we are all guilty
Jeremiah 2:23-3:5 (JDV)
Jeremiah 2:23 How can you say, “I am not defiled; I have not followed the Baals”? Look at the road you took in the valley; acknowledge what you have done. You are a swift young cow-camel twisting and turning on her way,
Jeremiah 2:24 a wild donkey at home in the open country. She sniffs the wind in the heat of her desire. Who can control her passion? Anyone looking for her need not tire himself out; they will find her in her mating season.
Jeremiah 2:25 Keep your feet from going bare and your throat from thirst. But you say, “It’s hopeless; I love strangers, and I will continue to follow them.”
Jeremiah 2:26 Like the a thief experiences shame when he is caught, so the house of Israel has been put to shame. They, their kings, their officials, their priests, and their prophets
Jeremiah 2:27 say to a tree, “You are my father,” and to a stone, “You gave birth to me.” You see, they have turned their back to me and not their face, yet in their time of disaster they beg, “Rise up and save us!”
Jeremiah 2:28 But where are your gods you made for yourself? Let them rise up and save you in your time of disaster if they can, because your gods are as numerous as your cities, Judah.
Jeremiah 2:29 Why do you bring a case against me? All of you have rebelled against me. This is what Yahveh declares.
Jeremiah 2:30 I have struck down your children for nothing; they would not accept discipline. Your own sword has devoured your prophets like a ravaging lion.
Jeremiah 2:31 Evil generation, pay attention to the word of Yahveh! Have I been an open country to Israel or a land of dense darkness? Why do my people say, “We will go where we want; we will no longer come to you”?
Jeremiah 2:32 Can a young woman forget her jewelry or a bride her wedding sash? Yet my people have forgotten me for innumerable days.
Jeremiah 2:33 How skillfully you pursue love; you also teach evil women your ways.
Jeremiah 2:34 Also, your skirts are stained with the blood of the innocent poor. You did not catch them breaking and entering. But in spite of all these things
Jeremiah 2:35 you say, “I am innocent. His anger is sure to turn away from me.” But notice, I will certainly judge you because you have said, “I have not made a mistake.”
Jeremiah 2:36 How unstable you are, constantly changing your ways! You will be put to shame by Egypt just as you were put to shame by Assyria.
Jeremiah 2:37 Moreover, you will be led out from here with your hands on your head since Yahveh has rejected those you trust; you will not succeed even with their help.
Jeremiah 3:1 If a man divorces his wife and she leaves him to marry another, can he ever return to her? Wouldn’t that land become totally defiled? But you! You have prostituted yourself with many partners—can you return to me? This is what Yahveh declares.
Jeremiah 3:2 Look to the barren heights and see. Where have you not been immoral? You sat waiting for them beside the highways like a nomad in the open country. You have defiled the land with your prostitution and wickedness.
Jeremiah 3:3 This is why the showers haven’t come—why there has been no spring rain. You have the brazen look of a prostitute and refuse to be ashamed.
Jeremiah 3:4 Haven’t you recently called to me, “My Father. You were my friend in my youth.
Jeremiah 3:5 Will he bear a grudge permanently? Will his wrath never end?” Notice, this is what you have said, but you have done every evil thing you could do.
we are all guilty
What Jeremiah is drawing attention to in today’s text is what I call depravity denial. It’s when a sinner looks at God square in the face and says “I am innocent, and you are punishing me anyway.” No one is innocent. We are all guilty enough to deserve permanent destruction. The good news of the gospel is not that there are a few of us who are good enough to rescue. The good news is that God allows some of us condemned criminals to be pardoned on the basis of Christ’s goodness and sacrifice on the cross.
Think about that the next time you are tempted to come to God with a “not guilty” plea. It does not work, because it is not true. Our only possible plea is the blood of the Lamb.
Lord, remove from us the sham of claiming our own innocence.
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