Published July 26, 2012
Jer. 8:4-13, 18 – 9:1
Bible Studies for Life, August 12
A broken heart is a commonplace reaction to the tragedies of life – the death of spouse, the loss of a job, a rebellious child, or an illness. Those closest to us are the ones who are most likely to break our hearts.
Love songs pay special attention to those with a broken heart, especially those of a romantic nature. Elvis Presley identified the location as the “end of lonely street” and named it the Heartbreak Hotel. The BeeGees asked, “How do you mend a broken heart?” And Whitney Houston, “Where can broken hearts go? Can they find their way home?”
Most of us have probably experienced a broken heart with the death of a parent or the ending of a relationship.
We do not often think of God as one who has a broken heart. There are, however, images throughout the Bible that reveal a God whose heart breaks.
How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? How shall I deliver thee, Israel? How shall I make thee as Admah? How shall I set thee as Zeboim? Mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together (Hos. 11:8).
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! (Lk.13:34)
Both Hosea and Jeremiah experienced a sense of heartbreak with God. Today God calls each of us to experience a broken heart on behalf of a world that is blind to God’s love and the coming judgment.
See the problem - Jeremiah 8:4-7
Rhetorical questions are asked that require an “of course” response to them. A person who falls will get up and a person who travels down a road usually comes back up the road. This is natural.
However, the people of Jerusalem do not exercise moral common sense. They act wickedly and feel the consequences of that wickedness but do not repent and turn back to God. They never ask, “What have I done?” Indeed, they act like an out-of-control horse that rushes prematurely and impulsively onto the battlefield. It is dangerous as well as unnatural.
The natural conduct of migratory birds is illustrated. The stork, turtledove, crane, and swallow migrating south for the winter and then returning north in the spring are following the divine course for their lives. However, the people of Jerusalem show their ignorance of God’s moral laws and do not allow themselves to be guided by them in their daily lives.
It is amazing and bewildering that the people of Jerusalem act in such an unnatural and self-destructive manner.
Avoid superficial responses - Jeremiah 8:8-13
These verses reveal a society that has been turned upside down morally.
The right words are still used in speech such as wise or the law of the Lord, but their meaning has been distorted in both deed and scribal writings. The people of Jerusalem do not even blush or show shame for their wickedness. It has become an accepted part of society. Unfair trading and false dealing is just part of doing business.
Jesus, in speaking to the Pharisees, accused them, “You have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition” (Mt. 15:6). His disciples later told Him that He had offended the Pharisees (Mt. 15:12). Sometimes the truth of God hurts our sensitivities but it must be proclaimed.
God decides to finally turn them over to the consequences of their sins. They will lose everything! Their wives and their fields will be gone. Their false cries of peace, peace – or as some say today, “Everything is alright!” will soon die out.
Denial of God’s law shows moral blindness and indifference.
Reflect God’s brokenheartedness - Jeremiah 8:18—9:1
Jeremiah faces the reality of an unrepentant Jerusalem. They have missed the opportunity to come to the Lord, and the clock is running out on them. The repeating question of why (vv. 19, 22) shows that it is bewildering why the people of Jerusalem would refuse to be saved and be healed.
It is a time to weep and mourn for those who reject God!
The hymn “Oh What a Savior” expresses the broken heart of Christ.
Oh What a Savior. Oh Hallelujah! His heart was broken on Calvary. His hands were nail scarred, His side was riven, He gave His life’s blood for even me.
Bryan Jeffery’s hymn “Let Your Heart Be Broken” challenges us to be the hands of Jesus, a living illustration of the Living Word, and asks us to risk ourselves for God.
What is the Christian to do? First, be faithful in reading and applying God’s Word to everyday life. Jesus called his disciples to be light. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven (Mt. 5:16). We are to be rooted in Christ, filled with the Spirit, and abstain from every form of evil (1 Thess. 5:22). The fruit of the Spirit should be evident in one’s life (Gal. 5:22-23).
A careful reading of the lists of vices should be undertaken in order to reacquaint ourselves with God’s moral compass. Some suggested passages would include Romans 1:28-32 “debased mind”; Galatians 5:19-21 “the works of the flesh”; and 2 Timothy 3:1-5 “perilous times.”
1 John 4:1 warns us not to believe every spirit, but to test them.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 outlines the origin, the utility, and the ultimate goal of the Holy Scriptures in our lives: that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
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