beginning to stir. Regrettably, there are those in the church who belittle the inspiration of the Bible, who scorn the first eleven chapters of Genesis, who question the spirit of prophecy's short chronology of the earth, and who subtly and not so subtly attack the Spirit of prophecy.

There are some who point to the reformers and contemporary theologians as a source and the norm for Seventh-day Adventist doctrine. There are those who allegedly are tired of the hack and phrases of adventism and who wish to forget the standards of the church we love. There are those who covet the world and court the favor of the evangelicals; who would, even now, throw off the mantle of being a peculiar people, and those who would go the way of secular materialistic world." Well, I could read a lot more. It goes on. It's very - it's hard to believe this was written 37 years ago.

Pretty accurately defines what is happening today. You know, it's interesting, the Bible says 'unto the third and fourth generation'. A movement begins - you look at what happened with the methodists - John wesley - they're called methodists because they were so methodical about being regimented and conservative and Godly and holy and pure people, that they defined every detail of their lives - how they spent their time - and, you know, when they did that they spread like wildfire because they knew what they believed. They knew how to tell other people what they believed. They were on fire about the reasons why they believed what they believed and it became a movement of holiness and purity that spread.

But if John wesley could be resurrected today, after three or four generations, they went through the very same transitions that pierson described here. They gradually grew into an institution, then a church, and then they just sort of melted into the culture where they became irrelevant because you could not see the difference between them and the world around them. Even today there are several fragments of the methodist church because, as the church at large compromises with the world - same-sex marriage, same-sex clergy - just a lot of other things like that. Those who want to be faithful to the original movement, those who still know what it is, they keep splitting off, forming new denominations. It's happened with the baptists - the baptists were a very conservative people when they were formed.

They died for something as simple as baptism by immersion. Just like adventists, during world wars I and ii, died because they would not pick up a shovel on Sabbath when ordered to do it. I mean, they were people who knew what they believed. They were willing to die for what they believed. But as time goes by, the same thing that happened to the people of God - it's hard to believe you could be part of a movement where the red sea opens and all these plagues, and fed by bread from heaven, and all these miracles.

And you come into the promised land and God says, through Moses, 'do not compromise with the nations around you. Do not intermarry with them. Do not let them influence with you because you'll forget the Lord in no time at all.' Did it happen to them? Does it still happen? Has it happened to other movements before us? Are we immune to those forces or could it happen to us? This is what this lesson is talking about. This is why Jeremiah was sent, because he was sent to a church that had made these terrible compromises. Alright, we're going to go to the next section under two kingdoms.

In a moment, someone's going to read 2 Kings 13:11. That'll be you, okay? Kings 1 - I'm sorry, 1 Kings 12, verse 25. Now we talked about the compromise during the time of Judges. Finally they said, 'give us a king.' the Lord gave them a king and there was some unity among the people during the time of Saul, David, and Solomon. But then, during the time of rehoboam, The Son of Solomon, the Kingdom split.

Now you've got to know what happened. Jeroboam was a servant of Solomon that rebelled against Solomon - he fled to Egypt. When Solomon died, he came back. It was very shrewd. He managed to persuade the northern tribes not to follow rehoboam.

Rehoboam made a dumb decision while he was young and listened to the wrong counselors. the Kingdom of David - judah - Benjamin and levi, the priests, they were the southern kingdom, where the temple was, in Jerusalem. The ten tribes in the north, ephraim being the biggest - the ten tribes are often referred to as ephraim because it was the biggest tribe. They were led by jeroboam. Ultimately, the capital of the northern kingdom was samaria.

The capital of the southern kingdom was Jerusalem. But when jeroboam rebelled, he began to worry. He said, 'wait a second, the main place of worship is in the southern kingdom. If all of these tribes that now follow me as king, feel like they've got to go south to worship, they're going to start being influenced by the priests and levites there. They're going to start remembering all the miracles God did through David and Solomon.

They're going to start second-guessing my being the King. I've got to keep them from going down there to worship. So he set up a counterfeit form of worship to keep control. That's what we're going to read about. Kings 12, verse 25, "then jeroboam built shechem in the mountains of ephraim, and dwelt there.

Also he went out from there and built penuel. And jeroboam said in his heart, 'now the Kingdom may return to the house of David: if these people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn back to their Lord, rehoboam king of judah, and they will kill me and go back to rehoboam'" - The Son of Solomon - "'king of judah.' Therefore the King asked advice," - he got counsel - he "made two calves" - right away you'd think they ought to know better based on their history about making golden calves - they "made two calves of gold, and said to the people, '(it is not convenient) it is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem (to worship). Here are your Gods, o Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt!'" - That sound familiar? That's what aaron said when he made a golden calf - "and he set up one in bethel, and the other he put in dan." - To make it convenient - gave them two places in the north - "now this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one as far as dan." - That's way up in the north - and "he made shrines on the high places, and made priests from every class of people, - now, who were to be the priests? The levites. The levites - sons of aaron - but what did jeroboam do? He changed that plan and he made priests from every class of the people who were not of The Sons of levi. Now go ahead and read for us, what is it, second Kings 13:11.

"And he did evil in the sight of the Lord. He did not depart from all the sins of jeroboam The Son of nebat, who made Israel sin, but walked in them." That phrase - you can just type it into your Bible computer software - jeroboam The Son of nebat, who caused Israel to sin - jeroboam The Son of nebat, who made Israel to sin - walked in all the sins of The Son of - jeroboam The Son of nebat. Through the rest of the Chronicles of the Kings, it refers back to this one king. When you say 'Judas' he's sort of the arch villain in the new testament. Jeroboam was the arch villain in the old testament in that he corrupted the worship of God in a very profane - profound way - and they never really recovered from it.

the Lord said, 'do not go after other Gods. Do not compromise the truth. Do not be like the other nations.' And jeroboam said, 'well I don't care what the Scriptures say, we've got to keep control here, of the people. We want to have more influence with the other nations around us, so we'll just make a few compromises. We'll still say we're worshiping God, but we'll do it through golden calves.

' And so they sort of tried to co-mingle the two and it brought about a great split. Now for a while, the southern kingdom was faithful. I'll read you one - there's one battle - actually, the southern kingdom went to war with the northern kingdom several times. Instead of Israel being a united nation that would fight against the philistines and the moabites and the edomites and the assyrians, they started, now, waging war against each other and the southern kingdom said, 'we've got the truth because we still have the temple. We're following the Lord.

We're not worshiping idols. You have corrupted' and the southern kingdom, northern kingdom went to war with each other for a while. Listen to what king ahab - I'm sorry - listen to what king abijah, who was the King of Jerusalem, said to king jeroboam in the north - the northern kingdom - when they went to war. 2 Chronicles 13:5. Now someone, in a minute, is going to read 2 Chronicles 33:9.

Who will have that? Okay. I'm reading 2 Chronicles 13:5 - I'll read through 11, "should you not know that the Lord God of Israel gave the dominion over Israel to David forever, to him and his sons, by a covenant of salt?" - Did God make a covenant with David and The Sons of David that the Messiah would come through the line of David? So when these tribes split away, it was not God's plan. - "Yet jeroboam The Son of nebat, the servant of Solomon The Son of David, rose up and rebelled against his Lord. Then worthless rogues gathered to him, and strengthened themselves against rehoboam The Son of Solomon, when rehoboam was young and inexperienced and could not withstand them. And now you think to withstand the Kingdom of the Lord, which is in the hand of The Sons of David; and you are a great multitude," - the ten tribes outnumbered judah - "and with you are the gold calves which jeroboam made for you as Gods.

" - You'd think right away there's something wrong if you've got to make Gods - "have you not cast out the priests of the Lord, the sons of aaron, and the levites, and made for yourselves priests, like the peoples of other lands," - so one of the things they do is they compromise the worship with the other lands - "so that whoever comes to consecrate himself with a young bull and seven rams may be a priest" - in other words, if you could pay the dues, you could be a priest, is what they were saying - "of things that are not Gods? But as for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not forsaken him; and the priests who minister to the Lord are the sons of aaron, and the levites attend to their duties. And they burn to the Lord every morning and every evening burnt sacrifices and sweet incense; they also set the showbread in order on the pure gold table, and the lampstand of gold with its lamps to burn every evening; for we keep the command of the Lord our God, but you have forsaken him." He's bringing them back to the specifics of the temple and the sanctuary, according to what they had when they came through the wilderness, and they went into battle and guess who won that battle? The children of David because he went into battle trusting the Lord, saying 'we're being faithful to that.' Alright, go ahead, read for us 2 Chronicles :9 and 10. "So manasseh seduced judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do more evil than the nations whom the Lord had destroyed before the children of Israel. And the Lord spoke to manasseh and his people, but they would not listen." Alright, so for awhile you had several Kings - jehoshophat was a good king, hezekiah was a good king, asa was a good king, uzziah was a good king - Kings of the southern kingdom - sons of David. Some were bad, many were good that were faithful to the Lord.

None of them in the north were good. The closest was jehu who, at least, God used to inflict judgment on the tribes, but it keeps saying, 'he walked in the sins of jeroboam - they walked in the sins of jeroboam.' Sometimes it said, 'walked in the sins of ahab.' But the northern kingdom was entrenched in idolatry. But what happened was, jehoshophat - who was a good king - he said, 'we're tired of warring with our own people in the north.' He made friends with ahab. He said, 'we could be friends.' Can two walk together unless they're agreed? And jehoshophat and ahab said, 'let's make an alliance by marriage.' And jehoshophat's son married ahab's daughter. Her name was athaliah - turned out very bad - this was the daughter of jezebel.

He said, 'we can have peace between our two kingdoms. We're going to be stronger that way.' But what happens when you become unequally yoked? And even though jeroboam was a good king, a prophet was sent to jeroboam and said, 'should you love those that hate the Lord?' Tried to go into a business deal together. He said, 'let's do a shipping expedition like Solomon did. We'll go get gold from eZion-geber. We'll sail.

' And a storm came and destroyed the ships. God said, 'I don't want you in a partnership with that kingdom because they've given themselves over to idolatry. Well, once jehoshophat began to reach out, they started becoming friendly with the northern kingdom, the southern kingdom began to do what the northern kingdom did. Now, sometimes - sometimes a believer will marry someone who is an unbeliever and they say, 'I will convert him.' 'I will convert her.' Sometimes it works, but when you get a believer and an unbeliever together and you've got darkness and light, the darkness often wins over the light. And sure, you might make some positive influences in the life of your unbelieving spouse, but they're going to influence you too because, as someone once said, 'you can't go into a coal mine without coming out dirty.

' And it's going to have an influence on you. And through this association of the southern kingdom and the northern kingdom, the southern kingdom became involved in apostasy and then you had a really bad king. You can read about this next with manasseh, who was the next king who seduced the nation. And then you read in 2 Chronicles 33:21, and then you have amon who "...was 22 years old when he became king, and he reigned two years in Jerusalem. But he did evil in the sight of the Lord, as his father manasseh had done;" - he didn't live very long.

He didn't even hang out as long as an American president - "for amon sacrificed all the carved images which his father manasseh had made, and served them. And he did not humble himself before the Lord, as" - manasseh repented in his old age and turned, but things had gone so far - "...but amon trespassed more and more." And God destroyed him young in his life. And then you can read 2 Kings 24, verse 8, "jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months." - He didn't prosper very long, did he? - "His mother's name was nehushta the daughter of elnathan of Jerusalem. And he did evil in the sight of the Lord according to all that his father had done." By the way, jehoiachin was the one who was arrested by Nebuchadnezzar when the city did fall, and he lived during the time of jeroboam. So we've taken you now, down to the time of - Jeremiah rather - and so he lived during the time of Jeremiah and - actually, 37 years after his imprisonment he was brought out of prison and he had had a change of heart by then.

So you can see what's happened. The nation in the north, they apostasized - gave themselves to idolatry. Jeremiah lived during the time when they came and they conquered the Kingdom to the north, destroyed their cities, carried them away captive. Hezekiah, the southern kingdom, survived a little longer. The assyrians actually carried away manasseh and - he was supposed to pay taxes - and brought him back.

Then the assyrians were conquered by the Babylonians and they had a chance to repent and live and Jeremiah said 'you need to turn away from your idols. Turn back to the Lord.' But they wouldn't listen. And so this is the time, just before this judgment, because they had compromised with the other nations, is when Jeremiah lived. Alright, you can read about the two evils that it speaks of. If you look in - and you find this in Jeremiah chapter 1 through verse 28 - and I'm going to read Jeremiah chapter - I'll read Jeremiah chapter 2, verse 11, "has a nation changed its Gods, which are not Gods? But my people have changed their glory for what does not profit.

Be astonished, o heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid; be very desolate,' says the Lord. 'For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me," - here's the two evils - 1) "they have forsaken me,the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns - broken cisterns that can hold no water." What would you rather have, a fountain or a jar? Would you have one jar of water or would you rather have a continual flow? Doesn't Jesus refer to that when he said, 'you might draw from the well in your vessel, but I can give you an artesian, living water that will spring up in your heart.' And he said this is what the nation did is they turned away from a living God to idols. They turned away from this living relationship with the Lord and then they turned to cisterns that hold no water. They're cracked pots, you might say. (Laughter) Jeremiah chapter 2, verse 23, "how can you say, 'I am not polluted, I have not gone after the baals'? See your way in the valley; know what you have done:'" - right there in the valley they had the idols still - "know what you have done: you are a swift dromedary (a camel) breaking loose in her ways, a wild donkey used to the wilderness, that sniffs at the wind in her desire;" - he's talking about when an animal goes into heat and you can't turn it away - totally preoccupied.

You know, any of you who've driven out in the country when - they call it - the deer are in the rut season? A buck will just walk right out in the road, see the car coming - they're so preoccupied with chasing after the deer that they don't notice - hunters can walk right up to them. They don't see their danger. They don't sense what's going on. And that's what God is saying about his people. 'You are so preoccupied with going after these other Gods, that' - he said - 'you won't listen to me.

' And then Jeremiah prophesies in chapter 25, it talks about the Babylonian threat. And I know we're jumping around a little bit here, but the lesson is kind of giving you the view of where they were. Someone has got Jeremiah 26, verse 7. You'll have that in just a moment. Let me read to you Jeremiah 25, verse 8, "therefore thus says the Lord of hosts: 'because you have not heard my words, behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,' says the Lord,' and Nebuchadnezzar the King of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, against its inhabitants,'" - now I've got to just pause here - I hope there's time.

When you get to Daniel chapter 11, this great prophecy of Daniel talks about the King of the north in the last days - the king of the north - when Jerusalem and Israel were destroyed, because there was an ocean to the west - big ocean - and there was an uncrossable desert to the east, whenever these nations came, they came from the north or south. And so, when assyria and Nebuchadnezzar - Babylon and assyria - came to carry off Jeremiah and Jerusalem, and to carry off the ten tribes of the north, they came from the north. And so, just something to think about when you read in Daniel about the King of the north and the King of the south. Israel saw their problems often coming from the south from Egypt and Ethiopia, or they came from the north - Babylon, syria - or assyria. Okay - "'Nebuchadnezzar the King of Babylon, my servant,'" - by the way, what did the devil say he wanted? 'I want to sit on the congregation on the sides of the north.

' Interesting. 'I want to be the top.' - "'I will devote them to destruction and make them a whore, a hissing and an everlasting destruction. Moreover, I will banish from them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the grinding of millstones and the light of the lamp. This whole land will become a ruin and a waste and all these nations will serve the King of Babylon seventy years.'" Here's a prophecy. Did it happen? It did - what he foretold.

"'Then after seventy years are complete, I will punish the kingdom of Babylon and that nation, the land of the chaldeans, for their iniquity.' Declares the Lord, 'making the land an everlasting waste.'" - Same way they had wasted Jerusalem, he said, 'I will waste the city of Babylon.' You know, the city of Babylon is still wasted today? Saddam hussein wanted to rebuild ancient Babylon and, as he started that, the first gulf war broke out and he had to stop. And then there was a little bit of respite between the first gulf war and the second gulf war and he started it up again, and then the second gulf war started and, of course, he was killed and the construction project of ancient Babylon - with isis and all this - has never resumed. God said it would never be rebuilt again. You can read Isaiah 13. Jeremiah said that too.

Very interesting. Read for us, please, Jeremiah 26:7. <<"So the priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the Lord." Now how popular do you think that made Jeremiah there in the temple, to say, 'this temple's going to be destroyed. The city's going to be destroyed. Your home's going to be destroyed.

Your people, your government are going to be destroyed, and you're going to be slaves.' Would you want to believe a prophecy like that? Would that be considered patriotic? Would you be popular with a prophecy like that? Did it happen? Does God send judgments on nations that turn from his principles? He is sometimes patient - years went by between manasseh and when the judgment actually came. You wonder, sometimes, what will happen in our country if we keep going down the route we're going, because righteousness establishes the land and through immorality and worldliness we drive away the Spirit of the Lord. And you just wonder how long God's mercy will tarry. Anyone want to say 'amen' to that? Amen. I just didn't want to be alone.

You're on record now. Psalms 78, verse 60, 'he forsook the tabernacle of shiloh, the tent where his glory was among mankind and he delivered his power to captivity, his glory to the hand of the foe. He gave his people over to the hand of the sword and vented his wrath on his heritage.' What is he talking about here? The temple used to be with - you know, before Jerusalem was picked, where was the sanctuary? After they came out of the wilderness, with this tabernacle with the ark, up until David in Jerusalem, it was in shiloh during the days of eli, hofni, phineas - but because they were wicked - hofni and phineas, in particular. They were, you know, I won't talk about what they were doing, but it's in the Bible. They were just very immoral.

They said, 'but we're the priests. We've got the ark. We've got the temple.' God said, 'because you think you know me and because you've got these sacred oracles, you think you can sin like the nations. I am going to give the ark into the hand of the philistines because you think it's a good luck charm.' That's what happened at shiloh. That's why it says here, 'remember what happened at shiloh.

Don't think to say' - in Jerusalem in the days of Jeremiah they were saying, 'we've got the temple. We've got the ark of the covenant. We've got God's presence.' You know, up until Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the temple, they had the ark still, then. And as I mentioned last week, Jeremiah and the priests probably hid it in a cave before Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the temple. It's never been found.

And so they thought, 'we've got this good luck charm.' It's kind of like a person that, you know, hangs a cross on their mirror so they can drive drunk. They put a little statue of mary on the dashboard or something. And they were treating the ark like it was some sacred relic or good luck charm - superstition. And God said, 'remember what happened at shiloh. Because they were wicked I gave it all into the hands of the philistines.

' Now they ended up getting it back but - same way - Israel ended up getting the temple back later, but they had to repent first. And so - oh, I've just got a few seconds left. Swearing falsely - Jeremiah 5:1, "run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem; see now and know; and seek in her open places if you can find a man, if there is anyone who executes judgment, who seeks the truth, and I will pardon her." You remember when Abraham said to the Lord before sodom was destroyed, he said, 'if there's ten righteous will you spare it?' God said, 'I'll spare the whole thing - all those cities - if there's ten righteous.' And God is saying to Jeremiah - through Jeremiah - 'run through Jerusalem and see if you can find any that doesn't swear falsely.' He couldn't find one. Everybody had given themselves over. And so that was the condition of the land.

We have run out of time but I want to remind our friends that if you did not hear at the beginning of the broadcast, we have a free offer for anyone who wants it. It's called riches of grace and just a beautiful book by joe crews. We'll send it to you. If you've not read this you'll be inspired by it. -788-3966 - You can call the number on your screen.

You can read it for free online at amazingfacts.org. But we have run out of time for today's lesson. God willing, we'll get together next week and study lesson #3 in Jeremiah and we'll get more specifically into the book at that time. For life-changing Christian resources, visit afbookstore.com or call 1-800-538-7275.

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