Those who cannot learn from history are doomedtorepeat it... Solomon said, “That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, ‘See, this is new’? It has already been in ancient times before us” (Eccl. 1:9, 10).
Sin against God is nothing new. The Holy Scriptures are full of examples of individual people, or a people, that refuse to submit to the will of God and immerse themselves in all forms of immorality. In the book of Jeremiah we see the southern kingdom of Judah, often called Israel, being warned over and over again that they are a “backsliding” people (13 times). The Hebrews have “committed iniquity” (or sin, transgression, etc. —53 times) against Jehovah. She should thus “return” (47 times) to the Lord. Because of their sins, the people of Judah would be “scattered” (14 times) and held “captive,” or be in “captivity” (51 times) by the Babylonians.
Jeremiah seeks to bring his people to a state of repentance (cf. 7:2-7). If Judah will turn back to God, she can avoid the horrible destruction that looms like a dark cloud on the horizon (the Babylonian invasion). Eventually, though, it became apparent that the people had no intention of abandoning their immorality. It was Jeremiah’s sad task to warn them of the approaching destruction (see 21:1-10). He informed them that this catastrophe was a judgment from God. They must submit to it and take their punishment.
America has become an immoral nation. At every turn we have some new group which hopes to kick God out of our society and further pervert our civilization. In Jeremiah 6:9-15, the writer lays out 4 problems that, when analyzed, are very similar to the problems we are faced with today.
First, they were a people driven by greed. The people to whom Jeremiah preached were a covetous people. God said, “Because from the least of them even to the greatest of them, everyone is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even to the priest, everyone deals falsely” (Jer. 6:13). In Jer. 22:17, we are told, "Yet your eyes and your heart are for nothing but your covetousness, for shedding innocent blood, and practicing oppression and violence."It is no surprise that these people had no time or desire to give heed to Jeremiah — they were too busy making yet another shekel. As in Jeremiah’s day so in ours, covetousness confuses the values of those who give themselves to it.
Christ tells us in Luke 12:15-21, "...Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."
No scriptural warning is needed in our nation any more than the warning against the love of money. Paul states to Timothy in 1 Tim. 6:9, 10, "But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."
Second, we have become a nation that is shamelessly proud of sin. God asked, “Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed; nor did they know how to blush” (Jer. 6:15). Through repeated sin, we can harden our consciences to the point where we feel no pangs of guilt — we become insensitive to shame. When we give ourselves over to sin, we eventually get to the point where we are “past feeling.”
Eph. 4:17-19 - This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness
1 Tim. 4:2 – Speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron.
Rom. 1:32 – Who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
Phil. 3:19 – Whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame — who set their mind on earthly things
As in Jeremiah’s age, ours is characterized by the inability to feel ashamed. It is a very dangerous thing to lose our sense of shame. Without shame, there is no repentance. It is godly sorrow that produces repentance.
2 Cor. 7:10 – For godly sorrow produces repentance to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.
Third, we are a nation that is outwardly religious, but we take no true delight in God's Word. The people of Judah had not dispensed with the outward aspects of worship to God — in fact, they laid great store by the temple, the sacrifices, and the law. However, their heart did not emulate this outward show of religion.
“Indeed their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot give heed. Behold, the word of the Lord is a reproach to them; they have no delight in it” (Jer. 6:10).
For all their show of religion, they had no real love for what God was saying to them. Our nation today is outwardly quite religious — but there is little genuine regard for God Himself or for the truth of His word. Jesus warned about making a show of religion without the substance in Matt. 13:13-15: "Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: 'Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive; For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with theirears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them."
Matt. 15:7-9 – Hypocrites!Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.
Finally, we are soothed by the comfort of false teachers. As bad as spiritual conditions were in Jeremiah’s day, it was even worse that the people were lulled into a false sense of security by those who falsely preached that all was well. God said, “They have also healed the hurt of My people slightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ when there is no peace” (Jer. 6:14). Warnings of God’s judgment have never been popular — but they are needed.
Isa. 30:9,10 – That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children who will not hear the law of the Lord; who say to the seers, ‘Do not see,’ and to the prophets, ‘Do not prophesy to us right things; speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits
The work of the “watchman” is a serious responsibility (Ezek. 33:1-11) The crowd-pleasing teachers of our day are those who make people feel good about themselves in their present condition. We do not want to be disturbed. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Tim. 4:3,4). But when spiritual conditions are such that people need to be warned, it is a serious mistake either to preach or to listen to preaching that says, “Peace, peace!”
It is foolish to fail to learn from the past, especially with regard to Bible history.
Rom. 15:4 – For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope
1 Cor. 10:11 – Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages have come
God’s judgment upon sin cannot be turned aside without a genuine change of heart.
“Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls” (Jer. 6:16).