CALL TO A BACKSLIDDEN NATION
CALL TO A BACKSLIDDEN NATION
Sunday, August 9, 2020
Pastor Carolyn Sissom
Last week I had a dream in which was written out for me to “preach judgment.” In the dream, I was unprepared and nothing I have ever preached in the past prepared me to preach the message.
I turn to Jeremiah because he was a prophet of judgment. He wrote the Book of Jeremiah and the Book of Lamentations. I have preached the Book of Jeremiah, so, it must be that I am to preach out of Lamentations.
There are certain resemblances between Jeremiah and the Lord Jesus Christ. Some of the disciples proposed he might be the prophet Jeremiah returned to life.
Mat 16:14And they said, some say you are John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.
The historic settings were similar. Jerusalem was about to fall. The temple was soon to be destroyed. Religion was buried in formalism, there was need to return to God. Both Jesus and Jeremiah called the backslidden nation and priesthood to repent. Both had a message for Israel and the world. Both condemned the commercialism of temple worship. Both were accused of political treason. Both were tried, persecuted, and imprisoned. Jeremiah wept over Jerusalem hundreds of years before the Savior wept there, plus many more.
Few of the Old Testament prophets lived to see their prophecies fulfilled. Jeremiah saw the cruel realities of the judgment he prophesied take place before his own eyes.
His own future was Egypt, and Judah’s was Babylon. He understood the seal of God in judgment and chronicled the human plight which was a result of disobeying the will and way of the LORD.
We can apply Lamentations to our cities as we watch them burn, children and young people killed in the streets.
Lam 1:8-10: Jerusalem has sinned gravely. Therefore, she has become vile. All who honored her despised her because they have seen her nakedness. Yes, she sighs and turns away. Her uncleanness is in her skirts. She did not consider her destiny. Therefore, her collapse was awesome…The adversary (Satan) has spread his hand over all her pleasant things…
Jerusalem, the capitol of God’s people had actually become the personification of vileness. Her collapse was part of her sealed destiny. Vileness precludes punishment’s seal. There comes a time when vileness is not just present in a city or nation, it is summed up in the character of the city or nation. Las Vegas is “sin city,” etc.
Jeremiah was an integral part of the people and their judgment. Lam. 1:12-13: Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Behold and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow, which has been brought on me, which the LORD has inflicted in the day of his fierce anger. From above He has sent fire into my bones, and it overpowered them. He has spread a net for my feet, and turned me back…
He is not watching a television screen in detached aloofness. He is seeing and experiencing the promised judgement of the LORD come to pass in living, kodak color.
He cries out to God for Him to judge
their enemy, Babylon.
Lam. 1:22Let all their wickedness come before You, and do to them as You have done to me
At this juncture, Jeremiah entered into the seal of heaven to bind on earth the destiny of Babylon. His phrase, “Let all their wickedness come before You,” was identical to, “Whatsoever you bind on earth, will be bound in heaven” (Mt. 16:19). “The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).
Just as the destiny of Babylon was here sealed by the prophet Jeremiah. The destiny of spiritual Babylon/the world system/the beast has been sealed in the Book of Revelation.
Just as the Prophet Jeremiah was decreeing the judgment of Jerusalem’s enemies; “do to them as you have done to me,” we must come into agreement with the Word of God in the New Covenant and decree the judgment of “Mystery Babylon.”
Rev. 17: 6-8: On her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.
The Meaning of the Woman and the Beast. But the angel said to me, “Why did you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
When I was studying Lamentations this week, 2:8 was quickened to me. We have the “Blue Line” under attack. There is a “Black Line” which has nothing to do with race. It is a Marxist organization which is an enemy to us as we watch them burn and destroy the cities. There is the “Red Line,” and “a line in the sand.”
The LORD also has a line.
Lam. 2:8: He has stretched out a line. He has not withdrawn His hand from destroying. Therefore, he has caused the rampart and wall to lament. They languish together.
The LORD’S line is his judgment “to destroy the wall of the daughter of Zion” (2:8).
This is the same measuring line in Jesus’ hand that measured the Temple in the Book of Ezekiel and the same measuring line that the angel told John to measures the Temple in the Book of Revelation.
In Revelation 11:1, John was given a reed: Rev. 11:1-2: There was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the Angel stood saying, rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles; and the holy city shall they tread under foot 42-months.
The temple and daughter of Zion in Lamentations is a type of the people of God of the Church. In Revelation 11, the outer court is the assault by pagan imperialism as some Christians yield to the temptation to compromise with idolatry and the world/systems; and so, deny Christ and His Holy Spirit. But the true dwelling-place of God is immune from earthly invasion; the true church’s life is “hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3)
In Jeremiah’s day, it was too late for repentance. The sacred wall of the daughter of Zion was besieged for two years. The city and Temple were burned.
As a result of this onslaught, society became unglued. Officialdom fell (kings, princes), and religious leaders had no prophetic revelation from the Lord.
Lam. 2:9Her gates are sunk into the ground; He has destroyed and broken her bars: her king and her princes are among the Gentiles: the law is no more; her prophets also find no vision from the LORD.
Lam. 2:17: The LORD has done what HE purposed. He has fulfilled His word which He commanded in days of old.
Jeremiah 4: 28-29: Because I have spoken, I have purposed and will not relent, nor will I turn back from it. The whole city shall flee from the noise of the horsemen and bowman. They will all go into thickets and climb up on the rocks. Every city shall be forsaken. And not a man shall dwell in it.
Many wealthy people have moved out of New York City because of the lawlessness. The mayor is begging them to come back. This man needs to resign.
Jeremiah’s words agreed with God’s. His counsel was simple:
Lam 2:19: Lift your hands toward God and seek mercy for your children.
In the United States of America, our schools have become a political football, the children are not secure and safe with a normal childhood. Teachers’ unions don’t want to teach. Children are being shot in our streets. Sex trafficking exploits children.
Jerusalem’s children were carried away, but would return 70 years later. The screaming children returned as the weeping elders. They had viewed the glory of seventy years before.
Jeremiah whose name meant YHWH establishes, appoints, sends) realized that no only was he sealed in his ministry, but was sealed into the prophesy.
Lamentations 3:7: He has hedged me in so that I cannot get out.
No man or woman of God are separate from his/her message.
Despite ghastly circumstances, Jeremiah’s testimony rings out and became the wondrous praise of the song, “Great is Thy Faithfulness.”
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!
Summer and winter and springtime
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above;
Join with all nature in manifold witness,
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.
Pardon for sin and a peace that
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.” (Thomas Chisholm 7/29/1866- 2/29/1960)
Lamentations 3: 22-24: It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, says my soul; therefore, I will hope in him.
Jeremiah knew history was sealed by God not man.
Lam. 3:37: Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass when the Lord has not commanded it?
Man cannot destroy or re-write history. It is sealed in God’s time seal. All history is spiritual history.
Jeremiah’s enemies were not all outside the camp. Many of those feigning religion reviled him and vented their anger against him. When he cried from the “pit” where they incarcerated him, God answered, “Do not fear!” (Lam 3:65)
His prayer for his enemies was not intercessory. His prayer was for them to be given a “veiled heart,” and that the curse of God be upon them (3:65).
Lam. 4:1How is the gold become dim! how is the finest gold changed! the stones of the sanctuary are poured out in the top of every street. The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, how are they esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter!
“The precious sons of Zion” were falling on every hand. The punishment is greater than the punishment for the sin of Sodom (4:6). The Lord has fulfilled his fury. He has poured out His fierce anger. He kindled a fire in Zion; and it has devoured its foundations. The kings of the earth, and all inhabitants of the world, would not have believed…because of the sins of her prophets and the iniquities of her priests (4:11-13).
The judgment is laid squarely on the shoulders of the prophets and priests. None of this would have happened had they been obedient to God and steadfast before the people.
God’s fury did have limits. He poured out no more nor less than His determined plan. It was meted in proportion to the iniquity He encountered. What is the destiny of any modern nation based on such a formula?
Jeremiah’s concluding statement both states the reality of the present and the promise of the future.
Lam 4:18: Our days were over, for our end hand come.
Lam. 4:22: The punishment of your iniquity is accomplished, O daughter of Zion. He will no longer send you into captivity.
The Book of Lamentations is the punishment of a just father to disobedient children.
When raising children, as parents we must follow through. If we tell them a certain punishment will happen if they do not obey, we have to follow through with that punishment, or they will not respect our words. I believe the Words of God. I believe His promises. I also believe He will bring judgment on me if I sin against his Word. The Book of Lamentations is God speaking during his children’s whipping. “This is why I do this, and have purposed it so you can truly be My children.”
“There is no shadow of turning in God.” What he did to bring judgment to the nations of the earth is sealed in history. Satan has no authority to break the seals. The judgments which are now on the earth have also been sealed into our history. The promises for the overcomers, and the glorious, victorious overcome church are also sealed. The true dwelling-place of God is immune from earthly invasion; the true church’s life is “hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3)
Lam 4:22The punishment of thine iniquity is accomplished, O daughter of Zion; he will no more carry thee away into captivity:
“Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee,
Thou changes not, Thy compassions they fail not,
As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.