Beginning of verse number 1, the Bible reads, "Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem and see now and know, and seek in the broad places thereof. If you can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment that seeketh the truth, and I will pardon it." That's a pretty bold statement there. God is basically saying that in the city of Jerusalem at this time, he couldn't even find anybody that was living a righteous life, that was doing what they were supposed to do. He couldn't find anybody that was seeking the truth and executing judgment. He said, "If I can find, one, I'll pardon it."
Now, that's important because it shows us that God is a merciful God. He wants to be merciful. He wants to bless His people, he wants to turn away His wrath. He's not on a hair trigger just to punish and destroy people's lives, but people push Him to the point where he's left with no choice, and that's why he says at the end of this chapter, in verse number 29, "'Shall I not visit for these things,' saith the Lord. 'Shall not My soul be avenged on such a nation as this.'" It's not that God is just so strict or so angry and just has so little mercy. It's that people just keep pushing Him to the point where eventually He has to cloud up and rain and punish.
It says in verse number 2, "And though they say 'The Lord liveth,' surely they swear falsely." Now, what this is referring to is that, in the Bible, a lot of times, people, when they would make a statement and they really wanted to convince someone they're telling the truth, they would just swear to it by saying, "As the Lord liveth..." x, y, and z. That was just their way of saying what we would say, perhaps, in our modern vernacular, "I swear to God." People would say that, right? The Bible actually teaches that we should never swear to anything, by the way. It says, "Above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath, but let your yea be yea and your nay nay, lest ye fall into condemnation," the Bible says in James, chapter 5.
Jesus also said, "Ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, 'Thou shall not forswear thyself but shall perform unto the Lord thine oaths,' but I say unto you, swear not at all, neither by heaven, for it is God's throne, nor by the earth, for it is His footstool. Neither shalt thou swear by thine head, neither by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great king. Neither shall thou swear by thine head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black, but let your communication be yea yea or nay nay. Whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil." That's why when you go to court, they'll often have you swear, or they'll say, "Or you can just give your affirmation." You can do it upon oath or affirmation. You don't have to solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God. You can say, "I affirm to tell the truth. I will tell the truth." The Bible tells us not to swear.
These people are swearing in the name of the Lord, saying, "As the Lord liveth, x, y, and z is true," and in fact, it's a lie that they're telling. They're actually telling lies and then swearing in the name of God that what they're saying is true, which is obviously very wicked, to say, "The Lord liveth," and then they swear falsely, it says in verse number 2. First of all, it's wrong to invoke God in an oath, even if you're telling the truth, let alone if you're lying. That's much worse. Look at verse number 3. "Oh Lord, art not Thine eyes upon the truth? Thou hast stricken them, but they've not grieved. Thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction. They have made their faces harder than a rock. They have refused to return. Therefore, I say, 'Surely these are poor, they're foolish, for they know not the way of the Lord nor the judgment of their God.'"
What it's saying here is that God is trying to correct them, He's trying to discipline them, and they're just hardening themselves against the discipline. It would be like if a parent went to spank their child, and the child just kind of just, "Ugh." They're going to take the punishment, but on the inside, they're still rebelling, there's no submission there. We've all been there when we were kids, where you got a spanking, and you did, "I'm not even going to give them the satisfaction of crying," and you're just going to harden yourself to it. That's what the Bible is saying here, that God is trying to correct them, trying to discipline them, and they're just not receiving correction.
Again, this is just more evidence that God's not just on a hair trigger to pour out His wrath. First, he's trying to correct them, he's trying to discipline them, he's trying to get them to straighten up and fly right, but they're not receiving the correction. The Bible says, "He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy." The Bible warns us that when God is reproving us, when God is chasing us, when God's trying to get our attention about something, if we just keep hardening our neck and refusing to obey, refusing to get right with God, then eventually, God's going to stop reproving us and sudden destruction's going to come, and that without remedy, meaning that there will be irreparable damage done to your life if you just keep pushing God. Eventually, He'll destroy your life. Suddenly you'll be destroyed, and that without remedy.
A lot of people, because God is long-suffering and keeps giving them more chances, they abuse that and just think, "Oh, I can just keep getting away with leading a sinful life," but they don't realize that one day it's going to come down on them like a ton of bricks when they don't even expect it, and that's the warning that's given here.
He says in verse 5, "I'll get me unto the great man," because he's talking about all these poor foolish people, liars and slanderers and so forth. He says, "I'll get me unto the great man and will speak unto them, for they have known the way of the Lord and the judgment of their God, but these have altogether broken the yoke and burst the bonds." Now, this reminds me of Proverbs chapter 1. You know where he says here, "I'll get me unto the great man." You don't have to turn there if you don't want to, but I'm going to flip over to Proverbs chapter 1 and read for you verse 5, the famous verse there: "A wise man will hear and will increase learning, and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels." A smart person listens and learns and gains knowledge, and they also will attain unto wise counsels, meaning they'll seek out wise people to give them advice or to give them doctrine and so forth.
We need to be careful that we don't go through life listening to fools, listening to liars, listening to people who don't know what they're talking about. There are a lot of people in this world who talk about all kinds of subjects that they don't know anything about. They just like to hear themselves talk, and so they do a lot of vain jangling and blabbering on about things that they don't really know about. There are a lot of false teachers when it comes to the Bible, a lot of false prophets out there, a lot of liars, charlatans, or even well-meaning people who just are unlearned and just haven't studied and just don't know the truth. We need to be careful not to listen to fools, not to walk in the counsel of the unGodly, but rather to attain unto wise counsels, to increase learning by getting us unto the great men that have known the way of the Lord. We need to be careful who we are listening to.
I'm not saying, "Don't listen to anybody," because a lot of people, they wrongly react to this by saying, "Well, there's so much false teaching out there, and there's so many liars and bad counselors out there, just don't listen to anybody. Just only read the Bible and don't listen to anybody." Well, that's not really true, because obviously reading the Bible should be our main source of learning, but the Bible does teach that we should attain unto wise counsels. We should listen. God did give us pastors and teachers and preachers for the edification of the saints. It is good to listen to people who know more about certain subjects or to listen to people in regard to Bible doctrine to get to church and listen to Bible preaching, or even to listen to other preaching besides going to church.
There's nothing wrong with downloading some extracurricular preaching and listening to something. The question is, who are you listening to? A lot of people just have no discernment, where they'll just listen to people that aren't even Baptist, and just listen to people where they don't even know where they stand on salvation, and just listen to people that are just random Bible teachers. Yet, where does this guy stand on salvation? Is he even using a King James Bible? Is this guy even a soul-winner? Is this guy even qualified to be a pastor? Is this even a real pastor? Who is this that you're listening to? Is this a tried and proven source of information, or is this just some yahoo that's talking about things that they may or may not even understand?
We just need to be careful who we listen to. "A wise man will hear and will increase learning, and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels because there are many false prophets going out into the world," the Bible says, so we need to always be on our guard and not just listen to whatever and just trust, just turn on the TV and just find some preacher on some Christian channel. What are the chances that he's going to be a real man of God? Pretty much zero if he's on cable TV or something.
The Bible says here in verse 6, "Wherefore a lion out of the forest shall slay them and a wolf of the evening shall spoil them. A leopard shall watch over their cities. Everyone that goeth out then shall be torn in pieces because their transgressions are many and their backslidings are increased. How shall I pardon thee for this? Thy children have forsaken me and sworn by them that are no gods. When I'd fed them to the full, then they committed adultery and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots' houses. They were as fed horses in the morning, everyone neighed after his neighbor's wife." Here he says in verse 6, "How can I pardon you for this? You expect me to forgive you? You expect me to pardon you? You expect me to let this go? How can I let you go when you're not even raising your children to worship the Lord? Your children don't even know the Bible, your children are worshiping other gods, your children are committing fornication, you're committing adultery." He says, "I'm not going to pardon this, I'm not going to put up with this," and sadly, this is the state of America today.
We have even people that are Christians today, where their children aren't even saved. They don't even get the Gospel to their children, their children don't go to church with them, they don't get the same doctrine that their parents have, and today, we see here fornication and adultery running rampant, that's exactly what we see in the United States today, where fornication is the norm and if someone basically abstains from fornication, they are considered the exception. Like, "Oh, wow. Wow! You were actually pure on your wedding day? You were actually a virgin when you got married? Oh, wow!" It's like an extreme case or something, when that should be the norm. That should be the standard, but today, fornication has just become the new normal in America today, which makes us not a Christian nation any longer because that's not part of Christianity. In fact, the New Testament rails on the sin of fornication almost more than any other sin. Over and over again it's brought out in the epistles of Paul. Jesus hammers it. Everybody in the New Testament's hammering on fornication, adultery, and these type of things, but yet today, they've become acceptable, especially fornication.
The Bible says here at the end of verse 7 that they assembled themselves by troops in the harlots' houses. He's basically just painting a picture of people just lining up to just be with these loose women, these harlots, these whores. It's just that plenty of people just lined up, just looking to commit fornication. Of course, he says, "When I had fed them to the full," halfway through verse 7, "They then committed adultery and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots' houses. They were as fed horses in the morning. Everyone neighed after his neighbor's wife." There's a tendency, when people are well-fed, when people are prospering and succeeding, there's a tendency for them to then commit sin. It's sad, because God wants to be good to His people and He wants to bless us and He wants to fill us with good things, but when we're fed to the full, it is often when we become idle and then turn to sin. We turn to adultery and things like that.
kHe said, "They're like fed horses that everyone neighed after his neighbor's wife." Basically, the picture is of horses that are in the barn, they're fed, they don't have to do any work, so what are they doing? They're just looking to be with whatever the partner. You know what? That is an animalistic thing to do. We, as human beings, are supposed to be monogamous creatures. We're supposed to be faithful to one spouse 'til death do us part and not behave ourselves as animals.
There's another scripture that's similar to this. Go to Ezekiel, chapter 16. Ezekiel, chapter number 16. Because he said that "When they were well-fed, when they were fed to the full, that's when they committed adultery, they were as fed horses in the morning, everyone neighed after his neighbor's wife." Look at Ezekiel chapter number 16. The Bible says in verse 46, and this is preached to the same group of people, the children of Judah, "And thine elder sister is Samaria. She and her daughters that dwell at thy left hand, and thy younger sister that dwelleth at thy right hand is Sodom and her daughters," verse 47. "Yet, has thou not walked after their ways nor done after their abominations, but as if that were a very little thing, thou was corrupted more than they in all thy ways. 'As I live,' saith the Lord God, Sodom, my sister, had not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou and thy daughters. Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom: Pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters. Neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy, and they were haughty,'" haughty means prideful, "'And committed abomination before me. Therefore, I took them away as I saw good.'"
We see here that of course, Sodom committed abomination, but the Bible here explains what led up to them committing that abomination. What started the process. It said, "Pride, fullness of bread," remind you of Jeremiah 5? "Fullness of bread, abundance of idleness," which goes along with fullness of bread, because they have plenty of food, they have plenty of riches, so now they can just take their ease and sit back and relax. Abundance of idleness is an abundance of free time where you're doing nothing, so when they had an abundance of free time where they're doing nothing, then that's where they go into sin. They go into sins like fornication, adultery, and, of course, the Sodomites went into even abominations of queerness and filthiness, even worse things.
Now, a lot of complete fools, and this is one that the gaythiests and fagnostics of this world will bring up to show you: "Oh, well, you know, there's nothing wrong with being a homo," and they'll take you to Ezekiel chapter 16 and say, "Well, no, the only problem with Sodom was just that they didn't strengthen the hand of the needy. They just weren't hospitable enough. That was their sin. They ate too much food and weren't hospitable enough." What they're missing is that it says, "And, they committed abomination before me." Did you guys miss that part? The abomination was the sin of man lying with mankind as he lies with a woman. That's why God came and took them away. The reason that pride, fullness of bread, abundance of idleness are brought up is that that's what led up to the abomination being committed. When they had been fed to the full, then they committed adultery, it said in Jeremiah 5, and in Sodom, they had fullness of bread, abundance of idleness, and instead of using their abundance to be generous with the poor or to serve the Lord in some way, instead, they just got prideful, puffed up, and committed abomination before Him, and then He took them away as He saw good.
This is a pattern in the Bible -- go back, if you would, to Jeremiah 5 -- that when things are going good and when we have bread to the full, we tend to take things for granted, get lazy, and go into sin. Therefore, God has to keep us lean. God actually has to keep us running scared and working hard and lean just in order to keep us right with Him, to keep us from getting too prideful.
For example, in Proverbs 30, it says, "Two things have I required of thee: deny me then, not, before I die. Remove far from me vanity and lies," and it says, "Give me neither poverty nor riches. Feed me with food convenient for me, lest I be full and deny thee and say, 'Who is the Lord,' or lest I be poor and steal and take the name of my God in vain." In Proverbs chapter 30 he's saying, "Don't make me poor or rich, God. Just keep me in the middle. I don't want to get too full, because then I'll be prideful and say, "Who is the Lord," and I don't want to be too poor and steal and take the name of my God in vain." He says, "Feed me with food convenient for me."
If you wonder why you never get ahead financially and why you're always kind of struggling and you always feel like you're going to turn that corner, and then you realize that it's kind of a round room that you're in so you never really turn that corner, and you're always struggling and you're always kind of paycheck to paycheck running scared? Part of that is God keeps us that way so that we don't get too puffed up. Honestly, if you look at how many people won the lottery and had millions of dollars and it just destroyed their life, you'd know that the prosperity of fools shall destroy them, the Bible says. God keeps us lean in order to keep us from getting idle, because if you talk to people who fantasize about winning the lottery, people who buy lottery tickets ... Which, by the way, is a foolish thing to do. It's very foolish to buy lottery tickets, because the Bible says, "don't make haste to be rich." The Bible talks about being diligent and working hard, not trying to get rich quickly, not desiring to be rich. The Bible says, "The love of money is the root of all evil." Buying lottery tickets violates all that, in addition to just being a big waste of your money.
When you buy a lottery ticket and you're lusting after this big payoff and you talk to people, they talk about how they wouldn't have to work anymore. Isn't that the thing that they really like? "Oh, I wouldn't have to work anymore." Yeah, but that just shows that you're lazy, and it shows that you are misguided about what your life is about. We're here to work. That's why we're on this earth. If there's no work to do, then our life becomes worthless. Worthless! We're here to do works. The Bible says, "We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Obviously, there's a time for rest and relaxation, there's a time to make merry and enjoy life and to rejoice with our wife or husband or children. There are times for that, but then there's also a lot of work time. That's what God created us to do.
This desire to just be idle, to sit around and do nothing, is why God sometimes has to keep us leaner than we want to be, because otherwise we'd sit around. My mom told me this growing up, all the time: "An idle mind is the Devil's workshop." She would drill that into us. "An idle mind is the Devil's workshop," and that is very true. When we stay busy, it keeps us out of trouble. When we sit around doing nothing, that's when we tend to get into trouble. This well-fed society. You say, "Oh, I just wish that we could be like France, where they have a 35 hour work week, oh, it's so wonderful..." You lazy jerk, 35 hour work week. You know what? You want to have a 35 hour work week because you're lazy. That's what you are.
By the way, if you envy and covet places like France and Sweden and Norway, you are either stupid, wicked, or both. Those are Godless, wicked countries. Horrible places. You say, "Oh, but it's so wonderful! It's a socialist paradise!" You know, I would love to drop you off there and see how well you do over there. "Oh, it's so wonderful over there!" Yeah, it's so wonderful where they force you to put your kids in school whether you want to or not, and then they teach them sex education in elementary school. The worst possible filth. Whenever you hear about the weirdest, "Oh man, they're teaching this crazy stuff to kindergarteners and first graders," it's always like, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, isn't it? Obviously, there are still 7,000 men in these countries that haven't bowed the knee to Ba'al, and there are Godly, righteous people that live over there, but they're a small remnant over there in places like France and Scandinavia.
We, as Americans, foolishly look to them as a role model now, and the young people and the college students now are buying into this rhetoric of, "Oh, if we could just be more like Sweden and just be more like France and Norway..." You unAmerican food. No, I'd rather live in a free country. I'd rather trust in the Lord God and actually work hard and work for six days a week, and actually preach the word of God without it being against the law. Over there, if you preach the way that I preach, you'd probably be thrown in prison in these places for hate speech or whatever. Oh yeah, that's probably just around the corner here anyway. The point is that, over there, the people are idle and they're sinful. That's why in France, the majority of people think that adultery's acceptable. In fact, it's one of the only countries in the world where most people think that adultery is acceptable, that there's nothing wrong with it. I'm not saying that they're doing it, I'm saying they're doing it and they think it's fine. There are some people who do it and know it's wrong. These are people who just say it's acceptable. Sweden and Norway are also known for having some of the loosest morality and some of the most backward values in these places.
I think that God's punishing them right now, from what I hear. I don't really know a whole lot about it, so I don't want to speak too much about it, because I don't really follow the news. I'd rather read this. I don't really follow the news that much, so I'm not really up on it, and there are probably people here in the auditorium that know more about it than I do. I will say this, I've heard a lot about a lot of raping and pillaging going on over in Scandinavia. Who knows what I'm talking about? You hear about people coming in to Germany and France and Sweden and Norway, and people are getting beat up and assaulted and raped, and there's pillaging going on. You know what? That's the judgment of God on a wicked nation, when those type of things happen. You can't just spit in the face of God, blaspheme God, corrupt your youth, teach perversion, and then not expect God to send His wrath and judgment.
Obviously, the people who are committing these crimes are very wicked people, but the reason that God is allowing it to happen is because He removes His hand of protection when you spit in his face. If you don't want to retain God in your knowledge, well then, God'll say, "All right, then you can fend for yourself against the heathen hordes." You can fend for yourself against these emigrating people that commit all these crimes and everything like that.
Again, I'm not an expert on what's going on over there, but I've heard a lot of people who live there and can speak from first-hand experience, that they're experiencing some serious problems. I'm sure it's only going to get worse. As they get more unGodly, they're going to get punished more, they're going to suffer more. If we, in America, foolishly go down that same path, God said He will judge a nation such as this at the end of Jeremiah, chapter 5. He will punish. You can't just have a society filled with adultery, everyone's like a horse, neighing after their neighbor's wife, just completely animalistic, without being punished. The Bible say that you will be punished. "'Shall not I visit for these things?'" verse 9, "saith the Lord, 'and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?'" God forbid that you would ever be found in such a nation as that, but that's where we're headed, folks, and that's why we need hard preaching. It's the answer. That's what they don't have in Sweden. That's what they don't have in Norway. That's what they don't have in France. That's what they don't have in the United Kingdom.
When you talk to people from the United Kingdom, they say, "Oh, we don't have this kind of preaching." We've had different reporters and things from the UK, and they wanted to interview us and talk to us, and in fact, we're going on the Soul-Winning Marathon in Atlanta, and this reporter from the BBC is coming, and covering the Atlanta Soul-Winning Marathon that we're doing, because she said, "We just don't have preachers like you in England, so we're just showing our people in England, 'This is a preacher from the US,'" and I'm thinking to myself, "Yeah, I pretty much represent what preachers in the US are like. You know." This is another example of everything on TV not being real. People in the UK are going to think that American churches are like our church, like this is just your typical evangelical Christian church. Again, TV is never real.
She said, she said, "The pastors over here are all just..." and this is just coming from, not even a church member. This is just coming from a journalist. She doesn't have a dog in this fight. I don't think that she's a really dyed-in-the-wool member of any religion. She's just sort of a worldly reporter. Here's what she said. She said, "We want to interview you and talk to some of your church members because we just don't have anything like this in the UK. The pastors over here are these really soft and weak kind of guys, and they never would raise their voice or speak out about things." I said, "Yeah, that's why your country's in the condition that it's in, and that's why France is in the condition that it's in, and Sweden and Norway and Denmark and the rest of it." See, you need men of God to "Rise up and cry aloud and spare not, and show My people their transgressions and the house of Israel their sins."
The Bible commands us to stand in the gap, make up the hedge, preach hard on sin, rebuke iniquity, because that's our job in society. We have a role to play in society as preachers. God uses men who preach to be a balance against the Devil's push for more sin, more wickedness, more unGodliness. Somebody has to push back and say, "No!" The problem is, the preachers aren't fulfilling that role today. Look at the last verse in this chapter. What's the chapter about? We're in Jeremiah 5 tonight. What's it about? It's about a nation that's committing adultery, they're not teaching their kids the same doctrine, the same religion that they had. He says in verse 30, "A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land." Now, "wonderful" here doesn't mean like, "Oh, it's so great." If something is a wonder, it means it's amazing. It's something that people would wonder at or be amazed at, an amazing thing.
He's saying it's an amazing thing, and it's a horrible thing. "A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land. The prophets prophesy falsely." The preachers are not preaching right. Why is it that the people are committing adultery, why are the children growing up and going after other gods, why are people lying and swearing falsely and cheating each other in business dealings and saying, "Oh, as the Lord liveth," and it's a total lie? Why? Because the prophets are prophesying falsely, that's why, and the priests bear rule by their means. Watch this. "And my people love to have it so," and what will you do in the end thereof.
What the Bible is showing here is that often, God's people will flock to a lying preacher. They'll flock to the feel-good preacher. They'll forsake the Jeremiahs of this world and flock to the guy who's not standing in the gap, that's not making up the hedge, that's not crying aloud against sin, and they'll go to the one where they're comfortable, is what they'll do. He said, "My people love to have it so." They love to be lied to. Later on in the same book, they say to the prophets, "Prophesy unto us smooth things." Preach lies to us.
Now, if you would go back in Jeremiah 5 here to verse 10, it says, "Go ye up upon her walls and destroy, but make not a full end. Take away her battlements, for they are not the Lord's." Now, what are the battlements here? What do the walls represent? They represent the protection around the city. It's the defenses, the physical defenses. Basically what they're saying here about the battlements, what the Lord is saying is, they're not the Lord's. Basically, God's saying, "I'm not going to protect you. These walls, these battlements, they're not mine. It's not me that has these things in place to protect you. Therefore, they're going to fall. Therefore, they're going to come crashing down," because except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it, and except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh, but in vain. That means that we as a nation, no matter how good our defenses are and how strong our military is, what kind of technology we have, if God decides that we're going to be judged and punished, it's going to happen. No matter how strong we are, no matter how tough we are, God can bring down anyone He wants at any time He wants. He's warning us that we shouldn't lean on these worldly protections and just think that we can do whatever we want.
You say, "Well, it's really important to me politically that we're for a strong national defense," but you know what the strongest national defense is? Actually having God on your side. That's the strongest thing. That's the best thing you could do for your home security, for your personal security, for your security as a nation, our security as a church, just have God on your side. Because God can protect you, God can be a wall about you. The Bible says, "The name of the Lord is a strong tower. The righteous runneth into it and is safe." God can protect you. "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I'll fear no evil, for thou art with me." If God's not with you, you can't really say that as a nation.
Let's keep reading. It says in verse number 12, "They have belied the Lord and said, 'It is not he. Neither shall evil come upon us, neither shall we see sword nor famine.'" See, it's a very positive message, but it's just a lie, that's the problem. I mean, it sounds encouraging, right? This would be something that someone would write a book now. Basically one of these popular TV preachers would write a book called "Evil Shall Not Come Upon Us," big, smiling on the cover, perfect teeth. It's all Photoshopped. "Evil Shall Not Come Upon Us." "Your Best Life Now." "God's Not Mad at You." They're denying the Lord here, because the Lord said, "No, I will punish that. I will punish those sins, and the prophets shall become wind." Basically, it's just a bunch of hot air, what they're saying, and the word is not in them. "'Thus shall be done of them,' wherefore saith the Lord God of hosts, 'because you speak this word. Behold, I will make My words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.'" He's telling Jeremiah as a preacher, "Your word is going to be like fire when you preach, and the people are going to be like wood." He's just torching them.
You say, "Well, this sounds like a destructive guy," but here's the thing. If you remember Jeremiah chapter 1, when he's commissioned to preach, he's told that he's going to root up and throw down and destroy and build and plant. He's told that he's going to do some destruction. You see, when people are living in wicked sin and disregarding the Word of God and have no fear of the Lord, they don't need to be built up and encouraged. They actually need to be rebuked. They actually need to be taken down a notch. Sometimes, people need a swift kick in the pants, not a pat on the back. Today, we're taught that all we should ever do with God's word is just encourage people. Just pat people on the back, just build people up. What about when they're just spitting in God's face? What about when they are even a saved Christian and they're committing fornication or committing adultery? Are we supposed to just encourage them and say, "Hey, you know what? God loves you. Keep living your best life now."
Here's the thing. God does love them, but is that really what they need to hear while they're living in sin, or do they maybe need to hear, "Hey, you know what? God's going to destroy you!" Think about it. "Wow, you're destroying your life right now. You know God's only going to put up with you living in fornication for so long, because you're a saved child of God whom the Lord loveth. He chasteneth that scourge of every son and we receive it, but he that, being often reproved, hardeneth his neck shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy, watch out. Beware." That's what people often need to hear, and sometimes we need a fiery preacher to burn the wood, hay, and stubble out of our lives so that we can be left with some gold, silver, and precious stones. Some people can't take that heat, so they get out of the kitchen instead of sticking around and being purged of some of this junk. That's what should be happening.
Let's keep reading. The Bible says in verse 15, "'Lo, I will bring a nation upon you from far,'" Sweden, I mean, "'Oh house of Israel,' saith the Lord. 'It is a mighty nation, it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language thou knowest not, neither understandest what they say.'" He's saying, they're coming from a far country to the point where the language is unintelligible. Often, nearby countries, they kind of speak similar languages, and you can kind of figure out what they're saying, or at least there would be interpreters who would know the languages. He's saying, "No, I'm bringing people from a far country, and it's an ancient nation." The nation that he's referring to is the Chaldeans, okay? The Chaldeans are ruling the Babylonian Empire at this time, and if you remember, the Chaldeans go all the way back to the days of Abraham, because Abraham grew up, as a kid, in Ur of the Chaldees. That same group, the Chaldeans, are the ones who are ruling from Babylon right now. The Babylonians are coming, but they're actually the Chaldeans. It's that same ancient culture from the Tigris and Euphrates River, there.
Then, the Bible says that He's going to bring them up, and it says in verse 16, "Their quiver is an open sepulcher. They're all mighty men, and they shall eat up thy harvest and thy bread which thy sons and thy daughters should eat. They shall eat up thy flocks and thine herds, they shall eat up thy vines and thy fig trees. They shall impoverish thy fenced cities wherein thou trustest with the sword. Nevertheless, in those days,' saith the Lord, 'I will not make a full end with you.'" He doesn't destroy the nation completely, and that's why 70 years later, they're able to rebuild and continue as a nation. Of course, the nation was completely wiped out in 135 AD after they rejected the Lord Jesus Christ, but at this time, He did not make a full end with the nation. There were still some that remained, and of course, ultimately would come back.
The Bible says in verse 19, "And it shall come to pass when ye shall say, 'Wherefore doeth the Lord our God all these things unto us?'" "Why is God doing this to us?" [They had 00:37:51] to shout that answer them, "Like as you forsaken me and served strange gods in your land, so shall ye serve strangers in a land that is not yours." He's saying, "You like to serve strangers? Okay. You want to serve a false God, well, I'll stick you in a land where you can serve a false God, where you can be a slave of a strange people instead of serving the God that you grew up with."
He says in verse 20, "Declare this in the house of Jacob and publish it in Judah, saying, 'Hear now this, oh foolish people!'" Now, this is what Jeremiah's being told to preach. This is a hard message to preach. It's not going to make him popular, it's going to be hard for him to say these things, but this is what he's told to preach. "Hear now this, oh foolish people, and without understanding, which have eyes that see not, which have ears that hear not. 'Fear ye not me?' saith the Lord, 'Will you not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by perpetual decree that it cannot pass?'" God's saying, "Don't you fear me? Aren't you afraid of me?" That's what God is saying.
A lot of people, when you talk about the fear of God, here's what they'll say. "Well, the fear of God's not really being afraid or scared, it's just respect." Have you heard that, where they try to downplay it, like, "It's just respect. When He says 'fear,' it's just respect." Okay, then when did he say 'tremble?' You know what trembling means, right? Trembling is when you're so scared that you start shaking. You know, when you get really scared and you start shaking? The Bible talks about [Belshazzar 00:39:19], where his knees smote one another. His knees were hitting each other. He was so scared. He was like a Scooby Doo cartoon or something. "Eee," he's so scared.
Basically, He's saying, "Don't you fear me?" He's saying, "Will you not tremble," proving that fear means fear. We're not talking about just, "Well, just kind of a respect." No, this is a knee-knocking, trembling fear that we're talking about.
"And though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail, though they roar. Yet can they not pass over," verse 23, "but this people have a revolting and a rebellious heart. They are revolted and gone. Neither say they in their heart, 'Let us now fear the Lord our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in His season. He reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest.' Your iniquities have turned away these things." All the good things that God wanted to give them. He wanted to bless them with a good harvest and prosperity. He said, "No, I couldn't make you prosperous. I couldn't give you good things. Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you. For among my people are found wicked men. They lay wait, as he that setteth snares. They set a trap, they catch men. As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit. Therefore, they are become great and waxen rich."
What the Bible is saying here is that God has all these good things that He wants to give us, but sin is what withholds good from us. God can't be good to us when we're sinning, because then it will just get worse. God wants to give us good things.
Then, the Bible is saying here basically that the people who are prospering, the people who are waxing rich and waxing fat, are the people who are dishonest, thieves, and so forth. They're waxing fat. As they're waxing fat, verse 28, they shine. "Yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked. They judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper." Talking about basically corrupt government officials, judges, people in politics. They're basically ripping everybody off, making a bunch of money for themselves, and just prospering at the expense of everyone else. "'The right of the needy, do they not judge. Shall I not visit for these things?' Saith the Lord. 'Shall not My soul be avenged on such a nation as this.'"
By the way, the right of the needy there, that's not the right to a cell phone or the right to birth control paid for by the government or the right to free housing or the right to free food. When it says, "Turning aside the right of the needy," it's talking about basically something that the needy deserve or have a right to or belongs to them, and it's basically being taken away from them. Then, they go to court to try to get justice, and they can't get any justice. They don't get any justice. You know. That's how it is, nowadays, with a lot of the courts and things. You try to take people to court and try to just get a fair shake, and it doesn't always happen that way because there's so much corruption in the justice system. That's what he's referring to here.
If you look at the people who are running our country today, the people in Congress, the vast majority of them are millionaires. They're literally millionaires. Have you ever wondered, how are these people all millionaires, because they don't really make that much money. If you look at the salaries for a Congressman, the salary for a senator, it's not a huge salary. What's the salary for the President of the United States? Isn't it about $300,000 a year? About 3? Yeah. It seems like when I was a kid, it was like, $200,000 or $250,000. I think it's like, $300,000, but obviously, of course, everything's paid for. He's got a house to live in, he's got the jets and everything. He gets paid $300,000 a year, but the salaries go down from there. When you get into the Congress and the Senate, it's a lot less than that, what they get paid. I don't have the numbers in front of me. Yet, you guys are millionaires. You wonder, like, how do you become a millionaire?
Here's the thing. I'm sure they're getting paid well. Let's say that they're legitimately making $125,000 a year, $150,000 a year, whatever, that they're actually making through their job or getting paid, whatever they get paid. Wouldn't you think that they would just be satisfied with that and just say, "Okay, I've got a good income. Now I'm just really just going to buckle down and do my job, and I'm going to try to-"
Can I say something?
Once you're elected, and then if you lose the election, you still get your salary for life.
Even after they're voted out of office, they're still basically getting paid?
Yeah. Well, that doesn't surprise me because the government prints their own money.
They take care of each other and stuff, you know, because it's going to be them next that gets voted out. "All in favor, say aye," you know.
The thing about that is that, these people, they get paid enough money for what they're doing, and you say, "Well, you know, you want them to be paid well because then they're not corruptible, because then they have what they need, they don't have to try to get it through dishonest means." Okay, great. They're paid well, great. But then why are they multimillionaires though? The reason why they're multimillionaires is through fraud. How else can you become a multimillionaire while you're supposed to be doing one job? Look, if somebody's paying you real good money to do a job, you should do it with all your heart, right? I mean, how many ... oh, are you going to be moonlighting when you're getting paid real well to do that job on salary? They should be at ... Maybe they could actually spend that time that they're out becoming a multimillionaire, maybe they could spend that time reading the bills that they pass.
Like, who was the only guy that ever read the bill, was Ron Paul, the only one who actually read anything before he voted yes on it. He's known as Dr. No because he voted no so many times. These other people vote yes on everything, and they're going to pass the bill to see what's in it type of a mentality.
The reason why, if you actually do some research on how these people are multimillionaires, the way that they're multimillionaires is through what's called insider trading, because anybody in the United States who does insider trading goes to prison, unless you're a member of Congress.
I mean, how does that work? Basically, Martha Stewart does insider trading. She goes to the [hoosegow 00:46:17] for a few years, right? Remember that? You and I do insider trading, we're going to federal prison. Major crime. Here's what insider trading is. You know inside information about an announcement the company's going to make tomorrow or some change in the law, and you use that information to buy or sell stocks because you know which way it's going to go, and no one else knows. That's called insider trading.
Here's the thing. The members of the Congress and Senate, they have all kinds of information like that, because they get together and they say, "Okay, we're in a committee, we're going to pass this bill that opens up this industry in this state. It's going to just completely have hundreds of millions of dollars go to this ... whatever," and then they know, "Oh, let's buy our stock in that." Or, "Oh, we're going to pass all these regulations that's going to really harm this industry. Let's pull out of that." I'm using real simple examples. I'm kind of oversimplifying, just to make sure everybody understands what I'm saying.
They know what's up before it happens. They know that a road's going to be built through a certain area, because they're passing a bill, "Hey, let's build a road from this city to that city," so then they go in and they buy up all that land because they know that in advance, and then they just make money hand over fist. If it's dishonest for Martha Stewart, why isn't it dishonest for them to do the same thing?
Basically, they just voted themselves a right to cheat and steal and rip other people off, because when one person makes a whole bunch of money in the stock market, you know what that means? Other people are losing a whole bunch of money. When one person goes in and they know the information and they buy the land real cheap, right? The guy who owned that land, he should have been the one to benefit from that road being built. But oh, no, no, no, the senators in Congress, they're going to benefit, because they can go in and buy it real cheap without telling the guy, "Oh, by the way, this land's about to be worth a whole bunch of money."
These are the type of fat cats, they're waxing fat, verse 28. They shine. They just have so much money. They don't care about the poor. These politicians, they pretend like they care about the poor, especially the liberals, right? All of them do. They act like, "Oh, we care so much about the poor, we just love the poor, and we just want to make their lives better." They really just want to keep the people poor and relying on the government, because if they can keep people relying on the government, then they'll vote for bigger government and keep giving the government more power.
This is a description of our nation today, and if you can read the book of Jeremiah and not see the similarities with America, your eyes are closed, my friend, because the Bible says in here, there's adultery, there's a lot of fraud, the rulers, the judges, the leaders, they're getting real fat. It's not talking about that they're getting physically fat, I mean, although that could be part of it, just because back then, not everybody had access to rich foods. These people could be literally waxing fat in the sense that they have enough money to go out and just purchase whatever, they don't do any physical work. Basically, what it's saying here is that it's government corruption, adultery. Preachers won't preach right. Fornication is just ... People are just lining up by troops at the harlots' houses.
What is he saying here? He's basically describing a nation that used to be a Godly nation that's gone down the tubes. We need to identify the problem today and look around our country and say, "Hey, we're going down that same road that Sodom went down, the same road that Judah went down, and we need to take heed, and we need to turn unto the Lord our God, and we need to make sure that we teach our children the Bible so that we can raise up a Godly generation that would stand against this stuff." At least, even if we can't turn this country around, because it's kind of a big ship to turn around because it's 340 million people, but at least if we could just at least slow down the decay so that we could at least live quiet and peaceable lives and at least win more souls to Christ before the thing is just completely gone off the cliff.
This book of Jeremiah is very relevant today. I wish that the relevant churches would start preaching out of this, because this is what we're dealing with today. I mean, Jeremiah 5 is more relevant than today's newspaper.
Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer. Father, we thank You so much for Your word, Lord, and we thank you that even thousands of years after it's written, Lord, it paints a picture of what we're dealing with today, Lord. We pray that You would just please just bless us as Your people, Lord. I know you can't bless our nation, because our nation is too wicked, but I pray that You would bless us individually, that you'd bless our church, Lord, and help us to raise up children that would stand up and shine the light of the Gospel in the coming generation, Lord. Please help no one in this audience tonight, Lord, to be going to the harlots' houses, to be neighing after their neighbor's wife, Lord. Please put that wickedness far away from us, Lord, and help us to speak the truth and be honest and work hard, and not to rip people off and wax fat at the expense of others, Lord, and make ourselves rich in order to basically rip others off, Lord, and keep them poor. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.