Spiritual Lessons

Jeremiah – Light Beyond the Darkness
Spiritual Lessons

a. Relationship with God

  • As a Nation

    i. God’s covenant with Israel:

    • Obedience – Covenantal blessings,
    • Idolatry – Chastisement and judgment.
      God’s dealings with Israel is by covenant. Under its provisions, Israel had to commit themselves to obedience to God – If Israel was obedient, covenantal blessings would continue, Otherwise judgment and chastisement would ensue ie. Jer 19: 4-6.

    ii. Importance of spiritual leaders:
    – Priests and prophets were as culpable as the rest of Judah (6:13-15). Once church leaders compromise, they will lead the church astray.

  • As an Individual

    i. Personal relationship:

    • “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” (29:13).
      – Man’s acceptance with God is not dependent on the temple rituals/circumcisions. Nor does he need to live/worship in Judah. Wherever men are, they may seek Yahweh with all their heart – God is not “far- off” but near enough for us to experience His reality and Love. He is a personal God interested in each and everyone of us..

    ii. Complete reliance on God:

    • “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength … Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord … ” (17:5-8).
      – Jer 17:5-10 Thus says the Lord: Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strenght, 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. 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 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.

b. Outward appearances

  • The Heart vs Outward Appearances:
    i. Superficial features of faith:
    ii. Performance of religious rites
    iii. Outward acceptance of God’covenant
  • Spiritual apathy:
    – Jeremiah blames the priests for allowing the people to be persuaded that outward religious observances were acceptable substitute for inward spiritual motivation. The false prophets advocated that the Temple would never fall to Babylon despite Jeremiah’s insistence 6:13, 18:18, 29: 25-32. Judgment in-escapable (25:9) – Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion.
  • Traditions/actions are meaningless without inward conviction:
    – Jeremiah predicted that a time would come when sacrificial system would cease, along with the cultic ministry exercised by Jerusalem priesthood – under the renewed covenant, the divine law would be written not upon stone tablets but upon the hearts of believers.

c. Repentance brings about restoration

  • True Repentance is:
    – Genuine and lasting
    – A radical transformation of life

    “If you will return, O Israel,” says the Lord,
    “Return to Me;
    And if you will put away your abominations out of My sight,
    Then you shall not be moved”.

    – Jeremiah 4:1

    Though Judah was heavily chastised for her sins of idolatry, human sacrifice, covetousness, Jehovah would one day redeem them, because of His covenant and special love for His chosen people – He would show mercy to them again if the people are truly penitent.

d. God’s sovereignty

  • Lord of all nations:
    – Directed Israel’s history
    – Proclaimed judgment on surrounding nations ie.prophesied of the fall of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, Sidon, Judah into hands of Nebuchadnezzar.
  • Determines the purpose of all men:
    – “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (29:11) ie. trials, turbulent events and hardships are but passing clouds from a God determined to carry out His redemption plan.

e. Jeremiah’s example

  • Deep and intimate fellowship with God
    – Not bitter despite being denied close friends and family
    – Found personal refuge in God
  • Faithful to his calling
    – Chose to please God rather than men
    – Steadfast witness

Total Obedience to God

– Do not confuse trials with judgment, believing hardship is a punishment for some sin
– Many trials come merely because we live in a world of sin
– God allows trials to instruct us, an opportunity to show our faith, to strengthen us in order to comfort and bless those around us.
– Look to Jeremiah for encouragement as a giant who was faithful to God to the end.
– Only Jeremiah’s solid faith in the Lord could prompt such optimism in the face of disasters of his day – he had total obedience to the Lord.