Rebuke and Retribution

Rebuke and Retribution

Scripture: Jeremiah 17:14, Jeremiah 17:5-10, John 3:19
Date: 10/24/2015  Lesson: 4
"This week we'll start to look at the trials of Jeremiah, whose ministry seemed to consist of nothing but rebuke and retribution: he giving the rebuke, the leaders giving him retribution."

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Good morning and Happy Sabbath. I want to thank all of you joining us today, our online viewers and our family here at Granite Bay. We're glad you're here. We're looking forward to an exciting Sabbath school lesson. We are studying rebuke and retribution from our studies in Jeremiah.

I'm interested in finding out what this lesson is all going to be about. We have a special guest who will be sharing with us, but before he does, I'd like to share with you our free offer for this week. It is going to be "the brook: why do Christians suffer?" When the brook died up. We're going to be looking at this as offer 161. If you want to call in for it, 161, it is.

.. Just call that number and ask for your free copy of "the brook dried up: why do Christians suffer?" At this time, I'm going to ask if our song leaders would come out and lead us in some music for this morning. [Music] emma quedzuweit: good morning and Happy Sabbath. Welcome to our song service here for Sabbath School Study Hour. We're glad you're here to sing with us today.

Our first song is going to be number 245, "more about Jesus." ♪ More about Jesus I would know, more of his grace ♪ ♪ to others show, more of his saving fullness see, more of ♪ ♪ his love who died for me. ♪ ♪ More, more about Jesus. More, more about Jesus. ♪ ♪ More of his saving fullness see, more of his ♪ ♪ love who died for me. ♪ ♪ More about Jesus let me learn, more of his holy will discern.

♪ ♪ Spirit of God my teacher be, showing the things ♪ ♪ of Christ to me. ♪ ♪ More, more about Jesus. More, more about Jesus. ♪ ♪ More of his saving fullness see, more of his ♪ ♪ love who died for me. ♪ ♪ More about Jesus in His Word holding communion with my Lord ♪ ♪ hearing his voice in every line, making each faithful ♪ ♪ saying mine.

♪ ♪ More, more about Jesus. More, more about Jesus. ♪ ♪ More of his saving fullness see, more of his ♪ ♪ love who died for me. ♪ ♪ More about Jesus in his throne ♪ ♪ riches in glory all his own ♪ ♪ more of his kingdom's sure increase, more of his coming, ♪ ♪ prince of peace. ♪ ♪ More, more about Jesus.

More, more about Jesus. ♪ ♪ More of his saving fullness see, more of ♪ ♪ his love who died for me. ♪♪ Emma: you know, as we learn more and more about Jesus every day, it makes us want to be more like him, doesn't it? Have us be like him in every way that we can. Our next song is going to be number 330, "take my life and let it be," all five verses. [Music] [music] ♪ take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee.

♪ ♪ Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of ♪ ♪ thy love, at the impulse of thy love. ♪ ♪ Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for thee. ♪ ♪ Take my voice and let me sing always, only for my king, ♪ ♪ always, only for my king. ♪ ♪ Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from thee ♪ ♪ take my silver and my gold, not a mite would I withhold, ♪ ♪ not a mite would I withhold. ♪ ♪ Take my will and make it thine it shall be no longer mine ♪ ♪ take my heart, it is thine own ♪ ♪ it shall be thy royal throne ♪ ♪ it shall be thy royal throne ♪ ♪ take my love, my Lord.

♪ ♪ I pour at thy feet its treasure stored. ♪ ♪ Take myself and I will be ever, only all for thee, ♪ ♪ ever, only all for thee. ♪ David derose: well, good morning to you each one of you. If you're at all like me, as you've been on this journey for now 3 weeks, we're into the fourth week in this study on the book of Jeremiah. Probably something's been running through your mind.

It has been mine. I felt like in these first three lessons, we were speaking a lot about background. We were speaking about the Kings of judah, the final Kings on the throne. We were speaking about Jeremiah's background. And I knew that, as we were coming to lesson four, we'd be jumping right into the book of Jeremiah, and I was thinking maybe it's going to be the first five chapters of the book of Jeremiah.

So, as we turn there to chapter four--to our lesson four actually, "rebuke and retribution," I don't know, was my reaction any different than yours? Were you a bit surprised at where the lesson took us? Let's look at what is the memory text for this week. It's actually in the new king James version in the quarterly. It's Jeremiah's own words. "Heal me, o Lord, and I shall be healed. Save me and I shall be saved, for you are my praise.

" Chapter 17, chapter 17. Now, I have never taken a course in homiletics. Now, some of you are sitting there, you know, nodding your head, "well, it's obvious," you say, "dr. Derose, because we've heard you speak before." But homiletics is the science, if you will, of preaching. And at least when I think about homiletics, I think of two great divisions, two different methods of preaching.

Now, this is why I'm telling you I don't have any formal background in this, so if you went to the seminary and took a class in homiletics, they'd probably break it down a lot more than this. But for my simple way of thinking, there is exegetical preaching. Exegetical preaching is where we just take the word and we go through it verse by verse, and chapter by chapter. But then there's thematic preaching, where we preach on themes of the Bible. Now, for someone like me who's often a visiting speaker, we tend to preach thematically because it's hard to walk people through, let's say, a whole book of the Bible, even a short one, in a single sermon.

But I know right here in the Granite Bay church, and many of you who view with us from week to week, you're used to people preaching exegetically as well. We've had people go through, in this very setting, the entire book of Revelation, or other books of the Bible systematically. That's exegetical preaching. And so, when I see a title on a lesson where it says Jeremiah, I'm thinking exegetical preaching. We're going to March through the book of Jeremiah in 13 weeks, and we'll go from the beginning, chapter 1 to chapter 51.

But I think--or 52 actually, you're right. Some of you are looking at the lessons and you've been reading through it, and you say, "well, that's not what's happening here. This is a very thematic approach to Jeremiah." Now, that's not wrong. But the problem with it is is I think it feeds into a mindset that we have in our culture, which is the sound bite culture. Are you following along with me? Sound bite culture.

What do we do? We don't listen to anyone make a presentation. We don't listen to speeches. We don't read the whole context of things. We just get a sound bite. "Did you hear what--did you--did you hear what that--and I heard the 30--" you don't know who it was, but, "I heard the 37th minute and 15th second to 20th second of what that person said in those 45 minutes, and I'm so upset.

" Because that's all they played on the evening news. Well, we don't want to make the same mistake with the book of Jeremiah, so as I was preparing to share this lesson with you, I said, "listen, if we're going to jump into lesson 17, I'm not prepared to talk about chapter 17 unless I read chapters 1 through 17." So, I wanted to make sure I did that this week just so it's fresh in my mind, not that I hadn't read it before. And as I was doing that--I'll be honest with you. If I walked in this morning and one of you came and said, "dr. Derose, my son has just broken a record.

" Broken a record. Well, excited? Son has broken a record, well, what did he--you know, is he a track star? Did he just get the highest grade on his exam, you know, a standardized exam? What is it? Someone speaks about breaking a record, at least in my day, it meant usually something different than what you may hear about today. In my day--now, some of you are looking at me and you'll be completely confused by this, but we used to talk about broken records when I was a young man. And it wasn't talking about someone shattering the mile run speed record. It was actually talking about scratching the surface of one of these vinyl discs.

Now, some of you are looking totally bewildered, a vinyl disc. Now, I think most of you realize that historically, we used to have sound recordings on pieces of plastic. And you put a little needle on it. And some of you may want to read up on the history of this. I know you're looking bewildered, but we would put this little needle on it.

And if you weren't very careful, if you didn't have one of those high-tech turntables like one of my college roommates have that would, you know, slowly just lower the needle right into the right place, then you could scratch the record. We call it a broken record. And what did a broken record sound like? Repeating and repeating and repeating. Let's look at Jeremiah because we're going to find that much of the book of Jeremiah sounds like a broken record, one of those old broken records. I'm actually jumping into an overview here that's actually found in Sabbath afternoon's reading in the lesson.

And if you look at the bottom paragraph in your quarterly, it says, "this week, we'll start to look at the trials of Jeremiah, whose ministry seemed to consist of nothing but rebuke and retribution, he giving the rebuke and the leaders giving him retribution." Well, I think most of us know what rebuke and retribution are, but I thought, just to be safe, I'd actually go to the dictionary. And we're told that rebuke is expressing sharp disapproval or criticism of because of behavior or actions. So, sharp disapproval or criticism based on actions. And then what about retribution? Well, retribution is punishment, punishment that is considered to be morally right and fully deserved. Interesting, huh? Is it really a broken record? Well, let's look at Sunday's lesson and see if we can make this thesis and make it clear.

Actually, one of the interesting things that comes out on Sunday is something that really jumps us into the book contextually, and to this recurring theme, one of the recurring themes of Jeremiah. Look with me at the first few words. If you don't have a lesson quarterly, by the way, you can view those online. You can also, if you're a member here at Granite Bay, pick those up in the foyer. But the two ways--the two ways are what is being highlighted in Sunday's lesson.

It says, "from the earliest chapters of Genesis to the last chapters of Revelation, the Bible presents us only two options on how to live. We either follow the Lord with all our heart and soul, or we don't." What do you think about that? Is it really only two options? Look with me at Jeremiah chapter 7. I'm going to Jeremiah 7, beginning with verse 22. Really, this is a very good synthesis of what Jeremiah is dealing with in his day. Jeremiah 7, beginning with verse 22.

And for all of us just to kind of recap where we've been over the last 3 weeks, Jeremiah, the book of Jeremiah is being given after, if you will, a sense of close of probation for the Jewish people. Now, I know most of you, when you hear about the close of probation for the Jewish nation, you think of that great time prophecy in Daniel and you think of 34 ad. You think of the 70 weeks of Daniel and the time that was especially given to God's people to make a full end of sin, to accept the Messiah in essence, to accept Jesus' ministry. Here's the point. As a nation, God had called them for a special purpose.

And when we pick up the story of Jeremiah, they have actually blown it. They've blown it and God is about to take them into captivity in Babylon. Okay, that's really the setting, that's the background of the book of Jeremiah, and Jeremiah's ministry during the time of captivity and the various conquests of Babylon. So, he's speaking to the Kings prior to the conquest of the Babylonians and during that process, because there were three waves of conquest. So, that's a summary of our first three lessons together.

But now as we're in Jeremiah 7, we're catching a glimpse of this broken record message. So, Jeremiah 7, verse 22. "For I did not speak to your fathers," God speaking through Jeremiah, "or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices, but this is what I commanded them, saying, 'obey my voice, and I will be your guide, and you will be my people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.' Yet they did not obey, nor incline their ear, but followed the counsels and the dictates of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward. Since the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt until this day, I have even sent to you all my servants, the prophets daily, rising up early and sending them, yet they did not obey me or incline their ear, but they stiffen their necks.

They did worse than their fathers." Now, this is quite a rebuke coming from God himself. And you might say, as we're sitting here today, "I am so glad we're not that kind of a people." Okay, we don't have that problem. We're obeying God. We're right here fellowshipping together." This is one of God's commands. Paul encouraged it in the book of Hebrews.

As we see the day approaching, we're supposed to come together, we're supposed to encourage one another. That's what we're doing. We're keeping God's commandments." But were the jews of Jeremiah's day any different than we are today? This week, I was looking at a famous archaeological inscription. Now again, I'm treading on dangerous waters. I'm not an archaeologist.

I could not even claim to be an amateur archaeologist. I guess my greatest claim to archaeological training is I had one master's level course at the seminary in archaeology, so it hardly qualifies for much. But it was in that very class that I was introduced to this amazing inscription in a place--and I will try to use my best pronunciation of the semitic languages. Quintelet adruid. There is there a structure, a building.

And there has been debate among the scholars, as best I can tell, as to whether this inscription was actually in a temple, in a place of worship, in a fortress. You can see an image of it here. And those of you who are like me that don't read semitic languages, you'll see some scrawling on it, but there is a blessing here associated with this graphic image, as well as other places, at least one or two other places in this structure. And it basically is proclaiming a blessing from yahweh and asherah. I bless you by yahweh and asherah.

Now, we know who yahweh is. Yahweh is jehovah. He is the God of the old testament. But who was asherah? Asherah was this female deity of the heathens. This dates back somewhere back into the 8th or 9th century bc.

And it gives us a glimpse of what was happening culturally for many centuries. King ahab, you remember that name? What comes to your mind when you hear king ahab? Jezebel, wicked. You know, if you lived in ahab's day, it is likely you would have thought highly of ahab. Ahab was one of the most competent, from a political and economic standpoint, one of the most competent rulers of the northern kingdom. He lived in an ivory palace.

He was--actually, we find ahab's name in the writings of foreign Kings. Ahab was someone of prominence. You would say, "I mean, we've got someone important leading our country." You say, "but the guy was wicked." Actually, you know, there is something good said about ahab. Judgement was averted during ahab's day because even his repentance, at least on a certain level. In ahab's day, we know of that great ministry of Elijah.

Elijah gave a similar message of rebuke, didn't he? Do you remember what Elijah said on Mount Carmel? What was the key challenge he gave to God's people in his day? Yes, "how long will you halt between two opinions?" Now, this is where we get it wrong. This is where we get it wrong. In our minds, we're looking at Jeremiah's day, or you go back several centuries to Elijah's day, and then where we get it wrong is we think these people had tossed God out and they're serving baal. That was not their problem. Jeremiah didn't say, nor did Elijah say on Mount Carmel, Elijah didn't say, "stop serving baal and start following jehovah.

" He did not say that. He said, "how long halt you between two opinions?" In that era, those centuries, you could easily have walked up to someone and say, "I bless you in the name of yahweh and baal. I bless you in the name of jehovah and asherah." Are you following along with me? What I'm trying to help us see is the problem that they had is something called syncretism. Have you heard that phrase before? Syncretism is pulling everything together and making it all really--pronouncing your blessing on it. It's like a patient I had many years ago.

Actually, may have been the wealthiest patient I ever had. We'll call him zachary. I don't know of a zachary here today. If there is, I'm not singling you out. Zachary was a billionaire, literally.

And I was fascinated because as he came to one of our seventh day adventist health centers, he came with his idols. And it turned out--and I'm exaggerating a bit as to how I describe this, but on Sunday, zachary was a catholic, and on Monday he was muslim, and on Tuesday he was buddhist. Are you following along with me? Everything was good, you see? Everything was good. If you don't realize that this is the post-modern world in which we live, there are many people that you say, "well, you know, I just went to a wonderful church service, and we're studying the Bible." I say, "oh, that's so good, I'm so glad. I'm so happy when people are, you know, spiritual.

And you know, I went to the buddhist temple yesterday myself and I had such a good experience, and then I was over at the Jewish synagogue a couple of weeks ago." Are you following along? And so, it's this very neutral environment. How are we today? How are we today? Can you obey God just a little bit? Have you ever thought about it? How do you know if you're obeying God? How do you know if you're really obeying God? You only know if you really obeying God when God asks you to do something that you wouldn't choose to do yourself, and you do it. Right? "Oh, dr. Derose, I'm following 95% of what, you know, God is asking me to do, 95% I'm following." How much are you following? You're following zero. You say, "wait, how can you say that? How can you say you're following zero?" Because what you're telling me is that when you agree with him, you're following him.

But when you don't, you're not. So, who are you really following? You're following yourself. This was the problem in Jeremiah's day. You think I'm making things up perhaps if you haven't read much from Jeremiah. Let's look at some examples here.

Let's look at some examples. Let's actually look at Jeremiah chapter 5, Jeremiah chapter 5. And I feel like I have some license to do this because we're looking thematically. Some of you are getting worried. You're looking and you're saying, "well, wait a minute.

Are we going to actually get through all of today's lesson?" We're going to try to do this. Look at what God Judges in his people. I'm in Jeremiah 5, beginning with verse 20. Jeremiah 5, verses 20 and 21. "Declare this in the house of Jacob and proclaim it in judah saying, 'hear us now, o foolish people without understanding, who have eyes and see not, who have ears and hear not.

Do you not fear me?' Says the Lord. 'Will you not tremble at my presence?'" What's going on? They don't have the right reverence for God. They're not seeing, they're not hearing, they're missing the whole point. We'll pick up some of these themes a little bit more, but we want to look at what Jeremiah is dealing with in this context. So, the broken record is God is calling you to obey.

You think you're obeying. You're saying that you're following God, but you're not. And God is calling you to return, and you're refusing to return. This is one of the essences of Jeremiah's message. Sunday's lesson called us to look at Jeremiah 17.

It is a powerful chapter, so let's go there and look together at Jeremiah 17. So, here God is giving a message to his prophet, Jeremiah 17, beginning with verse 5. "Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land, which is not inhabited." So, first you have this picture of judgement, right? But then in the following verses, we read this. "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose hope is in the Lord.

For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads outs it--spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes, but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit." They say beautiful words, encouraging words. I want to trust Jesus. I want to take part in those life-giving waters that are promised to the faithful, right? But contextually, there's a very interesting passage. Go back just a few chapters because Jeremiah was struggling just a few chapters earlier in Jeremiah 15. I want you to see this.

Jeremiah 15, beginning with verse 16. So, remember this is a book. And so, if you want to get the full impact of the book of Jeremiah, you've got to read the book of Jeremiah. You can't just look at the themes in Jeremiah. But so, I'm now looking at Jeremiah 15.

And in Jeremiah 15, verse 16, Jeremiah gives us--it's one of the more inspiring passages in the book. "Your Words were found, and I ate them. And Your Word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart, for I am called by your name, o Lord God of hosts." You know God wants to give you that same experience? He wants His Word to be your joy. And if it's not there, if it's not your joy to read the Bible, I might suggest to you that you haven't been reading it enough. I didn't grow up in a culture that valued the Bible.

I was not raised in a home where the Bible was read. I never heard of a seventh day adventist growing up. And so, I came out of the secular world. Was it easy for me to read the Bible and become engaged by it? Do you think it was easy to begin with? No, it was very difficult. But after a while as I continued to read it and I see God speaking to me through His Word.

It's such a blessing, I don't want to miss having my time to read the Bible. It doesn't matter how early I have to be up and going, I'm up early enough that I can read the word. So, Jeremiah is sharing his own experience, and it's an experience he wants us to have. And it doesn't come just by the sound bite, "well, dr. Derose, I read the devotional, you know, the three paragraphs.

And then i--you know, while I was eating my breakfast. And so that--but I don't--you know, I just do it because I'm supposed to do it." No, you got to spend more time if you want to develop a taste for tahini, and it's the same for many of us with the word. Jeremiah said, "Your Word was, to me, the joy and rejoicing of my heart." But now listen carefully as Jeremiah 15 continues. He said, "I did not sit in the assembly of the mockers." I would have gotten bogged down if I wasn't--i actually think I was listening to this at the time, someone reading it. I would've gotten bogged down right on that verse.

You'll see why in a minute. "Nor did I rejoice. I sat alone because of your hand, for you have filled me with indignation. Why is my pain perpetual and my wound incurable which refuses to be healed? Will you surely be to me like an unreliable stream as waters that fail?" Jeremiah here, he starts by saying, "I'm rejoicing in Your Word, Lord. But why are you treating me like this? Why is this happening in my life? Why have you given me this burden?" God had commissioned him to give a ministry of rebuking.

Now, when I heard verse 17, my mind immediately went to psalm 1. Go with me there. And of course, I did that after I listened to the chapter or the chapters I was reading. Made kind of a mental note if I didn't write it down. I said, "I got to go back to psalm 1 because this sounds like Jeremiah is quoting a Bible promise.

" Psalm 1, "blessed is the man who walks not in the council of the unGodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful, but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water." You say, "now, wait a minute." You catch what Jeremiah's saying? As he's saying, "I delight in Your Word." This is psalm 1. "I delight in Your Word," and what's the promise? The promise is if you're not sitting, what? With the unGodly. That's what he's saying. You see it there in Jeremiah 15.

"I'm not sitting in the assembly of the mockers." He's saying, "I'm fulfilling the conditions of psalm 1, but why is my pain perpetual and my wound incurable?" Are you following along? God is not delivering on his promise. This is the age old challenge that we have as believers, isn't it? We're called to obey God, to trust him, and it seems sometimes that he's not following through. So, as you're reading through the book of Jeremiah, you're seeing that Jeremiah's struggling with the message he's been given. But now, when we come to Jeremiah 17, and that's why we're back in Jeremiah 17, you don't get the significance of Jeremiah 17 unless you read Jeremiah 15, unless you read what's before it. Because what Jeremiah's been struggling with is, how come psalm 1 is not being fulfilled in my life? How come it's not being fulfilled? And God sits him down in Jeremiah 17 and he says, "know my promise is sure.

The man is blessed who trusts in the Lord." Jeremiah 17, verse 7. "He will be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river." This imagery from psalm 1. God is saying, "my word is sure." And then he goes on in his passage in Jeremiah 17, with verse 9. The heart is what? "Deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?" So, Jeremiah, whether he's looking at his own heart or the hearts of the people around him, what is he saying? He's saying sometimes it doesn't look like we can trust God.

It doesn't look that way. But God calls us to do what anyway? To trust him anyway. You know, if you're having experiences right now where it's hard to trust God, instead of complaining, which, by the way, it's okay to complain to God. Are you aware of that? Many of the great Bible writers complained to God. But you've got to listen.

And what Jeremiah was being told by God is His Word is sure. Here's the thing. When we're going through trials and challenges, these are the times that strengthen our faith. When you hold onto God when it's difficult, when God is saying trust me, and then you see him deliver, these are the things that establish our faith. When you give in, that doesn't strengthen your faith at all.

We talk about this when we deal with addictions in the medical community. You know, I've told my patients, let's say they're dealing with nicotine addiction, I'll say to them, "you know what? The temptation is not going to last forever. Temptation is not going to last forever. You're going to either give in to it, or you're going to resist and it will pass. But the consequences of what you do are very different, you see? If you have that cigarette after a week of not smoking, is the consequence going to be different than if you stayed away from that cigarette?" They're huge, right? So, the point is when temptation comes, temptation doesn't last forever.

Press close to Jesus. James said, "draw near to God, and he'll do," what? "He'll draw near to you, whether you feel it or not." Jeremiah 17 is a pivotal chapter, and I appreciate the lesson highlighting it for us, about the deceitfulness of the heart and yet the surety of God's promises, the surety of God's promises. Well, let's move on a little bit more. In Jeremiah chapter 17, we were called to that very same chapter again in Monday's lesson. A little bit more of the immediate context talking just about what we've been talking about as far as the background of his messages.

In Jeremiah 17, the chapter began with these words, verse 1, "the sin of judah is written with a pen of iron, with the point of a diamond. It's engraved on the tablet of their heart and on the horns of your altars, while their children remember their altars and their wooden images by the green trees on the high hills." What's going on here? Well, God wants to write his law on our hearts, right? How is his law written on our hearts? Is it just a supernatural work? I would suggest to you that part of it is supernatural, okay? When we give our hearts to Jesus, he gives us his Holy Spirit, he give us the desire to follow him. But part of God changing our characters is based on our obedience. It's not just a miraculous work. God calls us to obey him.

You read through the book of Jeremiah, even just those first 17 chapters, again and again the call is to obey, to obey, to obey. And when we obey, even if it's difficult, what happens? It changes us. The way we behave changes us. Are you aware of that? There's a saying in psychological circles and it's this: expression deepens impression. Have you heard that before? Expression deepens impression.

So, if you come to church and you sing about Jesus' love, what is that doing? That's deepening the impression of Jesus' love for you. If someone walks up to you and says, "how are you doing today?" And you say, "I am doing so terrible. I had such a terrible week. I mean, it was terrible at work, it was terrible at home, it's terrible here in church. I mean, nobody's treating me right," and you start going through all this, and how do you start feeling? The expression of negative thoughts is deepening those negative impressions on your own mind.

Now, you may be feeling just as bad and someone walks up to you and you say, "how are you doing?" And you say, "I'm just so thankful to be here in church. I'm just praising the Lord that it's Sabbath. I'm just praising the Lord that I can come to a church and we can study the Bible together." Now, you may feel just as lousy as the person who was complaining about how bad their week was, but what's happening to you? I mean, has it ever happened to you? Have you ever actually started talking praise? I mean, sometimes, God has had to put someone in my path to get me out of a rut. Really, someone, you know, they're having some terrible day, and I'm not feeling all that good myself. And so, I start trying to encourage them.

And what do you know, what do you know, then I start encouraging myself. We start talking about the Bible promises. And you know, depressed people walk into my office, some of them want me to open the Bible with them. And I start studying the Bible and I just, "oh, what a blessing," you know? It's encouraged me. Expression deepens impression.

The impression on the hearts of God's people, it was like an engraved--it was engraved in their being. "The compromise, the worship of the secular Gods of the age." Did you catch that? The secular Gods of the age. We don't worship baal today. We don't worship asherah. But what are the secular Gods of our age? What are they? What are the secular Gods that try to intrude into your life? And this is what Jeremiah's dealing with.

Well, we hasten on to Tuesday's lesson. And Jeremiah, I mean, he had a rough time. Jeremiah 11, our attention is called there, and some powerful imagery here in Jeremiah 11. Jeremiah's been giving faithfully these messages of rebuke and how is it received? Well, let's look. Jeremiah 11, verses 18 through 23.

Jeremiah 11, verses 18 through 23. "Now, the Lord gave me knowledge of it," speaking of some of the baal worship and things that were going on, "for you showed me their doings. But I was like a docile lamb brought to the slaughter, and I did not know that they had devised schemes against me, saying, 'let us destroy the tree with its fruit, and let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name may be remembered no more.' But o Lord of hosts, you judge righteously, testing the mind and the heart. Let me see your vengeance on them, for to you I have revealed my cause. Therefore, thus says the Lord concerning the men of anathoth, who seek your life, saying, "do not prophesy in the name of the Lord, lets you die by your hand.

'" That's what they were saying to Jeremiah. "Therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, 'behold, I will punish them. The young men shall die by the sword, their sons and their daughters shall die by famine. And there shall be no remnant of them, for I will bring catastrophe on the men of anathoth, even the year of their punishment.'" Anathoth, where was that? If you remember Jeremiah chapter 1, that was Jeremiah's home town, home town. What were they saying about him? They wanted to kill him.

I mean, you're picking up on the imagery here. These lessons have pointed us to the book of John. It's a good place to compare because Jeremiah's experience is much like Jesus' experience. I'm looking at John 1. In John chapter 1, we're reminded that Jesus is the word.

He has been God's thought made audible from the beginning of time. And so, by the way, when you're reading the word, you're not just interacting with a book, you're interacting with a person, you see? Jesus wants to personally reveal himself to you through His Word. And if you're not having that experience, just ask him to show himself to you, to give you something that will make a difference in your life. I've found God extremely faithful on this point. I mean, my life has been changed by things that God shows me in my morning worship time, changed.

I'm dealing with some issue and I'm reading systematically through something. I'm not looking for an answer to a problem I'm dealing with and the Lord puts the answer right in front of me. the Lord is willing to do that for you. Now, other times, you know what he does? Just what he did for Jeremiah. And I'm scratching my head and I'm saying, "why are you allowing this to happen, Lord? What's going on? I thought I'm following your will, and it's not working out.

" They're both part of the Christian experience. John chapter 1. Jesus, the word being revealed here. It says in verse 11, "he came," where? John 1:11, "he came to his own." He came to his own. And how did they receive him? They didn't receive him.

And as we read through the Gospel of John and the Gospel stories, we see that Jesus was treated just like Jeremiah was. In fact, just like we saw in Jeremiah and those earlier chapters, God was pleading to his people through his prophets, and they kept saying no. Wednesday's lesson calls us to Jeremiah chapter 12. It's a theme that we've already seen as we've been looking--it's a recurring theme in Jeremiah and a recurring theme in the Bible. And it's worth us spending a little bit more time with it.

Jeremiah chapter 12, verses 1 through 4 is the focus. Jeremiah 12, verses 1 through 4. We're speaking about what is called in theological circles theodicy. Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? Why do the wicked prosper and the good seem to suffer? Jeremiah is dealing with it in chapter 12. Jeremiah 12, verse 1 and onward.

Jeremiah 12, beginning with verse 1, "righteous are you, o Lord, when I plead with you. Yet let me talk with you about your judgements. Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why are those happy who deal so treacherously? You've planted them, yes, they have taken root. They grow, yes, they bear fruit. You are near in their mouth, but far from their mind.

" Interesting, isn't it? I mean, do you see, do you see how all these things are fitting together? One of these themes is, why does it look like the wicked are prospering? And what he's saying in Jeremiah 12 is he's arguing with God again. Jeremiah is saying, "how come psalm 1 is not being fulfilled? The wicked are prospering. They're the ones that are like the green tree." Verse 3, Jeremiah 12. "But you, o Lord, know me and you've seen me. You've tested my heart toward you.

Pull them out like sheep for the slaughter and prepare them for the day of slaughter. How long will the land mourn and the herbs of the field wither? The beasts and birds are consumed, for the wickedness of those who dwell there, because they said, 'he will not see our final end.'" They're basically saying--the wicked are saying, "God is not going to judge us." You know, we've been looking at verses that were highlighted in this lesson, but I will tell you if you read through Jeremiah 1 to 17, you're going to see that, mingled with the expressions of judgment, are ample calls to come back. God is continuing to call to his people to return. And that's the message that Jeremiah was given as well. Go with me to a parallel chapter in the Bible, psalm 37.

Psalm 37, the psalmist is dealing with this very same issue as to why--and it almost starts the very way Jeremiah 12 starts. It starts with some words that sound like the writer is praising God, but it immediately descends into a severe struggle. Psalm 37 says, "do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity." This is pulling back the curtain on where we should be going. "For they shall soon be cut down like the grass and wither as the green herb. Trust in the Lord and do good.

Dwell in the land and feed on his faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord and he shall give you the desires of your heart." Do you know what a palindrome is? Palindrome is where you go one direction, and then you go backwards and it's the same. Able was I ere I saw elba, same forward and backward. Psalm 37, if you had a palindrome with another verse beside it, it would be 73. Psalm 37 and psalm 73, okay? Psalm 73.

This is the one I wanted to look at first if you were wondering. This is the one where it starts with an expression of God's goodness. "Truly God is good to Israel, to such as are pure in heart." But look at verse 2, "but as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, for I was," what? "Envious of the boastful when I saw the prosperity of the wicked." Psalm 73 goes on and it says things are not happening like psalm 37 promised. The wicked are prospering, until you come down in psalm 73 to a very, very specific verse, verse 16 and 17. "When I thought how to understand this," the prosperity of the wicked, it was what? "Too painful for me until," until what? "I went into the sanctuary of God.

Then I understood their end." You know, some people think that seventh day adventists are legalistic or shortsighted because they look back to the old testament and the sanctuary. The sanctuary explains this Great Controversy theme. It explains that there is a God who is willing to be the sacrifice for our sins, who reminds us no matter what we've done in the past, no matter how things look, we can come with confidence, as Paul put it in Hebrews, to the throne of grace. So we can find mercy, we can find grace to help in time of need. Aren't you glad for that? Jeremiah, yes, he had a ministry of rebuke.

And we didn't spend much time about that. I think we need balance in the church. We need to be free to speak when we think something is not right. But most of the people that feel that way, that's all they do is complain. Hopefully you're not in either camp, but that we're calling ourselves to be accountable.

You know, if you're still struggling with these things, we have good news. We do have a free offer that I want to remind you of, it's free offer 161. You can get it, the booklet is called "the brook dried up: why do Christians suffer?" A great follow-up to the themes that we've looked at in the book of Jeremiah. Free offer 161, you can get it by calling 866-study-more. That's 866-788-3966.

And until our next lesson, hopefully we will be doing what Jeremiah did, diving into the word, finding it to be the joy and the rejoicing of our hearts. Female: "Amazing Facts" has impacted my life. Male: and I just praise God for "Amazing Facts". Male: "Amazing Facts" actually did have an impact on my life. Male: this whole process getting to where I am today-- female: "Amazing Facts" has been-- female: I began reading the Bible.

Female: I got baptized into-- male: I realized that there had to be more to life. Male: God is really doing this. Male: the life that he's given me. Male: this message was so powerful. Male announcer: "Amazing Facts," more than 45 years of proclaiming God's message around the world.

Male: and then the logo pops across, Amazing Facts presents. I've listened to a lot of different ministers, but this was the first time that he's actually saying something where I had to grab my Bible and actually pick it up, and, "I've never heard this before. Let me look through and find this." Then I just couldn't get enough. Male: and so, I started doing Bible studies. Every single one of these guys started being changed, including myself.

Female: my question was, "why did that happen to me, God?" the Lord was able to reach out and I actually saw him as a father. Female: I lost everything, and that was when I realized that it was God missing in my life. Male: I went to a prophesy seminar, which knocked me out. This message was so powerful and so irrefutable, I just went, "this is real. This is--this is amazing.

" [Music] announcer: "Amazing Facts" began in 1965 with a God-inspired concept. Joe Crews: hello, this is Joe Crews on the "Amazing Facts" broadcast, facts which affect you. Announcer: each radio broadcast would begin with an amazing fact from science, nature, or history, followed by a Bible message that touched the hearts of listeners from every walk of life. The program was an instant success, and the ministry soon began expanding to include Bible lessons. In 1986, "Amazing Facts" added the medium of television to its growing outreach efforts, offering soul-winning, evangelistic messages for viewers around the world.

In 1994, Pastor Doug Batchelor assumed leadership of the ministry, adding the "Bible answers live" call-in radio program, and new ministry tv programs began airing on multiple networks around the world. For 50 years, the driving vision of "Amazing Facts" has been the bold proclamation of the everlasting Gospel. And with a team of evangelists circling the globe, and thousands of men and women being trained through the Amazing Facts center of evangelism program, afcoe, the ministry is helping God's church see a rich harvest of souls. "Amazing Facts," God's message, our mission. Female: so, my mother passed away when I was three, and my paternal grandparents decided they would care for my two older sisters and I so that my father would have time to mourn.

We never really had a mother or a strong fatherly figure, and I'm not blaming my dad. I'm just saying that's how things worked out. When I was in high school, my oldest sister got into an argument with our father, and my sister and I decided to have--we would take her side, and so that caused a split in our family. For 4 years we lived in the same house, we ate from the same pot, we used the same restroom, we walked by each other, but we never said anything to our father, and he never said anything to us. A year later, I had decided I would move out for college.

He wasn't very happy with that. We got booted out of the house. We went back to apologize, but we weren't really accepted back. I have felt so alone a lot of my life. I've felt like I've had to fend for myself.

I've been missing a fatherly love. I don't have family with me. I don't have a lot of things. But I have God and I've been fulfilled. I've been satisfied.

God has been my father. Announcer: together, we have spread the Gospel much farther than ever before. Thank you for your support. Male announcer: can't get enough "Amazing Facts" Bible study? You don't have to wait until next week to enjoy more truth-filled programming. Watch "Amazing Facts" television by visiting aftv.org. At aftv.org, you can view "Amazing Facts" programming 24 hours a day, 7 days a week right from your computer or mobile device. Why wait a week? Visit aftv.org. It's that easy.

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