Watching TV this last week, I was confronted by some tragic scenes of parents crying at the death
of children. What an awful time these people were going through. I also know that many here have
also had that same feeling of tragic loss of a loved one.
Recently I was in church on a Sunday and in came a man half way through the service. He sat
alone and seemed very quiet and somehow out of place. After the service had ended I waited for
him to come down the aisle and I reached out my hand and said hello. As the conversation
continued he shared that his wife had die the previous week and he came to this church instead of
his own because the minister at this church had performed the funeral days before. As he shared
about his wife of more than 55 years the tears poured down showing the impact of the tearing away
of his lifelong soul mate. Those tears like ours when we confront the loss of someone so dear and
loved speaks of how much they meant to us.
Jeremiah is sometimes called the weeping prophet and as we turn to a passage like Jeremiah 8:18
and following we can see that heart break Jeremiah felt and see also how God Himself were crying
over the nation of Israel as the nation continues to run away from God. In the New Testament in
Luke 19:41 we see Jesus weeping over Jerusalem as He knew what was to befall the city in days to
Jeremiah begins with a cry out loud to God to listen to him in his time of grief. This is the sort of cry
that I was in those TV pictures and the voices of the people as they cried out “Help us”
When we see people like that we know, as in our own cases, it is not because we are weak but
rather know that we care for what is happening. Jeremiah is certainly caring for the people. He sees
what is going on, he is in the midst of the nation’s running away from God and he sees that they are
blinded to the truth, consider what the people are saying in the midst of the disaster “19 Listen to
the cry of my people from a land far away: "Is the LORD not in Zion? Is her King no longer there?"
Somehow the people still think that God is on their side despite what they are doing to His words
and living lives that are very much opposed to the one true God that they seem to think they are
Jeremiah makes this clear in the last part of verse 19 "Why have they provoked me to anger with
their images, with their worthless foreign idols?" The people despite being warned in the 10
commandments and over and over again about idols have ignored the warnings and have gone
their own way. We sometimes laugh and wonder how the people of God, the apple of His eye could
ever give into idols? Remember that shortly after crossing the Red Sea they fell back into creating a
Golden Calf. Surely they should have learnt their lesson but no. That was some 2600 years ago, we
have progressed beyond foolish idols, or have we, consider today in this world1. Remember what
an idol is- it is anything that replaces God as out first love
●First, we worship at the altar of materialism which feeds our need to build our
egos through the acquisition of more “stuff.”
●Second, we worship at the altar of our own pride and ego. This often takes the form of
obsession with careers and jobs. Millions of men—and increasingly more women—spend
60-80 hours a week working.
●Third, we idolize mankind through naturalism and the power of science. We cling to the
illusion that we are lords of our world and build our self-esteem to godlike proportions. We
reject God’s Word and His description of how He created the heavens and the earth, and we
accept the words of atheistic evolution and naturalism.
●Finally, and perhaps most destructively, we worship at the altar of self or the fulfilment of the
self to the exclusion of all others and their needs and desires
As a result of these modern idols God is often put out of the picture. This is why many present day
Christians are weeping for the world we live in. This abandonment of God helps to explain the
condition of the world as expressed in Romans 1:21-25
Romans 1:21-25 (NIV)
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their
thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the
immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the
degrading of their bodies with one another.
25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than
the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen.
How dumb can the people of Jeremiah’s day be? Instead of recognizing the problem they faced
they seemed to be asking a question of God.
In verse 20 is the natural flow of the seasons that is the harvest follows the summer growing time,
what this is showing is that the people expect to be forgiven for their sins. It is like saying, OK we
have messed up but it’s God’s job to forgive us unconditionally ignore what we have done, it is
natural that GOD should forgive no matter what we do.
This attitude makes Jeremiah weep and feeling crushed. All the work and truth that God has given
to the people is of no effect.
I don’t know what your kids are like, I know there are times that my heart breaks for mine as I see
what they are doing, despite the guidance that they have received from Mary and me. Yet what joy
we have when we see our kids succeeding even years later when they take the advice.
But not here in Israel and it is crushing and depressing to Jeremiah as he expresses the heart of
Jeremiah continues almost with a proverb when he speaks of the Balm of Gilead. At the time this
was a real medicine. Balm of Gilead a rare perfume used medicinally. In this case the people had
the healing solution to their need, but chose not to use it. The cure for their situation was to return to
God but they chose not to follow that path.
Sort of like when we go to the doctor and they give us a script, we might go and get it filled but if we
do not take the medication we really have no right to complain that our condition is not getting
In the New Testament we are warned in Philippians 3:18-19 (NIV) “18 For, as I have often told you
before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their
destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on
As with Israel 2600 years ago, the Roman world of 2000 years ago and even today there is a cure
for the ills of this world, that is Christ. Yet so often there are many of our own families, friends,
neighbours and others in this world they choose to ignore God and not turn from their ways. Only
when we have Jeremiah's kind of passion for those who do not know Jesus will we are moved to
help. We must begin by asking God to break our heart for the world he loves. Who can we start to
First I would suggest that we start with ourselves, if we have that heart, that passion let’s give
thanks and ask God to increase it and empower us to reach out with the good news of Jesus. If we
are not fully committed with the passion of a Jeremiah pray that God will open our eyes to see what
Jeremiah saw in the people.
Think about DL Moody
When Dwight L. Moody was in London during one of his famous evangelistic tours, several British
clergymen visited him. They wanted to know how and why this poorly educated American was so
effective in winning throngs of people to Christ. Moody took the three men to the window of his hotel
room and asked each in turn what he saw. One by one, the men described the people in the park
below. Then Moody looked out the window with tears rolling down his cheeks. “What do you see,
Mr. Moody?” asked one of the men.
“I see countless thousands of souls that will one day spend eternity in hell if they do not find the
Obviously, D. L. Moody saw people differently than the average observer does. And because he
saw eternal souls where others saw only people strolling in a park, Moody approached life with a
Pray that everyone who is part of this church or any Church in this town will have this same
passion, think about the difference it would make to this community!
1)Is our world in trouble? Can having a relationship with Jesus make a difference?
2)If yes, pray that over the next month two people will start a spiritual conversation with you.
Pray also that you will have ears to hear and the Spirit will give you the words to share
3)Inside the notices you will find a handout titled “My Book of Life” Have a read of it and use it
to pray for others who, like the People Jeremiah was preaching to would turn from their
ways and come back to God.