Two evils or sins of Israel are revealed
"13For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water."
These are: Israel had forsaken God as the source of all truth, and they established their own idea of "truth."
A. Israel started in devotion toward God at Mt Sinai in their youth, "2... the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness ... 3Israel was holiness unto the Lord, and the firstfruits of his increase: all that devour him shall offend; evil shall come upon them, saith the Lord." The espousals reflect the Hebrew word hesed meaning covenantal, loyalty, faithfulness, enduring love.
- kindness (vs 2),
- early love (vs 2),
- following me [the Lord] (vs 2),
- separated unto the Lord (vs 3),
- firstfruits (vs 3), and
- defended by the Lord (vs 3).
B. Israel changed their heart from following the Lord, "5... that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain? 6Neither said they, Where is the Lord that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought, and of the shadow of death, through a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt? 7And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled my land, and made mine heritage an abomination. 8The priests said not, Where is the Lord? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit."
- heart departed from me (vs 5)
- pursued vanity (vs 5)
- did not cling to their provider (vs 6)
- defiled the land by behavior (vs 6)
- made foolish choices (vs 7)
- did not ask after the Lord who led them (vs 8)
- priests did not learn and teach the law of God (vs 8)
- teachers taught falsely (vs 8)
- prophets spoke for idols, not God (vs 8)
- pursued fruitless things (vs 8)
C. Israel sought other alliances and polities, "16Also the children of Noph and Tahapanes have broken the crown of thy head. 17Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, when he led thee by the way? 18And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? or what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river?"
- sought political alliances (vs 18; went down to Egypt who failed them, 1Kgs 11:2; Isa 30:2; 31:3)
- sought swill (vs 18), i.e. false truths from secularism (2Chr 25:15, 20. What profound truths does secularism have to offer above God's words?)
D. Israel manifested no fear of God to her loss, "19Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord God of hosts. 20For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot. 21Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me?" [By Humility and the Fear of the Lord are Riches, and Honor, and Life.]
- changed affections from a living God to a dead idol (vs 11, 19).
- prefered sexual sins of cult idolatry (vs 20, Eze 16:36 [and child immolation or sacrifice to Moloch in the valley of Hinnom, 2Chr 28:3; 33:6; Jer 7:31-32; 32:35; 2Kgs 23:10])
- left freedom and entered slavery again (vs 20)
- accepted a false, useless substitute (vs 11, 21).
E. Israel essentially said, "I will not serve God!" by their actions, "20b... thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot."
- sought out high hills for altars (vs 20, 1Kgs 14:23; 16:4; 17:10; 2Chr 28:4; Jer 13:27; 17:2; Eze 6:13; 20:28; 23:21, 27-29; Hos 10:8; etc.)
- sought out groves for cult prostitutes (vs 20, 1Kgs 14:23; 16:4; 17:10; 2Chr 28:4; Jer 13:27; 17:2; Eze 6:13; 20:28; 23:21, 27-29; Hos 10:8, etc.)
F. Israel declared, "I am not defiled" by their words, "23How canst thou say, I am not polluted, I have not gone after Baalim? see thy way in the valley, know what thou hast done: thou art a swift dromedary traversing her ways; 24A wild ass used to the wilderness, that snuffeth up the wind at her pleasure; in her occasion who can turn her away? all they that seek her will not weary themselves; in her month they shall find her."
- freely deceived herself (vs 23, Jdg 2:11; 3:7; 8:33; 10:6, 10; 1Sam 7:4; 12:10; etc.)
- acted as a straying donkey or wild ass in "heat" seeking to breed (vs 24, 2Chr 33:3; 24:7; 28:2; 33:3; Jer 9:14; Hos 11:2, etc.)
- none could turn aside her "animal lust" (vs 24, Jer 2:27-28; Eze 18:30; Hos 5:4; etc.)
G. Israel declared by words and deeds, "I love my foreign gods," "25Withhold thy foot from being unshod, and thy throat from thirst: but thou saidst, There is no hope: no; for I have loved strangers, and after them will I go."
- sought out other gods (vs 25, 2Kgs 17:28-32; 2Chr 25:15, 20; etc.)
- kept wilfulness, sought idolatry (vs 25, Deut 29:18; 31:16; Jdg 2:12; 10:6; Psa 10:4; Matt 12:29; 16:4)
H. Israel proclaimed false allegiance by their words, "26As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets. 27Saying to a stock, Thou art my father; and to a stone, Thou hast brought me forth: for they have turned their back unto me, and not their face: but in the time of their trouble they will say, Arise, and save us. 28But where are thy gods that thou hast made thee? let them arise, if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble: for according to the number of thy cities are thy gods, O Judah. 29Wherefore will ye plead with me? ye all have transgressed against me, saith the Lord. 30In vain have I smitten your children; they received no correction: your own sword hath devoured your prophets, like a destroying lion."
- said to wood (dead thing) you gave me life, "Thou art my Father" (vs 27)
- said to stone(s) (mere minerals) you generated or created me, "Thou hast brought me forth" (vs 27)
- believed that wood, stones, metals fashioned by their hands were real, powerful gods (vs 27a, contrast Deut 5:24; Psa 115:1-9)
- wanted the Lord to help them instead when trouble came (vs 27-28); PURE HYPOCRISY!, (Deut 4:39-40; 6:24)
- refused instruction from punishments, why accuse me (vs 29-30, Jer 14:10)
- killed those who would rebuke you (vs 30, Matt 23:37; Luke 13:34)
I. Israel's idolaters claimed superiority in their thinking, "31O generation, see ye the word of the Lord. Have I been a wilderness unto Israel? a land of darkness? wherefore say my people, We are lords; we will come no more unto thee? 32Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number. 33Why trimmest thou thy way to seek love? therefore hast thou also taught the wicked ones thy ways."
- acted as if God gave them no light or knowledge (vs 31, Deut 4:8)
- asserted their superior thinking, "I am my own boss." (vs 31, Matt 9:4)
- forgot who loved them as a living being (vs 32, Deut 7:8; Isa 43:4; Jer 31:3; Mal 1:2)
- taught this wandering behavior to their children and strangers (vs 33, Jer 28:16; 29:32)
J. Israel's bald-faced lies are known, "34Also in thy skirts is found the blood of the souls of the poor innocents: I have not found it by secret search, but upon all these. 35Yet thou sayest, Because I am innocent, surely his anger shall turn from me. Behold, I will plead with thee, because thou sayest, I have not sinned. 36Why gaddest thou about so much to change thy way? thou also shalt be ashamed of Egypt, as thou wast ashamed of Assyria. 37Yea, thou shalt go forth from him, and thine hands upon thine head: for the Lord hath rejected thy confidences, and thou shalt not prosper in them."
- their sins were easily known and displayed before all to see (vs 34)
- made the secularist claim of "good moral behavior" (vs 35) [i.e. more "good deeds" than bad, while fully sinning in rebellion and idolatry]
- pretended self-deception was profitable (vs 36, Isa 44:11-18)
- ignored their wandering behavior that lead to numerous punishments and exile (vs 30, 37, Deut 4:26; 28:52; Eze 6:5)
But ... "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." (2Chr 7:14)
Lessons from Israel's good and bad behavior
"For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." (Rom 15:4); "Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." (1Cor 10:11); "But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light." (Eph 5:13)
A. The best course of action is first to love and worship the Creator, "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." (Deut 6:5); "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." (Matt 22:37); "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment." (Mark 12:30); "And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself." (Luke 10:27)
B. The second thing is to follow Paul's advice, "1If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." (Col 3:1-3); "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." (Rom 12:1)
C. Then pursue righteousness, "Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the Lord your God." (Lev 20:7); "But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy." (1Pet 1:15-16); "Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness." (1Pet 3:11); "3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love." (Eph 1:3-4)
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." (Php 4:8); "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost." (Rom 15:13)
Beware we become what we follow!
Do not seek to be amused, amazed, entertained. Seek God first, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matt 6:33)
-Idolatry, Adultery & Sexual Perversion- (5 page series)