TEXT: Jeremiah 2:1-9
1 Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
2 Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the Lord; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown.
3 Israel 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.
4 Hear ye the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel:
5 Thus saith the Lord, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain?
6 Neither 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?
7 And 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.
8 The 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.
9 Wherefore I will yet plead with you, saith the Lord, and with your children’s children will I plead.
Another hymn popular in the black church that was written by a white brother is “A Charge to Keep I Have,” by Charles Wesley
A charge to keep I have,
A God to glorify,
A never-dying soul to save,
And fit it for the sky.
To serve the present age,
My calling to fulfill:
Oh, may it all my pow’rs engage
To do my Master’s will!
Arm me with jealous care,
As in Thy sight to live;
And O Thy servant, Lord, prepare
A strict account to give!
Help me to watch and pray,
And on Thyself rely,
Assured, if I my trust betray,
I shall forever die.
Regarding this passage, The Bible Knowledge Commentary edited by John Walvoord and Roy Zuck states: “Jeremiah’s first message confronted Jerusalem with her waywardness. To emphasize this Jeremiah contrasted Judah’s former devotion with her present departure from God. At the time of the Exodus, Israel loved God and followed Him through the desert. Israel had her lapses of faith when she murmured against God in the wilderness wanderings, but God in His grace and ‘forbearance’ passed over her. Yet for the most part she had remained faithful as a nation. Israel had been set apart as holy to the LORD. Just as the firstfruits of the harvest belonged to God, so Israel had been chosen as the first nation to worship the Lord. Those who devoured her were as guilty as those who ate of the firstfruits dedicated to God, and God would bring disaster on them.
“Israel’s faithfulness to God, however, did not last. Jacob (a synonym for Israel) followed worthless idols, forgetting that the LORD had led them through the desert into a fertile land. And the people defiled the land with their idolatry. Jeremiah singled out the three groups charged with leading the nation and exposed their lack of obedience. The priests who were to instruct the people in the ways of God did not know God, that is, they themselves did not have an intimate relationship with the One about whom they were teaching.
“The leaders (literally, ‘shepherds’) were the political and civil leaders appointed by God to guide and protect the nation. In the early history of Israel this function was fulfilled by judges, but later the duty was assigned to kings. Ironically the ones who were to lead Judah were themselves in need of correction. They rebelled against the One who had appointed them to their task.
“The prophets were the third group charged with leading the nation. But instead of declaring God’s words of rebuke and correction, they prophesied by Baal and urged the people to follow worthless idols. Baal was a Canaanite god of fertility whose worship was a constant thorn in Israel’s side.”
When God delivered Israel out of slavery in Egypt, He allowed them to remain in the wilderness for forty years. This wilderness experience became a training ground for the birth of a nation. God, through Moses and Aaron, meticulously taught the Hebrews about their most important relationship — their relationship with Himself. God taught Israel how to live holy before Him. He taught them how to relate to each other, how to serve Him and serve each other, and how to petition for forgiveness and atonement when they failed in their duties of religion and relationship.
With forty years of training and preparation, Israel was set up for success in regards to the duties of faith. Strong family and community traditions had been established, each focused on the centrality of trust in God as the basis for Israel’s success and establishment.
Likewise with America — Our country was founded in the light of a very strong Judeo-Christian religious tradition. The first settlers in this nation regarded both their fortunes and their struggles as being under the guidance of the divine hand. Throughout American history, Christian religious influence has been the engine of much progress in this country. As noted by Jon Butler in the Journal of American History, “It has seldom been possible, much less wise, to assess American history without taking religion seriously… Historians have long found religion critical to the American experience, not just in New England [where the Great Awakenings were sparked], but in the middle colonies and states, in the increasingly evangelical South, and on the frontier. Indeed, so much reform is traced to Protestant evangelicalism — from abolition, women’s rights, education, and still more…”
If Christianity and the reform that it produced in this nation was the catalyst for such positive change, progress, and establishment, what happened to us along the way? Why do we see headlines today lamenting the decline in church membership, declining church baptisms, lack of interest in faith, and a near abandonment of the church by the latest generation to come of age?
Well, the same thing is happening to us that happened to ancient Israel. Or, to put it more accurately, we have done the same thing that Israel did. We have turned our backs on God and on the faith of our fathers. And if we don’t repent, we will continue to suffer as Israel suffered during her time of rebellion.
Albert E. Evans wrote:
Lord, to Thee alone we turn,
To Thy cross for safety fly;
There, as penitents, to learn
How to live and how to die.
Sinful on our knees we fall;
Hear us, as for help we plead;
Hear us when on Thee we call;
Aid us in our time of need.
In the midst of sin and strife,
In the depths of mortal woe,
Teach us, Lord, to live a life
Meet for sojourners below.
Though the road be oft times dark,
Though the feet in weakness stray,
Lead us, Savior as the ark
Led Thy chosen on their way.
Weak and weary and alone
When the vale of death we tread,
Then be all Thy mercy shown,
Then be all Thy love displayed;
Guard us in that darksome hour,
Lead us to the land of rest,
Where, secure from Satan’s power,
We may lie upon Thy breast.
If you are a Christian listening today, here are three things you need to do:
1. Confess and repent of your own sins. You already know what they are.
2. Pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ to repent of their sins and get back to their first love
3. Pray for souls to be saved, and do your part by witnessing to the lost.
Now, if you are with us today and you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can place your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin and Hell.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the Cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at [email protected] and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.