Jeremiah 34, No Partial Credit For Partial Obedience
1. Temporary Obedience Is Disobedience (v8-11)
2. Temporary Repentance Profanes God’s Name (v12-17)
3. Broken Promises To God Bring Judgment (v18-22)
Jeremiah 34, No Partial Credit For Partial Obedience
Jeremiah 34, No Partial Credit For Partial Obedience
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As we considered Jeremiah Chapter 34 this evening, I've titled the message no partial credit for partial obedience.
No partial credit for partial obedience.
There are times where we would love to get partial credit, where we would love to experience at least just some of the blessings that we want from God and desire from God, without having to give all of ourselves and without having to.
To the law.
But here in Chapter 34, we get to be reminded this evening, as Jeremiah interacts with King Zedekiah and the people of Jerusalem, that it doesn't work that way. You can't.
Critique of the benefits and blessings and expect to not also be obedient.
And to the things that God calls you, too.
And you can't trick God into blessing you and then, you know, kind of getting away with your disobedience and your disregard for his word.
It doesn't work that way, that there's no negotiation that needs to go on when God gives instruction and command that we can kind of negotiate. Well, how about if you give me 50%?
Blessings, and I give you 50% obedience in this command that you've given. I'll mostly follow you, and I'll mostly obey you.
And so how about you then?
You just mostly bless me and the efforts that I'm putting forth here.
Here, God makes it clear there is no partial credit for partial.
Now we can see, and there's a good example of this in King David.
That you can get partial credit for going above and beyond what God has required.
You can get partial credit for what is good and what you desire, but are unable to do.
You remember in First Kings Chapter 8 as Solomon is kind of retelling the story of how the.
Temple came to be, he said.
The Lord said to my father, David, whereas it was in your heart to build a temple for my name, you did well that it was in your heart.
And the Lord told David, David, you can't.
That's not your calling, that's not for you.
So you can't serve in that capacity.
You can't go down that path, but but it's good that it's in your heart and so you get credit for having the desire.
But but this is above and beyond what I've called you too and enabled you.
To accomplish and so good job, David.
You get credit for that.
But when it comes to matters of obedience and instruction from the Lord, it's a different story.
And God doesn't say good for you.
You almost obeyed.
You partially obeyed.
You thought about and and had good intentions and good motivations for obeying.
When it comes to obedience, God says you need to obey.
100% full and complete. No negotiation, no partial, no, you know, attempt at trying to get away with things. You just need to obey what it is that God has said.
Here, as we look at Chapter 34, King Zedekiah and the people of Jerusalem are in a desperate situation.
And so they take some measures, they take some steps, and they decide to finally listen to something that God has been calling them to. Throughout Jeremiah's ministry, he's been calling the people to repent.
And to go back to the Scriptures and to pay attention to what God has said and and very simple things like don't work on the Sabbath and.
You know, land your animals, your servants, rest on the Sabbath day.
That was one of the calls to repentance that the Lord said.
Look, if you'll just do that, God said.
Like I won't bring Babylon here.
If you'll just listen to me in these simple things that I've called you too.
If you'll just stop oppressing your brethren.
I will relent. I will turn and change the course of what is about to happen to you. And through Jeremiah that the Lord has been delivering this message and calling people back to obedience. And here in chapter 34, they decide, well, let's give that a try. Finally.
As Babylon is coming against them again, they decide to give it a shot, and so we're going to look at three points here in Chapter 34 this evening. Again, no partial credit for partial obedience point #1 looking at verses 8 through 11.
Temporary obedience is disobedience.
We need to be reminded, and we need to understand temporary obedience to the Lord.
Look again at verse eight and nine.
This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord after King Zedekiah made a covenant with all the people who were at Jerusalem to proclaim liberty to them.
That every man should set free his male and female slave.
A Hebrew man or woman that no one should keep a Jewish brother in *******
The issue here is servitude or slavery.
And the issue that was happening here is got a given instruction back in Exodus Chapter 21.
The Lord set parameters and boundaries for their relationship with one another as descendants of Abraham in the servitude that they were to allow, and the the real indication here the the real requirement here was that it would be temporary.
Now in their culture, in their society.
It was quite normal.
For someone to be a servant or a slave in this way.
It's not the slavery that we might picture from American history that we're talking about here.
It's a similar kind.
Of ******* and servitude, but not necessarily all of the brutality that we might conjure up in those images.
Now, it was pretty common for their society, not just Israel, but the nations around them too.
Deal with situations in bringing someone into servitude, so if someone was in extreme poverty.
And they didn't own land, they didn't own anything to be able to farm.
They didn't have means to provide for themselves.
They might choose to enter into a servitude agreement with someone to enter into slavery in that way to basically get a job and work for that person and be provided.
For in doing so.
And so that was a common occurrence.
And that kind of thing you could understand if someone at one point did have land and resources, but through circumstances or bad decisions they lost those things and they were basically in a state of bankruptcy and owing people that they they could become a servant in order to satisfy.
The creditor, the one that they owed.
Or if there was a thief that had been caught.
But did not have the means to repay the restitution that was required.
They would be offered the opportunity of servitude in order to pay back now.
This was a practice again long before the the the Lord gave the instructions and Exodus chapter 14.
Servitude and slavery.
But God gave some boundaries and parameters to it, and one of the boundaries that he gave was that specifically for the Hebrew brethren that we're in this situation.
So we're talking about the the Hebrews that are poor, that have become bankrupt, that have, you know, committed crimes.
Not able to pay the restitution, they are in this place now of *******
Servitude to the Jewish leaders, the leaders of Jerusalem and.
The Lord said that these kind of situations were to be limited to six years.
No matter what the size of the debt was, no matter what the size or the amount that was owed was, that that there was to be a six year limit and then the 7th year the Hebrew Brethren were to be released and set free.
And so that's the parameters that God said, but much like the Sabbath day.
Those who were.
Side that kind of benefits from servitude, the the masters were like, you know?
This is kind of nice.
Having these people.
Kind of do the work that I need to get done for cheap for much, you know, for little money for it's a it's a good advantage for.
And so I'm not going to let them go.
In the 7th year.
Just like I'm not going to take off the Sabbath day.
In fact, you servants, you serve and do work on the seven on the Sabbath day so that you know we can continue to progress and get what we need to get out of life.
And so there was this practice that was contrary.
So the parameters that got, uh, given in the instruction that God had given in Exodus chapter.
And that was not just recent, but that has been going on for a long time in the nation of Judah.
But now King Zedekiah tells us in verse eight made a covenant with all the people.
And they decided we're gonna make a change.
Everyone should set free.
They're Hebrew servants.
Everyone should let them go.
Set them free.
Man or woman, no one should keep a Jewish brother in *******
And this is one of the things that had been given to them as instruction in Exodus 21. It's also one of the things that prophets like Jeremiah had been calling them to do, to start obeying, to stop oppressing the poor, this servitude, this slavery that they were.
Holding onto was an oppression of the poor, oppression of those who were unable to defend themselves.
The Masters of Jerusalem had all of the power, and and so even if.
The servants recognized and knew Exodus 21. They couldn't change the course. They couldn't change their society. They didn't have the social power. They didn't have any kind of means. They were in a place of poverty and desperation.
And the religious leaders, the political leaders, the Masters of Jerusalem, were taking advantage and oppressing the poor.
Now let's make a covenant.
Let's make an agreement.
Now when all the Princess and all the people who had entered into the covenant heard that everyone should set free his male and female slaves, that no one should keep them in ******* anymore, they obeyed and let them go.
So Zedekiah makes this announcement.
He says, guys, we need to make a covenant.
Let's do this.
Let's enter into this very serious agreement.
To start obeying what God instructed us in his word.
And the people responded.
All the Princess, all the people.
When they heard this, they agreed with it.
They obeyed, and they let the servants go.
And so if it stopped here, this would be a great story and a great account of people turning to God and obeying God and experiencing the goodness and blessings of God.
But the problem is we also have verse 11 that comes after verse 10, but afterward.
They changed their minds.
And made the male and female slaves return whom they had set free, and brought them into subjection as male and female slaves.
They obeyed and let them go, verse 11.
But afterward they changed their minds, their obedience.
And they used their social status and political clout to re subjugate the servants that they had just let go.
You try to put yourself in the place of the servants, right?
Maybe there were some who were kind of pessimistic.
I don't believe this is not.
And so they were more prepared for the changing of the mind, perhaps.
But then there were others who were just like, oh, I'm free.
For the first time in my life, I'm free.
I get to wake up when I want to and go where I want to, well within the limits of bound of Jerusalem's Walls because of the attack of Babylon. But but I'm free. I get to make my own choices. I get to do what I want.
Explore new territory, do new.
Experience something that I've never known the freedom.
But they changed their minds afterward.
And brought them back and said never mind.
You are slaves once again.
Why would they change their mind?
What would cause this kind of behavior?
Looking at verse 10 and then verse 11?
I mean the process of going into the covenant and making this solemn agreement, but then afterward changing their mind.
Why would people behave?
This way, well, we have a little bit of context here in the chapter and elsewhere that helps us to understand the whole picture a little bit better.
If you'll jump down to verse 21 and 22, we'll get to this later, Lord willing, but verse 21 says this is the Lord speaking. I will give Zedekiah, King of Judah and his.
Prince is into the hand of their enemies, into the hand of those who seek their life, and into the hand of the king of Babylon's army notices which has gone back from you.
Behold, I come in, says the Lord, and caused them to return to this city.
They will fight against it, and take it, and burn it with fire, and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without inhabitants.
There's a little bit of an indication here in verse 21.
Of the timing of all of these events and we can kind of put the pieces together to get this order of events and.
So follow along with me, think about how this would impact the agreement and the decisions that.
Are being made.
In 588 BC, Babylon lays.
Siege to Jerusalem.
This is the third time Babylon has come back to attack Jerusalem. When they finally conquer it in 586, it will be the final time.
And that's when everything is demolished and everyone is taken away captive.
So this is the the third time they've done.
This here in 588 BC, or thereabouts, Babylon leaves siege to Jerusalem. They're camped all around. They're trapped inside the city of Jerusalem.
While they're doing that, Babylon is sending out smaller divisions of the army to go conquer the other strongholds in Judah and in Chapter 34, verse 7.
We can see an indication of that here when it tells us that the only two cities that remained were Lachish and Azeka.
And so these over the last two cities and Jerusalem that existed in the nation of Judah as Babylon is laying siege.
It's a year long or couple year long process and so they're attacking.
And and the strongholds are falling.
There's only two left.
And so at that point.
As they've been diminished and diminished and diminished and diminished, Zedekiah pronounces, you know what we need to do is we need to release the slaves.
Giving the benefit of the doubt a little bit here, we can understand that he saw the threat, heard the voice of Jeremiah in his head, the prophecies that have been going forth.
And said all right, we need to finally submit to God.
We're about to be wiped out.
And so we should obey God.
Being a little bit pessimistic or skeptical in our minds, we also might look at.
This and say.
Jerusalem is under siege.
So the masters don't have a lot to lose letting their servants go.
It's like, OK, well, if we're going to obey God, let's do the least difficult thing.
Because if the masters let the servants go, all right, that's great.
Because times of siege were times of famine, it's hard to provide for ourselves the food that we need.
If we let our servants go, we don't have to provide for them.
They gotta fend for themselves.
Go, you worry, but I don't know where you're going to get.
Your meal, you go figure it out.
Free now and so.
It was a wait not only for them to obey the Lord, but it was also a way for them to release their responsibilities.
And also the servants, the slaves, they thought, you know.
Where they going to go?
Leave Jerusalem Babylon armies are camped all around like nothing is really going to change except for.
The Lord's going to see that we are obedient to him, and you can see just if you're a little bit cynical, this negotiation, this arrangement that's thinking like, wow, this is a win.
Win like I don't have to feed them anymore, and God blesses me because I'm releasing the servants that I was supposed to release a.
Long time ago, because that's what.
God said in his word.
And so they released the slaves.
But then Egypt enters the scene.
And they begin to make a move.
Against Babylon's army, there's.
A little bit more insight into this in Jeremiah Chapter 37, and so we'll get to that in a couple days in the reading.
But in Jeremiah Chapter 37 we see Egypt begins to move out and posture as if it's going to attack Babylon and and really support Judah and defend.
Judah in the situation and so at.
That time Babylon stops.
The siege to go deal with the threat of Egypt.
And it's at that point that we get verse 8.
Yeah, makes this agreement.
But then verse 11, but afterward they changed their minds.
So verse eight when they make the agreement, Babylon is in siege around Jerusalem.
But then when Babylon leaves to go meet Egypt, then we get verse 11.
Afterward they changed their mind.
What changed between versi and verse 11?
What changed was Babylon left?
And was no longer camped out around it and attacking against it.
The people of.
Jerusalem and Judah who were?
Putting their hope and trust in Egypt to save them now have reason to believe that that salvation is coming to fruition.
All of the false prophets that Jeremiah has been contending with have been looking to Egypt and declaring that God was going to defeat Babylon by Egypt.
And so all of the false prophets are looking pretty good right now.
All right, all of this is going to be fulfilled, just like the false prophets said.
So the people changed their mind.
And they enslaved the people again.
But what they don't know?
Is that Egypt is not going to engage in the battle.
They retreat without a fight.
They don't take Babylon on, they don't conquer Babylon.
And so Babylon, having dealt with that face up, stood in opposition and he just said OK, Nevermind, I I was just kidding.
Babylon goes back to Jerusalem to lay siege and continues that siege until they conquered Jerusalem in five.
And so following the order of events gives us a little bit of context here of why they would change their mind.
They changed their mind because the immediate threat.
Was now gone.
And it it paints such a vivid picture for us of how we often are as people that in a moment of crisis, in a moment of desperation.
Then we're finally willing.
OK, Lord, I will be obedient, but.
If there's a little bit of.
Easing of that moment.
A little bit.
Of easing of that desperation.
Then we immediately go back to and take up our ways again.
It's much like Pharaoh.
In the Book of Exodus, right when.
The Lord said let my people go and he said no way.
And so God sent a plague.
And then he.
Said OK, fine, fine, fine.
I give, I give.
I'll let your people go and God removed the plague.
And then Pharaoh said.
I will not let your people go.
The people of Judah are much like the people of Pharaoh.
Not the people of Pharaoh, much like Pharaoh.
And the people of Judah are much like us, and that's why it's.
Valuable and important to consider these things temporary obedience.
And God is going to, and the verses that follow announced some very serious.
Judgment for this behavior, for what they have done.
And he's calling out this specific situation, this specific sin.
This disobedience and going back on their word.
And what they promise.
Is going to cost them even more than they would have paid if they had not pretended to obey in the 1st place.
We need to understand that temporary obedience is not acceptable.
Partial credit is not given for partial obedience.
When we look at what God is said and commanded and instructed, it cannot be in some kind of bargain negotiating.
OK, well, if I do this least amount possible but still get to experience the blessing of God.
Not really lose anything out.
Trying to work out some advantage over God, it's never going to work.
It will not be rewarded, it will not be blessed.
What God requires from us is obedience, surrender.
A temporary thing.
That will revoke Leader Pastor Warren Rizvi says obedience must come from devotion within us and not depend on circumstances around us.
These masters were in greater slavery than their servants.
Because they did not seek to please the Lord.
And it's interesting to.
Consider, I'm sure the servants of that day would kind of argue with Warren Wiersbe statement here a little bit, right?
Like, what do you mean they're in?
No, they were.
Doing pretty good.
But the reality is.
They were in greater slavery than their service.
Because they were not seeking to please the Lord, they were slaves of their sinful hearts.
And it was going to bring down destruction upon them.
Obedience must come from devotion within us, and God will often use circumstances to get our attention.
And and it's OK in the midst of those circumstances to say, OK, I repent, I turn like that's part of the way that God works.
But we need to make sure that our obedience is not just because of the circumstances.
But that our heart has been changed, that our our repentance is real, and that there's a devotion to God.
And a desire.
To please God and not just a simple negotiation.
To try to.
Get out of the situation that we.
Are currently in temporary obedience.
In actuality, is disobedience.
It might look like obedience and and maybe there was some time that passed.
There was a few days, there was a couple weeks, there was a couple months and perhaps.
It looked like obedience.
But it turns out it was not.
And the reality of their disobedience is revealed in time.
Well, temporary obedience is disobedience point #2 as we move on to verses 12 through 17, temporary repentance.
Profanes God name.
Profanes God name.
Let's read verses 12 through 17.
It says therefore.
The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah from the Lord saying.
Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, I made a covenant with your father in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the House of ******* saying at the end of seven years let every man set his Hebrew or set free his Hebrew brother, who has been sold to him.
And when he has served you six years, you shall let him go free from you.
But your father did not obey me, nor inclined their ear.
Then you recently turned and did what was right in my sight.
Every man proclaiming liberty to his neighbor, and he made a covenant before me in the house which is called by my name.
Then you turned around and profane my name.
And every one of you brought back his male and female servants, whom he had set at liberty at their pleasure, and brought them back into subjection to be your male and female.
Saves verse 17.
Therefore thus says the Lord.
You have not obeyed me.
In proclaiming liberty, everyone to his brother and everyone to his neighbor.
Behold, I proclaim liberty to you.
Says the Lord.
To the sword, to pestilence and to famine.
And I will deliver you to trouble.
Among all the kingdoms of the Earth.
The word of the Lord has some or the Lord here has some strong words for the people of Jerusalem.
When the word of the Lord comes to Jeremiah, God says I see everything that's taking place here.
I made a covenant with you guys.
We made an agreement together back in Sinai.
You said you would do all that was written in the scriptures.
You would fulfill all my law, and I promised to bless you, and I also promised, if you did not do those things, that it would bring down curses upon you.
You and God here quotes from Exodus chapter 21. If you buy a Hebrew servant, he shall serve six years.
In the seventh he shall go out free and pay nothing.
If he comes in by himself, he shall go upon himself.
If he comes in married, then his.
Wife shall go.
Out with him.
Here's some boundaries here, some parameters for this social construct and this provision.
For those who are poor and in desperate situation.
And so God says, this is what I said.
And you knew it.
And you guys have ignored it. All of your father's for throughout your history you guys have ignored what God has said. But then recently verse 15 you turned.
And did what was right.
You stopped enslaving your brethren beyond the defined time frame of six years.
And you set them free.
Repentance is always that turning around and doing the opposite.
You stopped enslaving them.
You delivered them to freedom.
You recently turned and did what was right in my sight.
And you did this.
In the House, which is called by my knee.
This was something that you did in my presence.
In response to my word.
And what I have been speaking to you in Jeremiah Chapter 22.
Condemning the people says your eyes in your heart are for nothing but your covetousness for shedding innocent blood and practicing oppression and violence as he lays out the crimes and the reasons for the judgment that they receive.
Giving the practicing of oppression was one of those things that God consistently highlighted as he called his people to repentance and announced the judgment that was coming.
And so you recently turned, you repented and did what was right.
Those who were enslaved beyond.
What I had called for in the word.
Verse 16 you turned around and profane and my name.
The word profane.
It means to treat with disrespect.
It's to be irreverent.
God says you made this.
Act of repentance, you you did this in my presence at my house.
You carried out this repentance and and this step forward in the right direction, but you did not care at all beyond that.
Whenever there was a little bit of easing of the situation, then you completely disrespected me.
You profane and my name.
You dishonored my name.
You took the promise, you made the vow in my name.
You said we're repenting, we're going.
To serve the Lord now.
You announced the name of the Lord, you attached the name of the Lord to your action, and then later on you didn't care and you went back to the old behavior and did what you wanted to.
And it totally dishonors me, the Lord says.
Think about the.
Slaves who were released and then brought back into subjection.
As the master says, you know.
The Lord has told us.
Servants, let's all go to the temple stand before the presence of the Lord.
Let's take a step in the right direction.
Let's honor the Lord and do what the Lord said.
Bless it, be the name of the.
Lord, you are free.
And then later on, those servants are subjected by those same people and the servants.
This Lord that you were talking about so much.
What kind of God is he?
This is their Hebrew brethren we're talking about, but at the same time.
These were the leaders of the people, and the way that they represented the Lord to the people was profane.
You could understand when the slaves were using profanity when they were re enslaved because of the behavior of these people and their attachment of the name of the Lord.
And you can understand the the profaneness, the profanity that would come forth as a result of their reversal.
Of their repentance being shown to not be genuine but just to be temporary.
The testimony to the slaves, the testimony.
To Babylon, to the world.
Brought dishonor, discredit to the name of God.
They were all about the religious ceremony and using the name of the Lord, but again.
It was partial obedience.
And that profanes the name.
Of the Lord.
So God says because you've done this, you've not obeyed me in proclaiming liberty or 17.
So I proclaim liberty to you.
And here you get to see a little bit of the sense of humor sometimes that God displays a little bit of sarcasm.
Here I'm going to give you liberty.
Liberty to the sword, liberty to pestilence, and liberty to famine.
Basically, I'm going to set you free from my protection, God says.
And you're going to experience.
All the judgment of Babylon.
I wouldn't be surprised.
A religious leader, leader in Jerusalem in that day, hearing these words from the Lord through the prophet Jeremiah and thinking wait a minute.
Shouldn't I get like partial credit?
We did set them free.
Let's just exaggerate.
Give them lots of opportunity here.
Like let's say it was six months.
Listen, we set them free for six months.
Shouldn't we get credit for that?
And so maybe we get like six months less worth of judgment, like maybe we get like a little bit 'cause for for a while there, we did pretty good.
We repented and we were doing pretty good.
For a little bit.
I understand we fell back into and we deserve judgment.
OK, but but shouldn't we get like a little bit less, not more severe judgment, not harsher judgment because we repented temporarily?
Shouldn't we get a?
Reduction in our sentence because there was a portion of that time, let's call it six months.
We did good.
We did right, we repented for that six months.
The Lord says no.
In fact, you get harsher penalty, you get greater judgment.
Because in doing that, you dishonored my name.
You misrepresented me.
You don't get partial credit because you've repented for.
A little bit.
You don't get a little bit less judgment because you.
Repented for a little bit.
Now you incur greater judgment.
When you repent.
Under false pretense when you repent.
With invalid motives and motivations.
You profane the name of God.
Many times we.
Kind of reduce things down to black and white.
Ones and zeros on or off.
And we can think of repentance as just say one moment in time.
And then one evening that happens after that, that's disconnected from from that repentance.
But it's not real repentance.
It's shown in the duration of time.
When they turned back again.
And re enslaved those servants that they had let go.
It was temporary repentance.
It wasn't true repentance.
A real change of heart.
It was a fake repentance.
And that profanes God.
Name you know sometimes.
It would be wise for us.
To hold our judgment, that is our understanding of a situation, to see what time bears out in a situation.
I always think back to the account of Rory's and his wife, Sharon.
Testimony that he gives and period of freedom.
On that night and.
Just completely enraged and ready to kill his family and kill himself.
Kicks the TV.
Pastor Chuck is on.
As the TV comes on and shares the gospel.
Is changed and transformed right there.
Then Sharon, his wife, comes home and he says I'm a Christian now.
And she said, yeah, right.
And I appreciate that it took her some time and I don't remember the exact amount of time that it required, but but it wasn't a day, it wasn't a week, it wasn't even months.
It was a significant portion of time for.
For her to recognize and agree and understand this is not temporary repentance.
But there's a real.
Change that has taken place here.
And it would be good for us sometimes to understand repentance in.
This way, not that.
We're always suspicious and skeptical.
Like, I don't know if you really repented, you know?
And so we're just, like, treating people in a suspicious.
Way like that.
But at the same time that we would guard ourselves against this idea of 1 moment, one decision, one situation, and and now it's once and for all.
We don't know if it's once and for all until the for all starts to play out.
The reversal that can take place many times, just like Pharaoh did.
I'll let the people go.
Yeah, never mind.
Just like the people of Jerusalem did here.
It profanes God name.
Has the marks.
That go along with it.
I always like this explanation or description that Paul gives in 2nd Corinthians 7 about repentance.
Verse 10 and 11 he says godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation not to be regretted, but the sorrow of the world produces death for observed this very theme.
You can see evidence here.
You sorrowed in a godly manner.
What diligence are produced in you, but clearing of yourselves?
What indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication?
And all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.
Paul says this wasn't a temporary repentance that took place.
To the Corinthians, he says.
You guys proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.
You proved it out there.
There was this observable, visible change that demonstrated this was not a temporary.
But it was proven by your behavior.
By time it was proven by what was produced in you.
There was real repentance.
And so repentance is observable.
It's visible, it's measurable.
And when we.
Try to get away with anything less than genuine repentance.
We need to understand.
It profanes the name of God.
It dishonors his name.
Hurts his reputation.
More judgment upon us.
Well, finally, verses 18 through 22, the third.
Part of this.
Broken promises to God bring judgment.
Broken promises to God bring judgment, verse 18.
And I will give the men.
Who have transgressed my covenant, who have not performed the words of the covenant which they made before me when they cut the calf in two and passed between the parts of it.
The Princess of Judah, the Princess of Jerusalem, the Unix, the priests, and all the people of the land who passed.
Between the parts of the calf.
I will give them into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who seek their life.
Their dead bodies shall be for meat, for the birds of the heaven and the beasts of the earth.
And I would give Zedekiah, King of Judah and his Princess, into the hand of their enemies, into the hand of those who seek their life, and into the hand of the king of Babylon's army, which.
Has gone back.
Behold, I will command, says the Lord, and cause them to return to the city.
They will fight against it, and take it and burn it with fire, and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation.
We're looking at these.
Things the Lord says in response to their return.
To enslaving their brethren against what God had written and declared in his word.
And we've been looking at different parts of it.
The obedience, the repentance, but now the promise.
God highlights here the covenant that they had made.
And he outlines here in verse 18 and 19 the the practice that they would have for covenants.
It's kind of strange and foreign to us.
But it was a practice that they had and that was that they would cut animals in half.
Leave them out so that one side was here once I was here, then there's the next animal once I was here, once I was there so that there's this row of animals.
Parts on one side, parts on the other side, making an aisle between these rows of animals.
And then people would walk through this I'll between the pieces of the animals making the covenant and it was picturing all right.
If I violate what I'm, uh, committing here and agreeing to here, then may I be like these dead animals that were standing?
In the midst of.
This was a practice of making covenants that had been around for a long time back in Genesis Chapter 15, when the Lord makes a.
Covenant with Abraham.
He gives Abraham instruction to set this up. He says. Bring me a 3 year old heifer, A3 year old female goat, a 3 year old Ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.
He brought these to him, cut them in two down the middle, placed each piece opposite the other, but he didn't cut the birds into.
And when it came to pass, when the sun was dark, behold, there appeared a smoking oven.
And a burning torch that passed between those pieces.
On the same day, the Lord made a covenant with Abraham, saying to your descendants, I've given this land from the river of Egypt to the Great River, the river Euphrates.
And so this practice of making a covenant in this way was something God even used.
To demonstrate the commitment that he was making to Abraham there and he passed between the pieces of the animal as a smoking oven and a burning torch.
God's not opposed to covenants.
But he is opposed.
To breaking covenants.
To breaking those commitments and those promises.
That are made to him.
And it gives us the indication here they made this.
Covenant, they went.
Through this process.
On the temple grounds in the name of the Lord.
In the presence of the Lord, they were in the the courtyard of the Lord.
They cut the pieces into Zedekiah meets with the people and he says, alright everybody, we are going to start obeying God in this matter and we need to, every one of us, let our servants go free.
Egypt rises up.
Babylon withdraws from Jerusalem.
And the people say, never mind.
Bring those servants back.
You're my servant, you're my slave once again, and how does God see that he?
It this way.
In verse 18 they have not performed the words of the covenant.
And again, I can hear the little bit of negotiation that potentially is happening.
Well, they did a little like we obeyed the words of the covenant for a season, for a time.
There was some time period that we obeyed.
We did obey.
Look, we let them go.
And let's be generous and call it for six months.
We we kept our promise for six months, Lord.
And I had to make my eggs every day, all by myself.
It was really challenging.
For six months I kept my promise and let those slaves go free.
Shouldn't I get partial credit?
Because for six months?
I kept my promise.
To you, Lord.
I did what I said I was going to do for six months for for.
This period of time.
God says no.
You made a covenant.
You made a commitment to me.
And some portion of that.
Doesn't equal the whole.
And any amount of breaking that covenant invalidates the covenant.
You don't get partial credit.
For partially keeping your promise.
You don't get reduced sentence because you.
Did good for a season in keeping the promise.
God says verse 20.
I will give them into the hand of their enemies and into the hand of those who seek their life.
The dead bodies shall be for meat, for the birds of the heaven and the beasts of the earth.
The Visual declaration of that covenant processes.
If I break this covenant, may I be like these dead animals, and God said, wish granted.
You broke the covenant.
Even though you kept it for a little bit, that doesn't count.
You broke the covenant.
Your bodies will be food for the beasts.
Of the field and the birds of heaven.
Babylons coming back?
They are going to be victorious.
And the people will experience the consequences.
For breaking the promise that they made to God.
Behold, I will command, says the Lord, and cause them to return to this city.
They will fight against it, and take it and burn it with fire, and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without inhabitant.
They broke their promise.
And God said, here's the consequence.
You don't get a OK, well, I'll save a couple of the people.
All you know, reduce your sentence because you kept your promise.
For a little bit.
Now your broken promise results in greater condemnation, greater judgment.
To think that we can make a promise to God.
To think that we can pretend repentance.
To think that we can temporarily obey.
And get the benefits that we want to get from God without actually surrendering our hearts before God.
Pastor Warren Rasby says before we condemn these dishonest masters too much.
Let's admit that God people often make promises to the Lord when when they're in tough times.
Only to repudiate them when things get better.
This isn't some strange unheard of.
Thing that the people of Judah.
Did at this time.
This is a common practice for humanity.
In times of crisis, times of desperation.
We're scrambling, we're trying to get out of it.
All we can see.
Is the challenge of the trial.
In our face and.
So we come up with a scheme, we come up with a plan.
But our hearts not really changed.
The Lord wants to remind us.
This evening it doesn't work that way.
You don't get to get partial credit.
Because you pretended for a little bit.
Because you held off for a little bit.
You don't get partial credit for partial obedience.
You can't get away.
With rebellion against God, you can't get away with pretending like you're not rebelling against God.
We can all pretend to obey for a little bit, but the only way that we can experience real obedience, real repentance, and and upholding of these commitments that we've made to God is for a real.
Submission to and transformation from God and it takes us back to what we went through on Sunday morning, the new covenant.
And one of the things that I left out in that teaching on the new covenant on Sunday was this new covenant.
That God promises to do the transformation in us, to do the change to, to work it out.
It means, then, that we need to be careful that we don't try to.
Fix the symptoms.
But that we go to the source so that when I find myself.
In issues of temporary obedience.
That I don't just like, OK, well, I'm just going to grit my teeth and determine to make this obedience not temporary.
Now we need to understand.
Temporal obedience reveals the condition of my heart, which means I need to go back to the Lord under the New Covenant and say Lord.
I need your word written in my heart so that I want to obey you, so that my obedience is not temporary.
I don't try to fix it by being more determined, by being, you know, more deliberate, by setting up more rules and laws.
In my life, temporary obedience is not solved by the law or by grit or by determination.
Temporary obedience is solved by the New Covenant.
And a new heart that God gives to us.
It's like when you have a medical issue, go to the doctor, don't try to resolve your medical issue so that you can go to the doctor just to be announced or pronounced healthy.
Right, like, no, like, that's the point.
You got a medical.
To go to the doctor, that's what the doctors for.
We I can't go to the doctor.
I've got a medical issue.
No, like that's right, you have a medical.
I should go to the doctor.
Listen, I have a temporary obedience issue.
Go to the Lord.
That's what the new covenant is for.
Go to God and ask him to change you and transform.
You have a temporary repentance issue.
It profanes the name of God.
Don't let that go on.
That's not that's a bad issue.
Well, I can't go to the Lord 'cause.
I got a temporary repentance issue.
No, no, that's what the Lord is saying.
Come to me.
You need a new heart.
Your repentance is temporary.
It doesn't last.
You need me to change you.
You need me to transform you.
You can't do that.
You can't change yourself.
You can't change your.
Heart, you need to ask God to change you.
I have a broken promise issue.
I keep telling God and do all these things and making these commitments to God.
I know he wants to do these things.
He's laid him out in his word, and I keep trying and trying and trying, and I I just can't find a way to be obedient to God and keep the promises and commitments that I'm making to him.
Yeah, you have a broken promise issue.
You need to go to the Lord.
I gotta figure out how to keep my promises so that then I can go to the Lord.
No, you're relating to God on the basis of the.
Old covenant seeking to.
Earn or deserve.
You're trying to have a performance based relationship with God that doesn't work.
It's a new covenant.
You have broken promises.
You need God to change you.
You've shown signs of that temporary repentance.
You need God to change you.
You have temporary obedience issues.
You need God to write his word on your heart.
So that you want to, that you desire to, that you're able to walk in obedience to him.
And so these things should be neon signs for us.
Big arrows pointing us back to God every time you fail.
And that promise you made to God?
Every time your repentance is proven to be temporary, every time your obedience is shown to not have been real, genuine obedience.
Our tendency will be to run.
Away from God to hold off from.
God, to beat ourselves up or to try?
To get away with it.
But the benefit, the blessing of the new covenant, is we can go to God and say, God, look at this neon sign.
I've blown it here.
I'm a wreck here.
I can't keep my promise no matter how.
Hard I try.
God, I need you to change me and to do the work in me that needs to be done.
That I would have a new heart.
That I would walk in obedience to you, willingly, joyfully.
It's not a burden.
That I would repent and really change.
That would be lasting and be proven out by time.
Lord, that all my commitments to you would be upheld and fulfilled.
Because you have done a new work in me, let's Pray, Lord, I pray for each one of us.
And Lord, may we see clearly our hearts today.
And our need for you.
But help us to recognize when we're trying to negotiate, when we're trying to get away trying to.
Get one over on you receiving the blessings without having the real submission or repentance happening in our hearts.
But may we be face to face with reality.
We don't get away with anything.
The reality is, you see it all.
And so when we come to you.
Acknowledging these issues.
Acknowledging the disobedience.
Or the lack of true repentance.
The broken promises.
And by faith in Jesus Christ.
By faith in your finished work.
But we proclaim your name.
And we ask for mercy and grace.
Lord, would you change us?
Would you transform us?
Would you make us like you?
Lord, that we would not profane your name, but that we would bring honor and glory to your name.
But it's an impossible task recognizing.
The condition of our heart.
But what's impossible with man is possible with you.
So, Lord, would you do that new covenant work?
We do our part, Lord.
We believe you at your word.
We come to you.
With a genuine heart open.
Honest and trusting you.
To forgive us.
And to change us.
And so, Lord, we look forward to that work.
We pray that you would do it quickly.
That your name?
Would be honored and glorified in our lives.
Pray this in Jesus name.