Main idea: continued sin and rebellion against God bring loneliness and disaster, but He is always available for those who seek Him. Let’s see what God does.
I. He remembers (what has come upon us) – Verse 1
the first thing we see in the text is a plea to the lord to remember what is come upon Jerusalem
Jeremiah has a birds-eye view of everything that has happened! And it is happening because of sin. He sees a nation that was once considered a great nation filled with people and consumerism to now being a tributary nation that bows in subordination to other nations. They find themselves isolated, desolated, and miserable. When Jeremiah looked at the temple and the city of Jerusalem – once the center of activity and now empty, separate, solitary and alone — his heart is filled with compassion and he weeps!
Does this sound familiar? Let’s look at our own nation. The United States of America — a nation that was once revered and looked upon with pride and great strength — a place where everyone and anyone who was oppressed and bound by the unjust laws of man, were eager and determined to place their feet on this soil! A land that had opportunities for people to fulfill their dreams of prosperity and liberty! Like Jerusalem, we are crying out to God to remember what is come upon us. Why cry out to God for help in the midst of tragedy? Because only God can do it!
II. He considers and beholds our reproach — Verse 1
“reproach” is defined as to find fault with, blame or discredit to, disgrace, scorn or contempt
The Lord is angry. He, like a good parent, has given His children numerous chances to do the right thing, to obey His commandments and follow His laws. But there comes a point in that child’s life, if they have loving parents who want to see them do good and succeed in life, when the parent has to enforce some type of punishment in order to correct inappropriate behavior. The more severe the disobedience, the more severe the punishment.
Jeremiah witnesses the wrath of God as He has swallowed up, torn down, brought down in dishonor, cut off every horn, and withdrawn His right hand and purposed to destroy the wall. God refused to protect His people. Their sin brought on this suffering.
III. He forever reigns (remains) – Verse 19
In the midst of the devastation and travesties that are surrounding Jerusalem, there is a remnant of people who recognize that no matter what they see around them, there is a God who still reigns and will remain God forever!
Only God can restore the land to overflow with health, wealth and prosperity! Only God can take a remanent people who love Him, who are willing to obey Him, who will follow Hm, and will turn to Him in prayer and use them to rebuild, to refocus and to reclaim their place in the kingdom! Only God can mend the breach! Only God can restore the years you’ve sown in tears! Only God can return everything the enemy has stolen! Only God can restore your joy when you’ve experienced sorrow! Only God can bring peace in the midst of confusion! Only God can renew our faith when it has wavered under your present circumstance! Only God can reclaim your soul and make you whole again!
When entrenched wickedness leads to agony and continued sin by God’s people brings His wrath, know that only a conviction that God is with us can lead to peace and serenity in the midst of pain.
John 4:10 (NLT) – “Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”
In this text, Jesus left Judea, and departed again into Galilee because He must needs go through Samaria. Why did Jesus need to through Samaria? Because there was a divine hookup that was predetermined to happen at Joseph’s Well. A Samaritan woman needed to have an encounter with the Messiah. You see, the necessity to go through Samaria was not for Jesus, but it was specifically for this woman’s liberation! Let’s look at the text and see what takes place.
SHE avoids the mess (v.6-7)
We all know HERstory! She was the talk of the town! Had been married five times and was living with a man who was not her husband! You could find the 411 on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Snapchat and Clubhouse. She was ashamed, embarrassed, and uncomfortable being around all the other “so-called” respectable women. She did not feel worthy or valuable enough to even be in their presence at a public place. So, she waited until she knew they all had come and gone before she went to draw her own water. To avoid the looks, the murmuring and whispers, she decided it was best to simply wait before she came to get what she needed. But on this particular day, it was meant for her to be there alone in order to receive something she never had before and did not even know she needed it! What are you in need of today? Oh, but if only you knew…
SHE ANSWERS THE MAN (V.9)
She was not only a Samaritan, but she was a woman! Leave it to the Radical Redeemer to break through barriers and opposition to reach the unreached, teach the untaught and save the unsought! Jesus is the one who opens and concludes their conversation! We already know the Samaritan woman would never have initiated a conversation with a Jewish male. But Jesus was on an assignment for his Father! Notice if you will that there are several things that take place in the conversation that cause her confusion. First, a Jewish man speaks to her. Second, she realizes that as He asks her for water, He himself has nothing to draw from. Fourth, not only does He ask her for water, but He tells her that He has living water to offer her! Jesus is speaking of the new life that He will give; a life connected with the activity of the Holy Spirit. What is your response to Jesus’ offer? If only you knew …
SHE acknowledges the messiah (v.19)
God’s Word has an undeniable way of making you look at yourself and see where you have come from, where you are now, and where you need to be in the future! The woman is engaged in a one-on-one with the Master! A man who knows everything about her past, present and future! A man who knows things that she has never ever uttered to anyone! Things that not even one of her five husbands was privy to! Yet He still needed to talk with her. Notice how Jesus met her at her point of need! He knew all about her marital status and confronted her about it. Once she was confronted and the truth was laid out before her, she was convicted, but was afforded an opportunity to confess her fault to the one man who would never hold it against her. The one man who would love her to death. The one man who could look beyond all her faults and see her need! Then she was able to see clearly and recognize that she was not just talking to a mere Jewish man, but she was talking to the Messiah, the one man who had the power to save her from her sins!
If only you knew the Messiah Jesus who is faithful and just to forgive you of your sins and cleanse you of all your unrighteousness! If only you knew the Master who can save from the gutter most to the uttermost! If only you knew that He loves you so much despite everything you have ever done in your life! He does not care about where you have been. He is only concerned about where you are going! It makes Him no difference who you were, because His focus now is on who you will become in Him! If only you knew who He was, you would not hesitate to drink from the living water that only Jesus can offer you and you will never thirst again! If only you knew!
Galatians 5:13 – “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”
In Chapter 5 of the book of Galatians, Paul explains to the Galatian Christians: through grace, Christ has set you free. He tells them to stand firm and do not fall back into the slavery of the law. Who in their right mind would deliberately return to the place, person or practice that got them bound up in the first place?
If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away and behold all things become new! That simply means that once you are in Christ and Christ is in you, all of the things that once had you wrapped up, tied up and tangled up were broken off of your life!
God needs you to be free of every opposition, every obstacle and every oppressor that has control of your mind, your words and your deeds. There is a spiritual battle engaged with your spirit and your flesh. Whoever you feed the most, will be the one who will have power and control over you.
Jesus wants us to have more of His freedom so we can experience more of His favor. Understand that with freedom comes Responsibility, Accountability and Sustainability.
FREEDOM FROM THE FLESH! – RESPONSIBILITY
You have a responsibility as a believer to walk in the Spirit. In other words, you have a responsibility to live by the Spirit. That means that everything you do, everything that you say and everything that you think should be prompted by the Holy Spirit and not your sinful self. When you find yourself indulging in sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, that’s SIN. When you find yourself engaged in idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, and factions, that’s SIN. When you find yourself acting out because of envy, drunkenness, jealousy and the like, that’s SIN! Sin is anything that is contrary to the will of God!
FREEDOM TO THE FELLOWSHIP! – ACCOUNTABILITY
What exactly are you freed to do? You enter into the sanctuary to worship but you should exit to serve. Once you are in Christ you understand that you were freed from yourself to help someone else! You are accountable to one another in the body of Christ! When you have experienced the unmerited grace of God, it makes you want to be more holy, not more sinful. You will desire to be more like Jesus. Which means you will be concerned about your sister and your brother. You will no longer be self-centered, self-absorbed, selfish, self-indulgent, self-interested, self-seeking, self-concerned, self-loving, and self-serving.
FREEDOM FOR THE FUTURE! – SUSTAINABILITY
It is your responsibility to model your freedom for the generations that follow. They should see how you live in freedom and because of that, they too will know how to live in the freedom that they have been called to. Every wise parent prepares something to leave for their offspring. Your legacy should include the Gospel of Jesus Christ, faith that has been walked out in front of them, and an urgency to help others who are in need. Once you are free, you can live in the purpose and divine destiny that God has created for you. You are free to be all that God has called you to be. You are free to do all that God has called you to do. You are free to say all that God has given you to say! People of God, you are Called to Freedom!
Proverbs 16:9 (NLT) – “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.”
The entire book of Proverbs is a book filled with God’s wisdom for your life. “Wisdom” is defined as the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; discernment, or insight. However, this section in scripture is framed by a comparison of the plans of people’s hearts and the direction of Yahweh. Yahweh establishes the plans of those who seek him and follow him; he causes their enemies to be at peace with them. Yahweh looks at the heart of humankind and punishes the arrogant. Yahweh has created everything for a purpose. I think I need to say that again! Yahweh has created everything for a purpose.
Notice how you often plan things for your life, but God has the ultimate last say. Wouldn’t it be so much better if you would just surrender – lock, stock and barrel — turn it over to him from jump street and save yourself the heartache, the headache and the heartbreak of doing it your way? Just let him have total control. Yahweh has created everything for a purpose. If you want to be blessed, you’ve got to do it God’s way!
HAVE GOD’S HEART – In order to truly be blessed, you must have the heart of God. Understand that your heart must long for the things of God! As you mature in Christ, it becomes so much easier for you to put your selfish ambitions and desires aside in exchange for what God wants. Your life goal should be “your will oh Lord not mine!” No matter what you desire and plan in life, if it does not align with what God wants for your life, it will never materialize!
WALK IN GOD’S WAY – “But the Lord determines our steps.” The precepts and examples of how God wants you to live have already been laid out for you. Jesus Christ modeled the lifestyle that you are to live. God’s way is the best way. He’s already drawn up the blueprint for your life even before you were conceived in your mother’s belly! Jesus walked it out while he became flesh and lived among us. There is no deviating to the right or to the left. But wherever he has already walked, you are to step into the footprints that are before you. He’s gone through the challenges of life that you may be facing today! He is God, but he was also man!
After you have acquired the heart of God and turned your desires and wants to him and all that he desires and wants for you, celebrate God’s blessings! After you have pressed your way through your frailties, your flaws, your failures and your faults, and have found yourself walking in the way of God no matter what men say or do, get ready to receive all that God has for you! (Jeremiah 29:11) – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” So if you want to be blessed, do it God’s way!
2 Samuel 21:10 – “Then Rizpah daughter of Aiah, the mother of two of the men, spread burlap on a rock and stayed there the entire harvest season. She prevented the scavenger birds from tearing at their bodies during the day and stopped wild animals from eating them at night.”
Are there any God-fearing, child-loving mothers who will muster up some compassion, courage and commitment to protect her child/ren from injustice, and protect them from harm and danger? How many times have you picked up a newspaper, seen an amber alert on your phone, or read a newsflash that scrolled across your television screen about a mother who courageously performed an heroic act to save the lives of her children who was in harm’s way?
Today’s narrative is about a woman named Rizpah and her sacrificial act of love for her two sons. Rizpah’s name means “a hot or baking stone.” She was a daughter of Aiah, or Ajah, the Horite. Saul took her as a concubine and she bore him, Armoni and Ephibosheth. Among all the heart-moving episodes in the bible, none is so compelling and touching as the story of Rizpah and her care of the dead. She was a victim of vengeance, a defender of the dead, and she typified the gloom of Golgotha.
BE COMPASSIONATE: In (verses 1-9), David ends a drought by granting justice to the Gibeonites. They ask for seven of Saul’s sons so that they can put them to death before the Lord. Seeking to spare Jonathan’s house in honor of their covenant, David takes the two sons of Rizpah and five sons of Merob and hands them over to the Gibeonites who puts them to a gruesome death. This is where Rizpah actively enters the story … Rizpah is so moved by compassion that she is willing to do whatever needs to be done to alleviate their shame and suffering. Not only does she care about her two sons, but she extends compassion for the other five boys.
BE COURAGEOUS: The word “courage” is defined as: the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear. All day and all night, for five solid months the bible says, from barley harvest – that’s about late April to the early rains in the month of October, Rizpah sits like a sentinel on watch lest a claw or a paw be laid upon the faces of her sons who once nestled to her breast. Can you see her as she flaps and squeals, driving away vultures and ravens? At night she is haunted in the dark by the glowing eyes of savage beasts, perhaps in desperation she has to reach for a flaming brand in the campfire to scare them away. Was she afraid to close her eyes lest in sleep the scavengers that were circling overhead dive for their prey? Unequivocally/absolutely!
BE COMMITTED: Rizpah was fully committed. Notice if you will, she makes no attempt to cut down these bodies. Yet she is still there, she is still mourning, she is still loving, she is still praying and interceding, she is still mediating. Rizpah was able to keep her commitment through this ordeal through a love that was expressed in devotion, which manifested itself in determination. All of her compassion, courage, and commitment paid off! When word reaches king David of Rizpah’s behavior, David responds by gathering the bones of Saul and Jonathan and then the bones of those recently put to death and buries them in the ancestral tomb of Saul’s father, Kish. After that, God heeded supplications for the land. If you want to be an agent of change in the world, be Every Woman: Compassionate, Courageous and Committed!
Psalms 138:8 – “The Lord will perfect that which concerns me: Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever: Do not forsake the works of your hands.”
I don’t know who this word is for, but God knows because He cares about you. Will you be totally honest with yourself? Right now you are in a dry place, a dessert place, a lonely place, and an uncomfortable place. You have been coping and dealing. You have been crying and praying. You have had sleepless nights and dreary days. You have been wrestling with the enemy for as long as you can remember. Family has turned their backs on you. Friends have walked away from you. And church folk have talked bad about you! You have been in it so long that you have become hopeless, helpless, restless and faithless!
Sure you are heartbroken – tore up from the floor up! You feel like you have gone as low as you can go. You have been there as long as you can stay. And you think you are all alone and no one cares a thing about you. Listen, sometimes God has to remove some people, places and practices from your life so that He can reveal His presence in your life. It is very hard to hear the voice of God and see what He is doing in and through you, when you are surrounded by other voices and things which seem to hold your attention! Don’t you know that when everyone else walks away, God has is still there? Whatever did not kill you or make you lose your mind, made your stronger. God cares about you and plans to perfect everything He began in you until the day of Jesus Christ!
“Perfect” means: 1) Having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as it is possible to be. 2) Free from any flaw or defect in condition or quality; faultless. No matter what you are going through right now, no matter how bad it may look through human perception, no matter how bad it makes you feel, no matter how close you get to the edge, no matter how bad you want to throw in the towel, no matter how much you want to give in, give out, or give up, remember God cares and He is going to make it right! Declare and decree out of your own mouth, “Whatever is wrong in my life, God can make it right!”
When you make the choices in life that result in your destruction, devastation and delay, God never gives up on you. But instead He extends His all-sufficient grace and His everlasting mercy to you. He does it because He cares! Each time you mess up, fall down, go astray and are contrary to God’s will, His mercy is there to renew, restore and revive you so that you can begin anew. God cares about you and every one of your faults is covered with the shed blood of Jesus Christ through the finished work of the cross. When God looks at you now, He sees you as you shall become! God’s mercy is eternal! That means it is always and forever! I can not emphasize that enough. God loves you and He cares about you and all that happens to you. His mercy reigns for ever and ever and it endures to all generations!
Have you stopped and taken note that everything God spoke into existence during the “Week of Creation” still operates in the thing it was created to do except mankind? The sun still rises in the east and sets in the west! The moon and the stars still light up the night sky! The flowers still bloom! Tress of all types still reach upward toward heaven! The fowl of the air still soar through the sky and the beast of the earth and all the creeping things still move about and do what they were created to do. So even though you are disobedient and wayward at times, God never forsakes you nor leaves you because He created you and He cares about you. (Eph. 2:10) – “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ps. 139:14) – “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are thy works and that my soul knoweth right well.”
No matter what circumstances you face, know that you have a right, a responsibility and a reason to praise God. No matter what trials you face, you must hold fast to the confidence that God will overrule all until his divinely appointed purposes are completed in your life all because God cares!