Jeremiah chapter 13 beginning verse 1 the Bible reads, "Thus saith the LORD unto me, Go and get thee a linen girdle, and put it upon thy loins, and put it not in water." Now, this chapter starts out with an object lesson that God is going to have Jeremiah do with this article of clothing. He tells him to basically put on this article of clothing, this linen girdle and he says, "Put it not in water."
What he's basically telling him is to wear this thing for a while without washing it. Put on this girdle, put it on your loins, and wear it without washing it. Verse 2, "So I got a girdle according to the word of the LORD, and put it on my loins. 3 And the word of the LORD came unto me the second time, saying, 4 Take the girdle that thou hast got, which is upon thy loins, and arise, go to Euphrates," and of course this is some distance from where Jeremiah is preaching at this time.
He wears this girdle and he travels to Euphrates and it says, "Hide it there in a hole of the rock. 5 So I went, and hid it by Euphrates, as the LORD commanded me. 6 And it came to pass after many days, that the LORD said unto me, Arise, go to Euphrates, and take the girdle from thence, which I commanded thee to hide there. 7 Then I went to Euphrates, and digged, and took the girdle from the place where I had hid it: and, behold, the girdle was marred, it was profitable for nothing." Marred means it was ruined. It was destroyed. It was good for nothing.
That would kind of go without saying. Imagine him putting this clothing upon the loins of his body and just sweating and just wearing it and it's dirty and he's not changing it. He's not washing it, then he takes a long journey and goes and buries it under a rock, then he comes back however long later, many days later comes back and takes it up again. Of course it's just a gross worthless piece of junk.
I mean even if he just buried it, it would be messed up but it would be more messed up because he'd already worn it so he got sweat on it and bacteria and everything else to kind of work on it while it was in the earth. Now, this is kind of a strange thing that he had Jeremiah do, but he's trying to teach him something. He's trying to make a point that would stick with people.
He said in verse 8, "Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 9 Thus saith the LORD, After this manner will I mar the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem. 10 This evil people, which refuse to hear my words, which walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing. 11 For as the girdle cleaveth to the loins of a man, so have I caused to cleave unto me the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah, saith the LORD; that they might be unto me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory: but they would not hear."
Now, he seems to indicate that this girdle because I'm not really a hundred percent sure exactly what article of clothing this is or what exactly this is or where it will be worn, because there are various type of girdles. The word girdle can refer to a few different types of garments. This seems to be something that was cleaving to his loins in the sense that it was directly on his body.
This dirty article of clothing, possibly even a dirty undergarment, that's worn, not washed, then buried under a rock and then dug up later, God says that's what I'm going to do to your pride. He says this people, Judah, Jerusalem, he said they're an evil people. Their wickedness is great, but they had great pride in themselves as a nation and God basically holds up this filthy rag and has Jeremiah show them this and say you know what, this is what your pride is really worth, what you think is so valuable and are so proud of.
It reminds me of in Isaiah. If you would flip over to Isaiah 40, but it kind of reminds me of Isaiah 64:6 when the Bible says that all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags before him. This is definitely a filthy rag by any definition. Look what the Bible says in Isaiah 40 dealing with the pride of a nation like Judah or like Israel or even like unto the United States. Look what the Bible says in Isaiah 40:17, "All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity."
I'll tell you this right now, that dirty rag that Jeremiah buried and dug up, that was worth less than nothing, because I'm sure if you had the choice between having nothing and having that dirty stinky garment that was buried in the earth, you would probably choose nothing. That's less than nothing. It's gross. It's germ-ridden. It's just dirty. It's worthless. You can't use it for anything and God says that all nations before him are as nothing. That would include the United States. That would include Israel. That would include any nation.
God is all in all, he is the all-powerful, the all-knowing. He is the King of kings. He is the Lord of lords and he stands upon the circle of the earth and the inhabitants thereof are like grasshoppers unto him. It says in the same chapter and that nations to him are less than nothing. How much does proud to be an American mean unto the Lord? It means nothing. I'm sorry, it means less than nothing to him, or Israeli pride.
Listen to me, people in Israel today are proud to be a Jew or to be an Israelite, but there's nothing to be proud of when you're part of a nation that has forsaken the Lord. If you're not worshiping the Lord Jesus Christ, if you're not following the Bible even if in the past you were used by God, at this point you're like a dirty piece of clothing that just needs to be discarded. That's what the Bible is teaching here.
You see, this girdle was a piece of clothing that at one time had value unto Jeremiah. It was something that he used, something that he wore. It was something that was necessary for him, but because it was not continually washed, because it was buried in the rock it became good for nothing and of course had to be replaced. I'm sure that he went out and got a different girdle. After that one was destroyed, he had to have another piece of clothing.
This is what God is demonstrating is that even if God is using a nation, and even if that nation is very close to the Lord like the girdle would cleave unto the loins of a man, even that nation had been close to God in the past. If they turned away from the Lord, then they're going to be discarded is what he's teaching here. Now of course this has nothing to do with personal salvation, because the Bible is real clear that when it comes to our personal salvation, we are saved by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ as our savior. That's the only thing that saves us, because it's by grace that we're saved through faith and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.
It's not by living a good life. It's not by following the commandments. It's not by being baptized or joining a church. Those are all good things to do, but none of those have anything to do with getting us into heaven. If we were to try to present our righteousnesses unto the Lord as a ticket into heaven, it would be like presenting a filthy rag because the Bible says all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags.
We're not talking about personal salvation here. Personal salvation is just based upon do you believe in the Lord Jesus? If you believe in Jesus you're saved. Now, if you go out after you believe in Jesus and commit a lot of wicked sins, God's going to punish you. You're not going to lose your salvation because it's eternal life. Jesus said I've given to them eternal life. They shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand, but God will punish you on this earth.
Now, that's what we see in this passage and that's what the book of Jeremiah is about here, physical punishment that is coming to them on this earth. This isn't a heaven or hell issue. Later in this chapter he's going to explain how they're going to be carried away captive. The Babylonians are going to come and destroy their city and take over the place. That's a punishment in this life.
Now, obviously these people that are worshiping other gods are not saved, but I'm sure that there were many people in Judah who were saved of course. Jeremiah was one of them, many others were saved but as a nation they had turned away from the Lord and as a nation they are being discarded. Obviously God's not going to discard the saved individual.
Jeremiah comes out of this thing in the end smelling like roses, although he goes through a lot of trials and tribulations along the way. Here we see a nation that is very similar to the United States of America today. A nation that in the past had been a Christian nation, a nation that in the past had worshiped the Lord and been somewhat righteous but has now turned away from the Lord, forgotten the Lord, is filled with evil and wickedness.
Jump down to verse 27 of this chapter in Jeremiah 13. It says, "I have seen thine adulteries, and thy neighings, the lewdness of thy whoredom, and thine abominations on the hills in the fields. Woe unto thee, O Jerusalem! wilt thou not be made clean? When shall it once be?" Of course we can apply this to the United States tonight, because in the United States today adultery abounds. What does he mean by neighings?
Well, the Bible talks about in the book of Jeremiah how when the people had gotten wealthy and were comfortable, unfortunately as a result of their idleness, the idle mind is the devil's workshop. It said that they were like fed horses in the morning, everyone neighed after his neighbor's wife. The neighings there is another reference to adultery.
Adultery is a wicked sin. Back in the Old Testament days when they were under the Mosaic Law, the punishment for adultery was the death penalty. That's how serious of a crime it was in God's sight, where he said that if they committed adultery, they should surely be put to death. We should never think that adultery is just a minor thing today. Even if our country might portray it as a minor thing, they might call it an affair or slipping up or cheating or these other. No, it's adultery and it's a major wicked sin.
In fact, I would say it is as wicked as murder, which is why under the Mosaic Law it had the same punishment. I mean murder was punished by the death penalty, adultery was punished by the death penalty. Honestly the pain and harm that adultery causes is similar to the pain and harm that is caused by a murder. I mean it's that bad. I mean you'd almost rather be dead than to have your spouse commit adultery. It's that hurtful. It would be that hard to endure, and so we need to not take it lightly.
Today in the United States there's a more relaxed attitude toward adultery. It's seen as not that big of a deal. Neighings and then the lewdness of the whoredom and even more than adultery is the whoredom. The whoredoms is basically referring to people who they're sleeping around before they're married. They're sleeping with one, sleeping with another instead of keeping themselves pure until marriage.
Of course this is considered the norm today. There are many people growing up in America today that have never even heard of the fact that it's a sin to go to bed with someone before you're married, that it's a sin to commit fornication. They're not even familiar with that sin. They think it's just, well as long as you love each other, just as long as you do it safely.
This is what they're teaching down at the public fool system, public school system. Even if the teacher is not teaching that, that's what they're learning from their friends and that's what they're learning from TV. If you were to turn on the TV and watch the typical sitcom, watch the basic movie, you know and I know that they are often going to bed together after the first date, second date, third date they're ending up in bed together.
Even if it doesn't show what goes on, they make it clear what goes on. The lights turn off and the next morning everybody is in the kitchen and there's orange juice, and there's pancakes and everybody is smiling and everybody is happy, but God is not happy about it. Let me tell you something, you young people that are still a virgin you need to remain a virgin until you get married. That's what God expects.
Just because we live in a nation where adultery and whoredoms have become normalized, the Bible says that we should hold forth the word of life in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom we shine as lights in the world.
We need to hold forth the word of life and take a stand for what's right, even if we dwell in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation. We're to be that light that shineth in the darkness. We're to put our good works before men that they may see them and glorify our father which is in heaven, not hide our light under a bushel but let it shine. Make it clear that that's not the lifestyle that we live. We don't live a life of adultery or whoredom or drunkenness. As God's people we're to be different. We're to be separate. We're to live a clean life and not be corrupted by this nation that we live in. That's what God expects of us today in 2016.
You say, "Well, it's really hard." Well, we'd hate for you to do anything hard, now wouldn't we? It was hard for Jesus to die on the cross. He sweat as it were great drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane asking that that cup would pass from him. Let me tell you something, young teenager or young adult, you need to drink that cup of abstinence and you need to wait upon the Lord until you can be married.
Look, I'm all for young people getting married. I think it's wonderful. I'm not one of these people that tries to make them wait until they're thirty or something to get married. You know what, I'm all for young people getting married. I'd encourage them. I got married young. I got married when I was nineteen, best decision I ever made in my life besides being saved. My best friend, Brother Roger Jimenez he got married when he was eighteen years old. Nothing wrong with that. Other people get married later, that's okay. There's nothing wrong with that either, but whenever you get married you need to be pure until you get married. That's what God wants from you.
You say, "Well, I've already messed up. I've already committed fornication." You know what though, now that you're hearing the word of God being preached from a pulpit at this time, you need to push a reset button and say, "Hey God, I'm sorry for what I've done in the past and from here on out I'm going to be pure."
Start over today and say you know what, hey I did wrong but now I'm convicted. I'm hearing God's word preached and I realize the error of my ways and so I'm going to just confess that sin to God. I'm going to forsake that thing and move on because the Bible says, "He that confesseth and forsaketh his sin shall find mercy."
He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. Unto whom much is given, of him shall much be required. God's going to be more lenient with the public school young people who've never heard the Bible, never heard this kind of preaching, never darkened the door of a Baptist church.
If they commit fornication, although it's sin and although they're going to suffer for it, they're not going to suffer for it as much as the young person who has heard the Bible preached on this subject and knows that it's wrong and then goes out and does it anyway. They're going to receive a sorer punishment than the one who didn't know.
The Bible gives an illustration about a servant who just gets out of control when his master is away. He gives an illustration in the New Testament. He tells a parable about a servant whose boss is gone away in a far country and basically the servant is wondering if the boss is ever coming back. Because in those days they didn't have the communication that we have today, where you could pick up the phone or send an email. People would go off into a far country, they might never come back. Who knows if they got held up by bandits or they just died somewhere? You might not get word for many months or even years depending on how far away that person went.
The servants began to just party because the master is gone away and they've got to run the place and they start getting drunk and they start beating their fellow servants. They're partying and they're not doing the work. They're not bringing forth the fruit of the vineyard. They're not going to work. They're just goofing off, getting drunk, partying, abusing the weak, beating them up.
It talks about how when the master comes home he's going to punish those servants. He's going to bring down his wrath upon them, but it said the servant that knew his lord's will and didn't do it is going to be beaten with many stripes when that master comes home. The servant that did not know his lord's will, he'll be beaten with few stripes. He'll still be beaten, I mean he still did wrong. He still sinned, but he didn't really know better. He's going to get beaten with fewer stripes than the guy who knew better.
Listen, if you are sitting in church, if your parents are Christian and they're bringing you to church and they're raising you in a godly home, you ought to know better. God is going to come down harder on you than he would on your average Joe out there. Those that are older, those that are even already married it's important that we keep ourselves faithful to our spouse and not commit adultery.
The Bible says they had whoredoms, abominations in the hills and the fields, woe unto thee, Jerusalem! Wilt thou not be made clean? When shall it once be? When do you want to be clean? God would help them get cleaned up, but right now they were about as clean as that girdle, that dirty undergarment that had been buried in the earth. God is looking at them and saying you know what, that's what you're like. You're good for nothing. You've gotten so wicked that I'm going to discard you.
Of course he does discard them temporarily because for seventy years they go into captivity, into Babylon. Seventy years later, he's going to come back and visit them. We read all about that in the book of Zechariah, where he said I'll choose them again and they became his people once again and so forth. Then of course later on, they rejected Jesus Christ hundreds of years later, then they got permanently discarded at that point and God completely wiped out and destroyed his nation.
Let's keep going through this chapter. It says in verse 10 of chapter 13, "This evil people, which refuse to hear my words, which walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing. 11 For as the girdle cleaveth to the loins of a man, so have I caused to cleave unto me the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah, saith the LORD; that they might be unto me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory: but they would not hear. 12 Therefore thou shalt speak unto them this word; Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Every bottle shall be filled with wine."
Watch this. This is funny. He says, "Every bottle shall be filled with wine," and then God predicts their response, "and they shall say unto thee, Do we not certainly know that every bottle shall be filled with wine?" Now, elsewhere in the book of Jeremiah he talks about how the phony preachers, and this is something that comes up in Isaiah as well, how the phony preachers were the prophets that would prophesy of oil and wine. What does he mean by that?
He's talking about the positive only preachers, because these preachers were the ones that are telling them even though they're living in sin, even though they've forsaken the Lord, during Jeremiah's ministry there were a lot of prophets that were saying, the Babylonians are not going to invade. Jerusalem is not going to be destroyed. I mean God is not mad at you and it's your best life now and all this encouraging preaching that was basically telling them peace, peace and God said there is no peace to the wicked.
These positive only preachers were the prophets of wine and of oil. What he means is that they're preaching prosperity saying you're going to have plenty of wine and oil. The reason why he brings up wine is because wine was expensive back then. Wine was very expensive. Any kind of fruit juice is difficult to make without machines, all right?
Now, today we go to the store and by the way the word wine in the Bible, it can mean any kind of fruit juice. It's not even just grape juice. It can mean any kind of fruit juice. It could be referring to a pomegranate juice, a peach juice. If you study the word wine in the Bible, you'll see it's all types of fruit juice whether it's fermented, unfermented, any fruit beverage is called wine. It's used over two hundred some times in the Bible to describe all manner of beverages.
Now, if we went down to the store right now and bought a bottle of juice of any kind, it wouldn't really be that expensive. I mean pretty much anybody in here, even if you work a pretty low paying job, you can afford to go down and get a bottle of juice. Even if you wanted to get a bottle of booze, you could afford it.
I see plenty of poor people buying bottles of wine. I saw a little ninety-nine cent wine at the CVS Pharmacy. Right by the door they had a bucket of little bottles of wine ninety-nine cents. I saw a bottle of champagne, two dollars, three dollars. I guess they're really cheap stuff or whatever. I've never been a drinker so I don't know. It's all junk as far as I'm concerned.
Anyway, but back then I mean any kind of a fruit beverage is a commodity back then because you've got to sit there and squeeze it all by hand or step on the grapes with human beings. I mean this is a lot of work. Who has ever juiced citrus with that citrus juicer where you smash it? That's a lot of work, isn't it? I mean you get just oranges and oranges. I mean you're doing that thing more than a gambling junkie in Las Vegas. I mean you're pulling that lever up. You do that for hours and you have like eight ounces of juice.
All right, let's split this amongst the eleven people of our family. We all get a little teaspoonful or whatever. Then think about juicing grapes, I mean it's all going to be work, a lot of work, expensive. Difficult to preserve without the refrigeration. It's a lot of work that went into it. When they prophesy of wine and oil when there's a land of milk and honey, these are the finer things in life. You don't need it to survive. It's a luxury item, right?
You could never drink another sip of fruit juice in your life and you'll live because you could just eat fruit. You wouldn't have to drink juice. It's a commodity that has to do with prosperity. Poor people, they're doing Kool-Aid, right? When they say gin and juice, that's not juice. That's Kool-Aid, all right? The point is they've got the Kool-Aid stain over their mouth, which obviously has zero nutritional value.
Sometimes they're so poor they can't put the sugar in the Kool-Aid, but anyway it's just red water they drink. Anyway, the point is the prophets are telling them, so Jeremiah he gets up and he starts preaching and he starts to sound like a prosperity preacher for a minute. God has him get up and preach and say, "Okay, I've got a prophesy here. I've got a word from the Lord. Every bottle is going to be filled with wine." They're like, "Well yeah, that's what we've been saying."
Do you see that in the passage? They're like well of course we already knew that, yeah. Man Jeremiah is finally starting to come around. No more of that doom and gloom, hell fire and damnation kind of preaching. He finally gets it. Every bottle is going to be filled with wine. Here's what he meant by that though. See, he's tricking them because, "They shall say unto thee," verse 12, "Do we not certainly know that every bottle shall be filled with wine?" Tell us something we don't know.
Verse 13, "Then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will fill all the inhabitants of this land, even the kings that sit upon David's throne, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, with drunkenness. 14 And I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together, saith the LORD: I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them."
Then they're thinking like okay, this is the preaching we're used to hearing from Jeremiah. Yeah, every bottle is going to be filled with wine and I'm going to make you drunk with it. He says I'm going to dash you into each other. Now, this reminds me of an expression that we use in my house and we only use it figuratively now, not literal okay? If the kids are being real disobedient and ornery and they need to be punished, my wife will often say, "Hey, you need to go back there and crack some heads."
Obviously it's just figurative now, but you get the idea of just taking two people's heads and just you know, and no that is not a discipline method that we ever would use. You know I just grab a couple of kids' heads and just ... I mean isn't that basically what God is saying here? Because he says I'll dash them one against another. I mean he'll grab one and grab the other and just slam their heads into each other, just crack. I mean that would hurt. I'll destroy them. I will not pity, nor have mercy but destroy them. Now, is God a God of mercy?
Of course, but here's the thing, God's mercy has a limit, folks. He's slow to anger, but eventually he gets there. If you keep pushing him, keep pushing him he is slow to anger. He's of great mercy, but if you just keep pushing it, it runs out. That's why if you're smart, you'll get your life on track before it's too late and try to take advantage of God's mercy and God's grace before you get too deep into sin, and before you mess things up too much.
The Bible says in verse 15, "Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud:" don't be proud, "for the LORD hath spoken. 16 Give glory to the LORD your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness. 17 But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the LORD'S flock is carried away captive."
Now what does he mean there when he says I'll weep in secret places for your pride? Well, the Bible teaches that we should have a time of prayer with the Lord that is totally private, that is not something that we do publicly. Now, praying publicly is biblical. The Bible does say, "I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting."
Our prayers that are done publicly or in church, they should not be long prayers. Those are shorter prayers that we do publicly. If you look at the public prayers of the Bible, they're shorter. Jesus condemns the Pharisees and the Scribes because they loved to make long prayers. Why? Because they want to be seen of men, they want to look really spiritual by doing a big, loud, long public prayer that goes on and on and on.
Whereas Jesus said, "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." The bulk of our praying should be done privately. It should be done secretly. He said pray to thy father in secret, right? Shut the door, do it in secret. Why? Because you don't want to do it to be seen of men.
It's a sign of hypocrites when they put on a hyper spiritual façade in public. These are the people that usually end up being phonies. I'm just warning you. Now, when you first get saved and you first start coming to church, you don't think anybody is a phony. You look around and you see everybody and your heart is right. You love the Lord, so you just assume everybody here loves the Lord. Everybody here is saved, but there are some phonies out there, let me tell you. The longer you're in church, you'll see people turn out to be phonies and turn out to be hypocrites, and turn out to be frauds.
I'll tell you there are certain red flags that you start noticing over and over again. When I see these red flags, I don't condemn people in my mind because I always like to give people the benefit of the doubt. I do make a mental note to kind of just beware of that person a little bit, maybe just keep an eye on that person a little bit. I always give them the benefit of the doubt and I want to treat that person as if they are legit.
In fact, some of the people in our church that have turned out to be frauds and phonies and infiltrators, it really broke my heart when I found that out because I thought you know I really like that person. I thought that was a really nice person. I can't believe that they ended up being a phony, and it really broke my heart because I really try to think the best of everyone and try to give people the benefit of the doubt.
Here is some red flags to watch for in phonies, and this is all straight out of the Bible, very biblical. Number one, the flattering tongue. When you have somebody who is going overboard giving you compliments, that's a red flag. Now, I love compliments. I like to compliment people, and I like to receive compliments as much as the next guy when they're appropriate though. When they're appropriate as in, they're not over the top, they actually are the truth. They're actually meant from the heart and when they're expressed in moderation.
For example, somebody preaches a sermon and somebody says, "Hey, great sermon, enjoyed the sermon." "Hey, God bless you, appreciate it." That's a pretty normal interchange right there, right? Or "Hey, I just wanted to tell you, I really appreciate you playing the piano. You're doing a wonderful job playing the piano. It sounds great." That's an appropriate compliment that would make perfect sense to give that compliment, right?
Or to say to somebody, "Hey, you've been doing a great job cleaning the building. It looks great. You did really well." Or, "Hey, I really like that suit. That's a great suit. Looking sharp." If somebody comes in a new suit, I mean totally normal, right? I think that's appropriate to compliment people, express gratitude, express just admiration or "Wow, you really did a great job at that soul winning door, handling that guy. That was great."
When compliments are over the top is when you compliment people when they didn't even do a good job. They did a bad job and you compliment them. That doesn't make any sense. Save the compliments for something that they did right, okay? Number one, nobody wants to get a compliment when they know that they did poorly or if they know that they're dressed poorly or whatever. Now, if they're dressed nice if you like the outfit, compliment it but let it be from the heart. Let it be real.
People tell me compliments of, "Oh man, I love your preaching. I've really grown a lot." Hey praise the Lord, I've learned a lot. Great. Enjoyed the sermon. Great. This is where it becomes over the top like, "You don't understand. You are just the greatest preacher in the whole world." Or like, "You're like my dad. I mean you're like a father that I never had," and it's like I just met you like thirty seconds ago, or just going overboard of just, "Wow, you are so amazing. I mean I've just never met anybody like you."
Where it's just over the top and you're like whoa, I mean it makes you uncomfortable like what in the world? It's just inappropriate. When people have a flattering tongue or you'll see people just constantly giving compliments and trying to kind of stroke people's ego and kind of lift them up and exalt them, more highly than they ought to be, not just a normal natural complimenting. Flattery is a big one.
Another big one is the hyper spiritual, and this is sort of like what Jesus warned about with the long public prayers. This is the guy where just every word out of his mouth is hallelujah, praise the Lord, amen brother. Like you can't even talk in normal language without just mixing in a whole bunch of just amens and hallelujahs. Who has ever known somebody like that? Well, you kind of know what I'm talking about, where they just mix in this real spiritual lingo.
Or for example, let's say you're at a restaurant and it's like, "Hey, why don't you say a blessing for the food?" When you pray for your food, right? Typically when you pray for the food, it's just a basic giving of thanks to God. It's not a full sermon. You might say something along the lines of, "Dear Lord, thank you so much for this wonderful food that you've given us, Lord. Bless it to our bodies," and then you might throw in something about, "Bless our soul winning as we go out soul winning a little bit later or hey bless our church service tomorrow and Lord let us all get home safely, in Jesus' name, amen." Just a few basic blessings on the food, right?
Not just, "Dear Lord, we thank you so much for your provision today, Lord. We know that you provided for the children of Israel in the wilderness for forty years, Lord, and you led them by that cloudy pillar by day and the flame of fire by night, Lord. We know you fed them with angels' food, Lord, and they ate manna from heaven, but when they got to that promised land, Lord, they had to work for their food.
Lord, we thank you for giving us the strength to work for this food and to earn the money to pay for this food, Lord, that we have before us. Dear God, if there's any impurity in the food Lord, I pray that you would just remove the impurity. Sanctify this food, Lord, by your word and by prayer. Lord, we know that when Elisha and the school of the prophets had that bowl of porridge that had been defiled Lord, you purified that food and they were able to cast in the meal and the death in the pot was removed, Lord. We pray that if there be any death in this pot Lord ..."
I'm just kidding. Hey, I could go on all night. How long have you got? Anyway, the point is, "In the name of Jehovah the most high God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all the prophets from Abel to Zechariah and in the name of your most precious and holy son, the name that is above all names to which name every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the father, amen." Obviously I'm exaggerating, but you've seen people that took that meal prayer and they went too far with it. You say, "Well, you're just unspiritual if you just can't wait to dig in to your Fuddruckers or your Chipotle, you should have five minutes for that prayer."
Yeah, but here's the thing though, that's not really the time and the place for real deep praying. Why? Because prayer publicly is not putting on of a show. It's not what it's intended to be. Prayer is supposed to be from the heart my friend. If you're by yourself in your closet praying, it's going to be from the heart because there's nobody to impress. It's just you and God. When you're in public you don't want to put on a show. You pray and it's real. I guarantee you that I'm not known for big fancy public prayers. When people have asked me, I went to some Republican thing when I was misguided enough to think that there was something we could actually do politically to help our country. I went to this Republican meeting or something.
They said, "We have a pastor here so he's going to open us in prayer." There were about a hundred and twenty people there. I prayed a prayer where I kind of put in a few political jabs in that prayer, but it was still a short prayer. I don't pray these big fancy flowery prayers in church or after a sermon or before meals, because honestly I don't really believe that that's what God wants. I think God wants us to give him glory, publicly honor his name. In all things we should acknowledge him, right? "In all thy ways acknowledge him," it says on the wall behind me, "and he shall direct thy paths."
I do think we should acknowledge God and pray publicly in Jesus' name and give thanks unto God and glorify God. You know what we should not do? Glorify ourselves. We need to make sure that when we pray publicly, we're not like that Pharisee who prayed with himself. Remember it says he prayed thus with himself. Don't pray with yourself, okay? Pray to the father, give him the glory. Make sure it's about him not about the people that are around you. Make sure you're talking to him. You might want to say something for the edification of the people around you in your prayer. That's also biblical.
Especially a parent wants to pray in front of their children and edify their children, and the Bible talks about a prayer being made in church and that that prayer could edify the body. It shouldn't be about impressing the body or showing how spiritual you are or putting on a show, yada, yada, yada. That kind of serious praying should be done on your own. I think we should pray both publicly and in private, but the bulk of our prayer should be in private. That should be the serious prayer.
Then public prayer has its place. It's appropriate, but we shouldn't go overboard and try to impress people. Today we live in a day where preachers come to events and they pray a prayer and they have notes. To me that right there, that's fake. If you can't pray without notes, like your prayer is probably too long number one. I can preach a whole sermon without notes. I don't have any notes tonight, no notes. Half of my sermons are ... Okay, that's not notes people. There's nothing up the sleeve. This is the list of songs we're singing tonight.
The point is I preach about half my sermons with elaborate notes and half of my sermons without notes, but the point is if you can't pray without notes, and you're a pastor, your prayer is probably not coming from the heart, number one because if it's from the heart you can just speak from the heart. You wouldn't have to have the teleprompter all the time, like these TV talking head bozos that have no brain in their head to think for themselves. They just always have to use notes and teleprompter all the time.
Now look, obviously if you're preaching a sermon for sixty minutes, don't be like, "Well, Pastor Anderson said I don't need notes." I don't need notes because I've been preaching for fifteen years, okay? You need notes if you're a beginner. When you've been preaching for fifteen years you won't always need notes either, so I'm not recommending to preach without notes, but I'm recommending to pray without notes. If you're using notes to pray, that just seems like number one it's not really a heartfelt prayer. It's probably too long. Sixty minutes, yeah you need notes.
I hope you're not praying for sixty minutes publicly. I mean I hope you're praying for sixty minutes at home in your closet, but don't pray for sixty minutes publicly. These guys go to these political events and they have notes because it's just all about impressing the crowd and impressing people. It's not really about talking to the Lord. It's not really about getting through to the father. It has nothing to do with that. Anyway, those are just some thoughts on this.
He says I will, look down at your Bible there verse 17, "But if you will not hear it," he's saying if you won't listen to the preaching and get yourself right with God, "my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride." He's saying that he's going to go into his prayer place and he's going to just in a secret place he's going to pray for them and weep for them and be sad for them privately. "mine eyes shall weep sore and run down with tears because the LORD's flock is carried away."
Now, I believe that when we pray unto the Lord, there's a time for tears in our prayer. I mean all of the great men of the Bible wept repeatedly in the Bible. I did a sermon called Jesus Wept and I went through the three instances that the Bible records Jesus weeping. Actually he wept three times that we have recorded. Not only that, David probably wept more than any man in the whole Bible. David is constantly weeping and Jeremiah is weeping. Most of the great men of God in the Bible it records them weeping.
I don't believe that it should be something where like I saw Joel Osteen where he did this interview and he went down like this and you could tell he just like rubbed his eyes and made the tears come. Then he kind of popped up like you know, but before that it's like he wasn't crying at all, but he kind of went down and like hit the right pressure points or whatever and just kind of like put some dirt in his eyes or something. Then he's like you know.
If somebody is praying or preaching publicly and tears come unbidden, there's nothing wrong with getting emotional. I mean there have been times when I've been preaching and I'm kind of chocking back the tears sometimes or you're in a situation where you ... You know what, it shouldn't be something that's putting on a show though. I mean if it happens it happens. The real tears are in the prayer closet, alone with the Lord when we really weep over sin and we weep over the condition of our country or weep over loved ones that need the Lord and so forth.
Tears are great and it's biblical, and here we see an example of it. We just want to make sure that we're not trying to work ourselves up to try to purposely cry in public for effect as a preacher or as our praying or whatever, right? Don't do the Joel Osteen style. Then it says in verse 18, "Say unto the king and to the queen, Humble yourselves, sit down: for your principalities shall come down, even the crown of your glory. 19 The cities of the south shall be shut up, and none shall open them: Judah shall be carried away captive all of it, it shall be wholly carried away captive.
Lift up your eyes, and behold them that come from the north: where is the flock that was given thee, thy beautiful flock? What wilt thou say when he shall punish thee? For thou hast taught them to be captains, and as chief over thee: shall not sorrows take thee, as a woman in travail? And if thou say in thine heart, Wherefore come these things upon me? For the greatness of thine iniquity are thy skirts discovered, and thy heels made bare."
He's saying look, you've done all this sin and that's why bad things are happening. "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil." Now, someone should have showed Michael Jackson this verse before it was too late. You know what I mean? Somebody should have just showed him, "Look Michael if you're black, you're black just stay black. You don't need to start looking like a white woman."
People say he went from a black man, you know Michael Jackson, they say he went from a black man to a white woman. Then that's the ugliest white woman I've ever seen in my life. I mean, I'll go weep in secret places after looking at that face. I mean that guy is ugly, but a life of sin will do that to you. Man alive he could have looked like a normal person if he would have just stayed black and stayed a dude, but he gets a nose job to try to look like a woman.
He gets like a feminine nose put on and he bleaches his skin all white and then people say, oh he had a skin disorder. Baloney, he made himself white. I'm sure he gave himself skin disorders by trying to lighten up his skin and whatever. What a vain fool. There's nothing wrong with being black. Just be black. If you're an Ethiopian, be Ethiopian. By the way I'm not trying to become black, I'm white. I'm fine with being white. I'm happy to be white. If you're black, be happy to be black. Who cares? It doesn't matter. If your hair is blonde or brown or red or grey or falling out or whatever, just be who you are. Just be real.
Just keep it real Michael, but Michael is dead now so it's too late for him. You know what, somebody should have showed him. Maybe if little Michael would have heard this verse in church, he would have just known to just stay black. Anyway it says, hey can the Ethiopian change his skin? Michael Jackson proves no. Or the leopard his spots? No. "Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil."
He's saying basically these people were so messed up in their sin, he's like you guys aren't going to be able to change. Just like a leopard isn't going to be able to change to a zebra. He's not going to be able to change his spots into stripes or a solid color or just like a black person couldn't become white or a white person become black. He's just saying you know. Now look, I've had some people pull this out and say oh this is negative toward black people. It's not negative.
Look, is it negative toward leopards? You know what I mean? He's just saying that certain things have been created a certain way and that's how they are, end of story. He's just kind of rebuking these people and he's saying man you guys are so wicked. You're so over the top. You guys are so used to doing evil, it's like you can't even change. He's rebuking them. He's railing on them, trying to get them to take their situation seriously.
Therefore, because they're not changing their ways, because they're not getting the sin out of their lives, "Therefore will I scatter them as the stubble that passeth away by the wind of the wilderness. 25 This is thy lot, the portion of thy measures from me, saith the LORD; because thou hast forgotten me, and trusted in falsehood. 26 Therefore will I discover thy skirts upon thy face, that thy shame may appear. 27 I have seen thine adulteries, and thy neighings, the lewdness of thy whoredom, and thine abominations on the hills in the fields. Woe unto thee, O Jerusalem! wilt thou not be made clean? when shall it once be?"
Again, at the end of the chapter, at the end of a lot of these chapters God kind of ends with an appeal to them. He's saying look, don't you want to be made clean? He's says to them, hey when do you want to do it? He is kind of reaching out to them. Over and over again, he keeps stretching forth his hand to the people and reaching out to them and giving them an opportunity to get right. Even though those that are accustomed to do evil are not able to do good, through the grace of God and through the power of the Holy Spirit, anyone can change.
If they'll come to the Lord and have a desire to change, God gives us the strength to overcome sin in our lives. It is possible. Again, it's just an appeal unto them to get things right and to be cleaned up. Even those the very negative book, God does constantly give them a chance. Now unfortunately we know the end of the story, they don't get it right and they go into captivity. All right, that doesn't have to be the end of story of our life.
Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer. Father, we thank you so much for this chapter, Lord, and all the things we could learn from it. Lord, please help us not to just continually sin until it's too late to fix it, Lord. Help us to receive mercy, Lord, to confess and forsake our sins and Lord help us to be a good steward of all the wonderful things you've given us, Lord.
You've given us a great church. You've given us a nation where we have freedom. You've given us prosperity, Lord, and you've given us your word in toto. We've got the whole Bible right here Lord, and so help us to be good stewards of this preaching and this information, not to go out and make a fool of ourselves and destroy our lives through whoredoms, adultery or fornication or drunkenness. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.