Be Utterly Desolate

September 08, 2013 with Psalms 52
Jer 2:12-13 12Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the LORD, 13for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.

Jer 2:1-13

1The word of the LORD came to me, saying,
2“Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem, Thus says the LORD, “I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown.
3Israel was holy to the LORD, the firstfruits of his harvest. All who ate of it incurred guilt; disaster came upon them, declares the LORD.”
4Hear the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob, and all the clans of the house of Israel.
5Thus says the LORD: “What wrong did your fathers find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthlessness, and became worthless?
6They did not say, ‘Where is the LORD who brought us up from the land of Egypt, who led us in the wilderness, in a land of deserts and pits, in a land of drought and deep darkness, in a land that none passes through, where no man dwells?’
7And I brought you into a plentiful land to enjoy its fruits and its good things. But when you came in, you defiled my land and made my heritage an abomination.
8The priests did not say, ‘Where is the LORD?’ Those who handle the law did not know me; the shepherds transgressed against me; the prophets prophesied by Baal and went after things that do not profit.
9“Therefore I still contend with you, declares the LORD, and with your children's children I will contend.
10For cross to the coasts of Cyprus and see, or send to Kedar and examine with care; see if there has been such a thing.
11Has a nation changed its gods, even though they are no gods? But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit.
12Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the LORD,
13for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.

God's goodness to us

  1. God had been very good to his people
    1. Deut 32:9-11 9But the LORD's portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage. 10“He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste of the wilderness; he encircled him, he cared for him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. 11Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its young, spreading out its wings, catching them, bearing them on its pinions,
    2. Isa 5:1-4 1Let me sing for my beloved my love song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill.
      2He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; and he looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes.
      3And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard.
      4What more was there to do for my vineyard, that I have not done in it? When I looked for it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes?
  2. The people in response to God's goodness were to keep God as their first love and to seek after him with all their heart.
  3. Instead they grew dissattified with God and they grew weary with him.
    1. Mic 6:3 “O my people, what have I done to you? How have I wearied you? Answer me!
    2. Isa 43:22 “Yet you did not call upon me, O Jacob; but you have been weary of me, O Israel!
    3. Jer 2:5 Thus says the LORD: “What wrong did your fathers find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthlessness, and became worthless?

The evil

  1. vs 3, Israel was holy to the LORD
  2. vs 5, "what wrong did your Fathers find in me"
  3. vs 5, went after worthlessness and became worthless
  4. vs 6, the people did not inquire after God's presence (when God departs...)
  5. vs 8, the priests did not inquire after God's presence nor did they know God (priests worse off...)
  6. vs 13,
    1. Forsook God who was to be their first love
    2. Hewed out broken cisterns in replacement of God

God's response

  1. vs 9, Therefore I still contend with you

A call for response

  1. God calls on the heavens to respond to his people's sins
    1. This is not uncommon
      1. Deut 32:1 1“Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak, and let the earth hear the words of my mouth.
      2. Deut 32:43 43“Rejoice with him, O heavens; bow down to him, all gods, for he avenges the blood of his children and takes vengeance on his adversaries. He repays those who hate him and cleanses his people's land.”
      3. Isa 1:2 2Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for the LORD has spoken: “Children have I reared and brought up, but they have rebelled against me.
      4. Isa 44:23 23Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done it; shout, O depths of the earth; break forth into singing, O mountains, O forest, and every tree in it! For the LORD has redeemed Jacob, and will be glorified in Israel.
      5. Isa 45:8 8“Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit; let the earth cause them both to sprout; I the LORD have created it.
      6. Isa 49:13 13Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the LORD has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted.
      7. Jer 2:12 12Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the LORD,
      8. Rev 12:12 12Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”
    2. "O heavens"
      1. This may be a call to all of creation
      2. This may be a call to physical creation
        1. When God's people sin, God often throws creation itself into upheaval
        2. God said that if the people broke covenant with him that the land itself would abhor them and spew them out.
        3. Let us fear the preserving God
      3. This may very well imply a call to the inhabitants of heaven
      4. A call to the land which is given in the proise of the covenant as a type of heaven to witness or respond. -Or-
      5. A call to heaven itself and the inhabitants thereof.
        1. Heb 12, We are called to live the moments of our days as if we were surrounded by a cloud of witnesses. God here calls on that croud of witnesses to respond to the sins of his people.
        2. Don't give up on your first love seek him with your all. But when you do, or when you see others around you who do ...

Creation's Response

3 Responses are called for by God: be appalled be shocked be utterly desolate

  1. Be Appalled
    1. Shamem (Sha - mame)
    2. More often translated as "desolate"
    3. Appalled, awestruck, stunned, devastated, stupefied, stricken with horror
    4. It is the picture of a a wind blowing over the good land, pulling the moisture out of the ground, drying it up, making a place of ruin, making a fertilie land into a desert wilderness.
    5. Webster Appall:: 1. To depress or discourage with fear; to impress with fear, in such a manner that the mind shrinks, or loses its firmness;
    6. Uses (Used throughout the OT but non no where is it found with in such density as Lev 26)
      1. 6 times in "Curses for disobedience" section of Lev 26
        1. Lev 26:22 And I will let loose the wild beasts against you, which shall bereave you of your children and destroy your livestock and make you few in number, so that your roads shall be deserted.
        2. Lev 26:31 And I will lay your cities waste and will make your sanctuaries desolate, and I will not smell your pleasing aromas.
        3. Lev 26:32 And I myself will devastate the land, so that your enemies who settle in it shall be appalled at it.
          1. Lev 26:32 (KJV) And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it.
        4. Lev 26:34 “Then the land shall enjoy its Sabbaths as long as it lies desolate, while you are in your enemies' land; then the land shall rest, and enjoy its Sabbaths.
        5. Lev 26:35 As long as it lies desolate it shall have rest, the rest that it did not have on your Sabbaths when you were dwelling in it.
        6. Lev 26:43 But the land shall be abandoned by them and enjoy its Sabbaths while it lies desolate without them, and they shall make amends for their iniquity, because they spurned my rules and their soul abhorred my statutes.
      2. Ezra 9:3 As soon as I heard this, I tore my garment and my cloak and pulled hair from my head and beard and sat appalled.
      3. Six times in the book of Lamentations (same writter as our verses)
        • Lam 3:1-11 1I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of his wrath;
          2he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light;
          3surely against me he turns his hand again and again the whole day long.
          4He has made my flesh and my skin waste away; he has broken my bones;
          5he has besieged and enveloped me with bitterness and tribulation;
          6he has made me dwell in darkness like the dead of long ago.
          7He has walled me about so that I cannot escape; he has made my chains heavy;
          8though I call and cry for help, he shuts out my prayer;
          9he has blocked my ways with blocks of stones; he has made my paths crooked.
          10He is a bear lying in wait for me, a lion in hiding;
          11he turned aside my steps and tore me to pieces; he has made me desolate;
      4. Me: To take something good, lovely, and beautiful and ruin and destroy it so thoroughly that those who see it themselves feel ruined and destroyed.
      5. So the people of God who have been made good, lovely, and beautiful by God himself; when they turn from God become so ruined and destroyed as it makes godly viewers of this condition feel ruined and destroyed.
    7. Application
      1. See with God's eyes
        1. Abomination of "desolation" of Daniel and Revelation
        2. Luke 16:15b For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.
      2. Make yourself desolate or God will desolate you into desolation.
        1. Isa 66:2b But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.
        2. Ps 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
        3. In my closest approaches to God I have come away with a particular feeling and phrase "What have I done"
          1. What have I done? Wow have I gotten here? What have I been doing? Its all trash and garbage.
          2. This is a wonderful not a terrible feeling. It feels like waking up from a dream, to finally get over myself (2Cor 5:15).
          3. Isa 6:5 And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”
          4. Job 42:5-6 5I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; 6therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
      3. Rejoice!
        1. Isa 54:1-3 1“Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married,” says the LORD. 2“Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes. 3For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left, and your offspring will possess the nations and will people the desolate cities.
        2. to the "appalled" one who will fill the "appalled" cities
    8. Q. Command or decree?
  2. Be Shocked
    1. This does not mean surprised
    2. Dictionary entries:
      1. shiver, fear,
      2. to storm, shiver, dread, bristle (with horror), be very afraid
      3. To be afraid as from a storm
    3. Me: Quiver, shake, quake in fear
  3. Be Utterly Desolate
    1. Basically a synonymn to the earlier desolate
    2. to parch through drought i.e. (by analogy,) to desolate, destroy, kill

What is our proper response to lukewarmness?

  1. Indignant, irritated, resentful? No.
    1. This verse can come across this way, but it is not a Biblical response
    2. We are not called to contempt, disdain, and derision but to desolation
    3. Desolation seems to differentiate itself from these other by entering into the dismay of the ones who are or should be dismayed
    4. Indignation is high and mighty the feeling of it is lofty, to be made desolate is to be brought low covering yourself with ashes and rending your garments.
    5. Ezra 9:3-6 3As soon as I heard this, I tore my garment and my cloak and pulled hair from my head and beard and sat appalled. 4Then all who trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the faithlessness of the returned exiles, gathered around me while I sat appalled until the evening sacrifice. 5And at the evening sacrifice I rose from my fasting, with my garment and my cloak torn, and fell upon my knees and spread out my hands to the LORD my God, 6saying: “O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens.
    6. We are called neither to pride nor indifference when we see the sins of others.
  2. Personally
    1. What have I done?
    2. What has he done?
    3. How then do I live?
    4. What does this mean for the church?

How do we treat other churches

  1. This has been one of the most complicated areas of Christian life for me in the last several years
  2. I am to be desolate, not indignant but desolate.
    1. This will often be taken as pride. It's not.
    2. It's broken hearted acknowlegement of us having lost our first love.

Where is the gospel

Isa 59:15-21 15Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. The LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice.
16He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him.
17He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak.
18According to their deeds, so will he repay, wrath to his adversaries, repayment to his enemies; to the coastlands he will render repayment.
19So they shall fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come like a rushing stream, which the wind of the LORD drives.
20“And a Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression,” declares the LORD.
21“And as for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD: “My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children's offspring,” says the LORD, “from this time forth and forevermore.”