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Jeremiah: the Behavior Makeover

Main Point: God will use living object lessons to restore good behavior!
Back Story - Behind the Scenes of History

Divided Kingdoms

Israel would finally have kings and a kingdom like everyone else. But poor decisions divided it into two parts, the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and the Southern Kingdom (Judah) . The Kingdom of Israel was godless from its beginning and was the first to fall to foreign powers. It experienced Exile and was a nation no more. The Kingdom of Judah had several godly kings (as well as some real toots), but it always eventually fell back into Baal worship and the multi-gods worship of the Egyptians. Jeremiah comes on the scene to tell Judah and her kings to straighten up their behavior before God or they were the next into Exile! As the Babylonian Empire takes over the Southern Kingdom, Jeremiah tells the king and the people to submit to God's punishment of the taking away their freedom, but the king and his people refuse to change their ways, sure that God wouldn't destroy the city of Jerusalem where His holy Temple was. They gambled, they threw dice, but all they got were snake eyes!

What's Exile?

Good question. You know how a criminal is given a sentence for committing a crime against his community? Well what do you do if a whole nation rebels against the Empire they've sworn allegiance to? Several things happen to take away freedom as a punishment, but the ultimate weapon used for 1000's of years was Exile. Exile was taking a rebellious nation, breaking it up into family groups, scattering these groups all over the Empire. In other words, that rebellious nation no longer existed! As far as my research has found, no nation has ever survived His punishment except Judah (who experienced this TWICE and survived) and Israel!

Two-Faced?

The more I study about Jeremiah the more intrigued I become! He was a complicated man of at least two sides: Jeremiah (the man) was gentle, sensitive, quiet, soft-spoken, and had a romantic desire for love and marriage; Jeremiah (the man of God) was tough as nails in delivering his unpopular messages from God, unbending in determination concerning letting people know the consequences of their behavior, and rock steady in his certainty of coming judgment for Judah's idolatry. Quite a contrast within one man!

Object Lessons

Since the people weren't responding to Jeremiah's messages of warning and judgment, God used a more "visual" form of learning to not only communicate differently, but to drive the point home more effectively! This method still works today in almost any culture on the globe. If you want to read about Jeremiah's object lessons, look at (Jeremiah 13:1-11) (Jeremiah 13:12-27) (Jeremiah 16:1-9) (Jeremiah 18:1-23) (Jeremiah 19:1-15) (Jeremiah 24:1-10)

Jeremiah's Treatment

In tonight's monologue, Jeremiah mentions not being treated too well. In fact, he was put in chains, imprisoned several times, thrown into a cistern (it's a holding tank carved out of solid rock that caught the run-off of rain water from the city gutters; it was used as drinking water in hard times) and sunk in its mud up to his neck before being rescued.

The Makeover

God always holds out hope for restoration of our behavior!

Q: What was the point of the first object lesson?

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Q: Judah's bad behavior centered around idol worship and not caring what God thought (apathy). What kinds of behavior does our society put in front of God?

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God always hold out hope for restoration, but eventually I run out of time to take it! As God speaks through Jeremiah, I can easily see this as a novel approach to his story. Or, I can believe that God brought this story into my life to challenge some of my patterns of how I'm behaving. I can say all the right stuff, but does my behavior back up all those nice-sounding Christian words?

In the last game of the 2004 NBA Finals, the L.A. Lakers were down 3-1 in the series and were about to be eliminated. They said in numerous interviews before the game that they needed to play good defense, not to argue with the referees, and go to their main scorers. They were blown out 102-84 because they never changed their behavior!

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