Jeremiah (Chapters 17-22)
OBSERVE: In our Sunday readings, we came upon a very profound statement that can’t be overlooked. The prophet Jeremiah wrote “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
Throughout our readings today, we see this truth played out in the narrative. At first, God attempts to show Israel their wickedness through the examples of the potter and the flask. The response to these examples goes on to confirm their wickedness as they then persecute Jeremiah. God then does the unthinkable and confirms that not only will Judah be attacked but that he would fight for their attackers. All of this suffering would be a sign to the nations that they had gone astray and had turned their backs on their God with their wicked hearts.
INTERPRET: The Old Testament doesn’t exactly gloss over the reality of sin in the human heart. Genesis 6:5 told us that “The Lord observed the extent of the human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil.” As centuries passed, and even after humanity “started over” after the Flood, not much seemed to change. King David put this truth into poetry in Psalm 14: 2-3 “The Lord looks down from heaven on the entire human race; he looks to see if anyone is truly wise, if anyone seeks God. But no, all have turned away; all have become corrupt. No one does good, not a single one!” We see that this problem of the wicked heart was not just an issue with Judah at the time of Jeremiah, but rather it was a problem that affected the entire human race throughout all ages. It was a problem that absolutely needed an answer; a total cure.
APPLICATION: Christ’s coming and Christ’s dying provided the only hope for sinners who are totally evil, corrupt, and desperately wicked – which is everyone ever born. The Apostle Paul explained it this way “When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners………And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation.” (Romans 5: 6, 9)
We are not basically good people who occasionally do bad things; we are thoroughly bad people who occasionally do good things. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus came to save bad people by taking their punishment and giving them his own personal goodness.
REFLECTION: Do you recognize your absolute need for the Good News?
PRAYER: Jesus; I am a sinner through and through and the only answer is you. I believe that you are the only cure for my wicked heart and that I need your goodness. AMEN.
SONG: The Cure (By Unspoken)
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In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.