Intro. Jeremiah 52
is sort of an appendix to the book in which a piece of the recorded history is repeated. It was recorded earlier in chapter 39, and was probably copied from II Kings 25
. It is the record of the fall of Jerusalem. "It came to pass in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, the fourth month and the ninth day of the month the famine was sore in the city so that there was no bread for the people in the land, and the city was broken up." Thus is recorded the fall of Jerusalem.
I. THE MINISTRY OF JEREMIAH.
A. It had commenced some 40 years earlier during the reign of Josiah. There had been a succession of kings until finally Zedekiah ascended to the throne and he also ignored the warning of the prophet Jeremiah and he rebelled against Babylon. In the 11th year of his reign in the fourth month, and on the 9th day of the month the ax fell.
1. Jeremiah had been warning for forty years of the impending destruction of the city of Jerusalem by the armies of Babylon unless the people turned to their God.
2. He had used many devises to get their attention.
a. He had stood at the gate of the temple when he was just a boy and he cried to the people who were going into the the temple not to trust in the ritual of temple worship to save them, they needed to turn with their whole hearts to God.
b. He wore a beautiful expensive robe through the city for a time, then burying it under a rock for a period on time only to retrieve it later when the bugs had eaten holes in it and the colors had run together, then wearing it again as he preached to them of how they were once a thing of beauty to God but as a result of their sin, they had become something to be cast off.
3. During his early years while just a teen, they for the most part ignored him because the threat of a Babylonian invasion seemed so remote. He received some threats because he was considered a nuisance.
4. In the later years when the Babylonian armies were approaching the city, he was placed in the dungeon and imprisoned as being in league with the Babylonians. There were actual plots to put him to death.
B. The people refused the message of warning from Jeremiah, and continued in their sin. They had refused the Divine call and dared the Divine wrath. And in the eleventh year, on the ninth day of the fourth month, the city was broken up.
II. WE NOW SEE THE DIVINE VENGEANCE OF GOD.
A. The reason for the Divine vengeance was their turning from the law of God.
1. The law of God is the expression of the highest ideals for a society.
a. A love and the worship of God would be the foundation of that society. It would honor God first.
b. There would be a strong supportive family environment in which children would be raised.
c. There would be no adultery.
d. There would be a true administration of justice.
2. They left these ideals, they forsook God from the national life.
a. They began to have an obsession for pornography and sex.
b. There came a breakdown of the family structure.
c. They began to abort unwanted children.
d. The whole judicial system became a mockery, and as a result crime was rampant in the street, as the streets began to be ruled by gangs.
B. We notice however the slowness of the Divine justice. Jeremiah had been crying out his alarm for forty years.
1. The reason for the slowness was the Divine compassion.
2. God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
3. Inevitably however if man will not heed the call of God the eleventh year, the fourth month, and the ninth day of the month will come, and God will allow that once great society to collapse.
4. We are told in II Chronicles that they persisted in their evil. Rejecting the messengers of God until there was no remedy.
III. THE STORY REVEALS THE DIVINE ANGER.
A. There are many people today who wish to reject the truth of the Divine anger. The idea upsets them, and they wish to reject it.
1. Their God is sort of a syrupy honey on milk toast.
2. He is a poor disciplinarian, never punishing evil.
3. They are against the idea of the anger of God.
4. Is there a true basis for their antagonism, against this concept of God?
5. There are many who seek to reject the Old Testament, because it seems to speak of the justice, and judgment of God.
B. There is no revelation of God that does not include the truth of the Divine anger.
1. God has revealed Himself in nature.
a. Nature tells us that if you break the laws of nature you will be hurt.
b. If you jump off of a building.
c. If you grab a electrical wire forming a ground you will be shocked perhaps fatally.
d. There are laws that govern our Universe, and you must obey these laws or suffer the consequence.
e. Obey the laws of nature and you will live, break them and you will die.
d. Those that discover the laws of nature are discovering the thoughts of God.
2. If we look for the revelation of God in human history, we find the same truth revealed.
a. All history testifies to the fact of vengeance, punishment, judgment falling upon the nation that has left the high ideals. Russia being one of the most recent examples.
b. When a nation leaves the high ideals of purity and morality, it has always been punished.
3. The New Testament revelation of God is not devoid of the truth of the Divine anger.
a. Jesus was the epitome of love and compassion, yet we see Him angry with the Pharisees and Scribes. He denounces them with the threat of eternal punishment.
b. Paul speaks of the wrath of God that is to be revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men that hold the truth of God in unrighteousness.
c. The book of Revelation devotes 12 chapters to detailing the events in the day of wrath that is to come.
C. All active opposition to the doctrine of Divine anger is accompanied by degeneration. The people of Jeremiah's day had denied the idea, and they became very degenerate.
1. This is true of any person, nation, or church.
2. Deny this doctrine, and the next step is degeneration.
D. The fact still remains, even if denied, and punishment comes. The eleventh year, and the fourth month and the ninth day of the month will arrive, and the breach will be made.
E. The opposition of the doctrine of Divine anger often expresses itself in the persecution of the messengers.
1. This happened in the case of Jeremiah.
2. He spoke of the Divine mercy that was available, of the Divine love, but of the inevitable Divine anger if that mercy and love were rejected.
F. They tried to solve their problems with intrigues.
1. They sought to make a mutual defense pact with Egypt.
2. They thought that Egypt could save them from the coming punishment, thereby they could continue in their sin and not be forced to change their desired preferences.
a. Much as they are looking for science to come up with some cure for the HIV virus so that they will not have to change from their aberrant practices.
G. They sought to compromise with God.
1. They were willing to give God everything but the one thing He was requiring.
2. They rebuilt the Temple, and started Temple worship again.
3. But they did not repent and turn from their sinful practices.
E. There is one attitude that averts the Divine anger and that is turning to God in true penitence. The deserting of all the efforts of intrigue and compromise to get God to accept the lower standard of life style that you desire.
IV. ACCEPTING THE FACT OF THE DIVINE ANGER A FEW FACTS THAT WE NEED TO REALIZE.
A. Remove from your mind any thought of vindictiveness.
1. God never punishes willingly.
2. He only afflicts when there is no other remedy.
B. He never rejoices over the doom.
1. See Jesus as He weeps over Jerusalem, as He could foresee the devastation that would befall the city by the Roman garrison.
2. There you see the heart of the Father when the day of judgment is inevitable.
C. God's anger is always inspired by love. He is angry when loves purposes are frustrated, or loves object is harmed.
1. Look at the things that Jesus was angry about.
a. Woe to you Pharisee's "You devour widow's houses."
b. You lay on men heavy burdens that they cannot bear.
2. It is of supreme necessity in the interest of the saving of a society.
a. Prisons are to protect the free.
b. Hell is the safeguard of heaven.
c. A state that cannot punish crime is doomed.
D. The stroke of judgment is always discriminative.
1. Abraham pleading for Sodom.
E. The judgment of God is always progressive. He destroys that He might build anew. The destruction is to prepare the way for the construction.
1. The call of Jeremiah to tear down destroy, to build and to plant.
F. Paul quotes the psalmist in Romans 3:10
In that same chapter Paul asks, "Is God unrighteous that visits with wrath? God forbid, how can God then judge the world?"