A few days ago, I watched the video that is embedded at the bottom. Pastor Tom Hughes read a message from a “contributor” who listed all the sins that people in America are committing right now. From a corrupt government to rampant sexual immorality, to abortion and lawlessness. He said, “I cannot pray for God to bless America any more.” Then, Pastor Tom quoted some verses from Jeremiah. One of them is in today’s chapter. God actually tells Jeremiah not to pray for Jerusalem any more, that He will not listen. He will no longer intercede for them. They were too far gone. Is America too far gone, also? Will God’s judgment soon fall on the U.S.? Has it already? Let’s dig in…
The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, 2 “Go to the entrance of the Lord’s Temple, and give this message to the people: ‘O Judah, listen to this message from the Lord! Listen to it, all of you who worship here! 3 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says:
“‘Even now, if you quit your evil ways, I will let you stay in your own land. 4 But don’t be fooled by those who promise you safety simply because the Lord’s Temple is here. They chant, “The Lord’s Temple is here! The Lord’s Temple is here!” 5 But I will be merciful only if you stop your evil thoughts and deeds and start treating each other with justice; 6 only if you stop exploiting foreigners, orphans, and widows; only if you stop your murdering; and only if you stop harming yourselves by worshiping idols. 7 Then I will let you stay in this land that I gave to your ancestors to keep forever.
8 “‘Don’t be fooled into thinking that you will never suffer because the Temple is here. It’s a lie! 9 Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, and burn incense to Baal and all those other new gods of yours, 10 and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, “We are safe!”—only to go right back to all those evils again? 11 Don’t you yourselves admit that this Temple, which bears my name, has become a den of thieves? Surely I see all the evil going on there. I, the Lord, have spoken!
12 “‘Go now to the place at Shiloh where I once put the Tabernacle that bore my name. See what I did there because of all the wickedness of my people, the Israelites. 13 While you were doing these wicked things, says the Lord, I spoke to you about it repeatedly, but you would not listen. I called out to you, but you refused to answer. 14 So just as I destroyed Shiloh, I will now destroy this Temple that bears my name, this Temple that you trust in for help, this place that I gave to you and your ancestors. 15 And I will send you out of my sight into exile, just as I did your relatives, the people of Israel.’
Judah’s Persistent Idolatry
16 “Pray no more for these people, Jeremiah. Do not weep or pray for them, and don’t beg me to help them, for I will not listen to you. 17 Don’t you see what they are doing throughout the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 No wonder I am so angry! Watch how the children gather wood and the fathers build sacrificial fires. See how the women knead dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven. And they pour out liquid offerings to their other idol gods! 19 Am I the one they are hurting?” asks the Lord. “Most of all, they hurt themselves, to their own shame.”
20 So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “I will pour out my terrible fury on this place. Its people, animals, trees, and crops will be consumed by the unquenchable fire of my anger.”
21 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Take your burnt offerings and your other sacrifices and eat them yourselves! 22 When I led your ancestors out of Egypt, it was not burnt offerings and sacrifices I wanted from them. 23 This is what I told them: ‘Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Do everything as I say, and all will be well!’
24 “But my people would not listen to me. They kept doing whatever they wanted, following the stubborn desires of their evil hearts. They went backward instead of forward. 25 From the day your ancestors left Egypt until now, I have continued to send my servants, the prophets—day in and day out. 26 But my people have not listened to me or even tried to hear. They have been stubborn and sinful—even worse than their ancestors.
27 “Tell them all this, but do not expect them to listen. Shout out your warnings, but do not expect them to respond. 28 Say to them, ‘This is the nation whose people will not obey the Lord their God and who refuse to be taught. Truth has vanished from among them; it is no longer heard on their lips. 29 Shave your head in mourning, and weep alone on the mountains. For the Lord has rejected and forsaken this generation that has provoked his fury.’
The Valley of Slaughter
30 “The people of Judah have sinned before my very eyes,” says the Lord. “They have set up their abominable idols right in the Temple that bears my name, defiling it. 31 They have built pagan shrines at Topheth, the garbage dump in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and there they burn their sons and daughters in the fire. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing! 32 So beware, for the time is coming,” says the Lord, “when that garbage dump will no longer be called Topheth or the valley of Ben-Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. They will bury the bodies in Topheth until there is no more room for them. 33 The bodies of my people will be food for the vultures and wild animals, and no one will be left to scare them away. 34 I will put an end to the happy singing and laughter in the streets of Jerusalem. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard in the towns of Judah. The land will lie in complete desolation.Jeremiah 7 NLT
Why is God So Angry?
I’m not a parent, but I can imagine getting angry when after telling a child that he or she shouldn’t do something, then he or she went ahead and did it anyway. A parent lays down the law, the rules of what not to do. When a child disobeys, the child is punished. The Jews knew the law. They knew what pleased God and what made God angry. Yet, they continued to do the things that God found abominable — pagan worship rituals, corrupt ways, sexual immorality, and sacrificing children to Molech, among other things.
God sent Jeremiah to the temple where the people were. It was probably during the Passover. God actually offered them an out: quit your evil ways and you can stay in your land. It was clear and simple.
Pastor Sandy Adams comments…
The Tabernacle was in Shiloh for 350 years – almost as long as the Temple stood in Jerusalem. In the days of the Judges, Shiloh was to Israel what Jerusalem became after the Temple was built. People pilgrimaged to Shiloh to worship at the Tabernacle. Yet they made the same mistake in Shiloh that they would later make in Jerusalem…
The Spirit of God in the Tabernacle rested over the Ark of the Covenant. TheSandy Adams
Ark was a symbol of God’s presence. Yet the Hebrew people trusted in the
symbol more than the Spirit. When Israel went into battle with the Philistines they sent the Ark out to lead the charge. Yet, instead of making them invincible, the Ark was captured. When the High Priest Eli heard the news he fell off his stool, broke his neck, and died instantly. In 1050 BC, Shiloh was destroyed and Israel defeated. Here’s Jeremiah’s point, the Ark didn’t protect Shiloh from God’s judgment – and neither will the Temple save Jerusalem. Holy things don’t make a people holy. Holiness comes from a humble, broken heart.
Just because you go through the motions of going to church every week and perform all the religious rituals (sacraments), that won’t get you saved! Holy things don’t make you holy! I remember as a little kid — 9 or 10 years old — in the Bronx, walking with my mother to church. It was probably a Saturday and we were going to confession. We ran into one of the priests. I had gotten a tiny, plastic statue of Mary and I asked the priest to bless it for me. He kissed it and handed it back to me. I stayed silent, but thought, “That’s it? It’s blessed?”
Don’t be Fooled!
I’ve watched many a baseball game where batters kiss their crucifix as they walk up to the batter’s box. A good luck charm is idolatry.
Same goes for giving money and a prayer to get someone out of purgatory. Or paying for a priest to say a Mass for a dead person to lessen his or her time in a place that doesn’t exist. Hate to tell you this, but if that person didn’t call on Jesus before he or she died, if he or she didn’t repent of their sins, they are in hell. Heaven or hell — that’s the choice you have to make now, before it’s too late.
Is America too far gone? Is there no hope?
God tells Jeremiah that there’s no sense in praying for people who are doomed. “Don’t beg Me to help them.” Wow!
The people were going through all the religious rituals, however, not worshiping the True God. No, they were doing them for the fake, pagan gods. Including one they called, “the Queen of Heaven”! Doesn’t that sound familiar! Pastor Sandy comments…
This was appalling to God! You offend Him – then you assume He’ll protect you?
All of Jerusalem was worshiping idols. They’d turned into a family affair…
children gathered woods, dads made the fire, moms made the sacrificial cakes.
And apparently, the “queen of heaven” was a favorite idol among the citizens of
Jerusalem… She was Ashtoreth to the Canaanites, Venus to the Romans,
Aphrodite to the Greeks, Diana to the Ephesians, Isis to the Egyptians, Ishtar to
The Queen of heaven cult was a fixture in the paganism of the ancient world.Sandy Adams
Traces of this cult have trickled down today. Roman Catholicism assigns Mary
the title, “Queen of heaven.” This exalts her far beyond what God intended. Mary
was a good girl, not a queen. Especially not “queen of heaven,” as if her influence extends to the heights heaven. That’s idolatry!
Lighting candles in front of a statue of Mary and asking her to intercede for you is also idolatry. Mary was human. Yes, she was “blessed”. But as human, she died and went to Heaven. She, too needed Jesus as her Savior. Jesus is the only intercessor or mediator that you need between you and Father God.
We cannot put THINGS or people above God!
Truth has Vanished!
God sent Jeremiah and the other prophets to warn the people of Israel to stop their sinning and idolatrous ways, and they didn’t listen. He then sent His only Son, Jesus to them and they still didn’t listen! They killed Him. Jesus relays this in a parable in the Parable of the Evil Farmers found in Luke 20.
The Killing of Innocents
Another despicable act was the sacrificing of children to Molech. Sandy Adams explains…
The Valley of Hinnom is east of the Old City of Jerusalem. Today it’s a beautiful park with an outdoor stage – a place for concerts. But during the days of Jeremiah it wasn’t the sweet sounds of music rising up from this valley, it was the screams and cries of babies in distress. This was the place where the Jews had set up altars to Molech. “The high places of Tophet” was the site where the Jews offered child sacrifice to the Moabite god name Molech. “Tophet” means “fireplace or incinerator.”
Molech had the head of an ox and the body of a human. He was made of brass,
with a hollow torso. His arms were outstretched. A fire was stoked inside the idol until it was red-hot, glowing hot. Children were placed in the idol’s arms, while the priests of Molech beat their drums to drown out the babies’ screams.
And there’s little difference to what’s happening in our country today. Since RoeSandy Adams
v Wade legalized abortion, [over 60] million babies have been sacrificed to the gods of pleasure and convenience. Many of them have been literally burned by saline abortion. All the while pro-choice groups beat the drums and try to drown out the voices that would speak for the unborn.
That brings me back to the question…
Is America Too Far Gone?
Unfortunately, I agree with Pastor Tom Hughes’ friend. America doesn’t deserve God’s blessing. We were blessed and we blew it. Just like the Israelites did centuries ago. I will pray for the born-again believers, my brothers and sisters in Christ. I know there are some still in the U.S. Senate, Congress and the Supreme Court. I pray that they hold fast to their faith and keep standing for the truth and for the sanctity of life.
I pray for the believers who are running for all government offices this next year. I pray they, too, stand strong, unwavering in the faith. I pray for the Christian voters to choose people of honesty and integrity — somethings that are sorely missing in government.
I also pray for the seekers of the truth. Those people like you, who want to know God better, to get closer to Him and to have a personal relationship with Jesus, our Savior. Keep studying the Bible. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal what is the truth and what are lies. He is our discerning helper. Without Him, we are on our own trying to figure it all out. By ourselves, we will get lost. By ourselves we will be influenced by evil forces with evil ideas. Only God can give us the strength to say NO!
I stand with Jesus!
Are you with me?
What are you waiting for?