In 586 BC Jerusalem was destroyed and thousands of Jews were carried away into captivity. God used the armies of Babylon to judge His people, the Old Testament nation of Judah. One of the prophets of God that foretold of this judgment was Jeremiah. This man of God preached, prayed and wept over his nation for five decades during their decline and fall.
Jeremiah chapter six records one of the prophet’s sermons against Judah’s sins, foretelling the coming doom. The chapter begins with a graphic and poetic depiction of the coming destruction at the hand of Babylon compared to the gleaning of a vineyard. Nothing would remain! Jeremiah was mocked and persecuted, partially because at the time Babylon was not yet a world power capable of such things. Assyria and Egypt were at the time vying for control of the land now called Israel. By the way, God’s Word is always right. The Babylonian kingdom defeated both the Assyrians (612 BC) and the Egyptians (605 BC) and destroyed Jerusalem by an awful siege just as described by Jeremiah.
WHY GOD JUDGED JUDAH
After foretelling the coming judgment, the prophet tells them why God was compelled to do so. The reason was simple; they had forsaken God and had become corrupted by sin. “Every one is given to covetousness; . . every one dealeth falsely. . . they committed abomination” (such as witchcraft, idol worship, child sacrifices, immorality of all kinds, shedding of innocent blood, etc..). And then the prophet of God makes a couple of very interesting statements that apply very much to our day: He asks, “Were they ashamed? . . nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush.” “NEITHER COULD THEY BLUSH.” I want to spend just a couple of moments thinking about this statement and applying some thoughts to ourselves.
They were killing their own babies by sacrificing them to the false god, Dagon. And “they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush.” They were guilty of shedding the blood of the innocent and of witchcraft and sorcery; and they could not blush, and had no shame. Immorality was rampant. You did not have to be married to have sexual relations; anything goes, was the attitude. Rather than intimate relations being a beautiful gift of God for the blessings of husband and wife, they were driven by the purely animal passions of the flesh. Just doing what they wanted, men with men, women with women, and each with his neighbor’s wife. And yet, they had no shame, neither could they blush, cried the prophet.
The very next words from the prophet of God are these; “therefore they shall fall.” These words, of course, indicated the impending doom and destruction of God’s righteous judgment.
The parallel to our own culture is obvious. Many who are reading this are guilty of the very sins of which Jeremiah spoke 2600 years ago. In recent days I have been increasingly grieved and upset at the immorality of our own society. Are you any longer shocked or ashamed when you hear of people sleeping together who are not married? I doubt it, because it has become so common place. Hollywood is forcing the agenda of the homosexuals upon us daily, with movies and TV shows such as “Brokeback Mountain,” “Transamerica,” “Capote”or “Will and Grace” and a host of others. Yet we are not ashamed, nor do we blush.
We even imitate the terrible sins of Judah of child sacrifice and the shedding of innocent blood. What else can we call the ruthless murder of 40 million unborn babies? They are sacrificed on the altar of selfishness and materialism; but we do not blush nor are we ashamed. I have not mentioned the awful blights of our day of pornography and gambling. Yet we do not blush!
Just as certainly as God judged Judah of old, His Holy Word declares that he will judge every unrepentant sinner and condemn them to the eternal fires of hell. Listen to the Word of God: “Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind (homosexuals), nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God… For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience.” Jesus said, “but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” God’s holiness and justice demand that He cannot allow sin to go unpunished.
We have another problem similar to that of Jeremiah; the people were being deceived by their religious teachers. Verse fourteen says, “They have healed also the hurt. . of my people slightly, saying, Peace, Peace; when there is no peace.” What was he saying? Simply this, the (false) prophets were saying to the people the message of peace instead of war and destruction. It made them feel better, but the situation was made worse because they did not prepare for the enemy. Rather than being soothed and pacified, they needed to be awakened to the danger and called to repentance.
Today those guilty of sin against God are told, “Don’t worry, God is love. He will not cast you into hell. We are all God’s children.” Or they are told to simply say a prayer and all will be well. They are not told of the need to repent of their sin and come to the Lord Jesus as a justly condemned sinner worthy of death and hell, trusting wholly on Him for salvation. Today those who go to church are often told to “Be baptized” or “Join the Church;” but works can not save us. Only the grace of God in Christ can cleanse from sin and guilt. We cannot earn it; neither do we deserve it. It is all of God’s unmerited favor.
My friend, do you blush for sin? Evil thoughts, words and deeds, are abomination before a holy God. Are you guilty of immorality which is so rampant in our day? God’s Word says, “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” This means that intimate sexual relation with anyone, outside of that between a husband and wife, is sinful. But as Jeremiah said, “Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? Nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush.” May God in His grace reveal to you your sin and give you a heart to blush and repent of your sin. For, my dear friend, without it you have no hope of salvation.
Those who are guilty of shedding innocent blood, of abortion, do you blush? Are you ashamed? God’s grace, through the blood of Jesus, can cleanse from every sin, if we will only confess it and forsake it and turn to Him alone for salvation.
FORGIVENESS IN CHRIST ALONE
Just as God’s holiness and justice demand condemnation of sin, so His grace and love provided for our salvation in His Son, Jesus Christ. This is why God, the Son, became flesh and dwelt on this earth, so that He might give His life as the substitute for all of His sheep; to shed His precious, sinless blood for sinners. I beg you to read carefully the following verses of Holy Scripture:
Jesus said “I lay down my life for the sheep.” also “for the Son of Man … came to give His life a ransom for many.” Also the Bible says; “But God commendeth (demonstrates) His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
The son of God died for sinners as their substitute. His blood was given as an atonement for sin to satisfy the righteous demands of God. He also rose from the dead after the third day to make intercession for His people. These couple of verses in Romans chapter eight put it all together very nicely: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, . . Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”
There is nothing that we can do to make ourselves right with God. But, praise God for His grace. Jesus Christ has done all that we could not do. All who will come to Him, He will save. “Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.”