2 Chronicles 7:13-14
Weeping over sins versus obedience is a very common occurrence, but in
the majority of the cases it is because people are sorry that they got
caught doing something wrong.
We hear this when people get a speeding or parking ticket, because they didnít obey the law.
We hear it from people who get caught for committing a crime, because they didnít obey the laws of the land.
And we hear people weeping over sins they have committed against Godís heavenly will, and unfortunately only a few of these instances are because people made an unintentional mistake; however, the vast majority are because they are facing Godís judgement for they wanted to live in the corrupt and evil ways of this world.
So, if we are obedient to Godís heavenly will, we wonít be doing the things that cause us to be weeping over sins.
Weeping over sins for deliberately disobeying God is the subject of todayís discussion; letís begin by looking at Psalm 137:1-9Ö
1. By the rivers of Babylon,
There we sat down and wept,
When we remembered Zion.
Because the people of Judah and Jerusalem didnít obey God and didnít heed the warnings of the prophets sent to them, the Babylonians fought against them and sent their hostages and captives into exile in Babylon, which woke the people up to what they had lost, causing them to be weeping over sins.
2. Upon the willows in the midst of it
We hung our harps.
3. For there our captors demanded of us songs,
And our tormentors mirth, saying,
"Sing us one of the songs of Zion."
Whether the people of Babylon were sincere or just taunting the captives, doesnít really matter; for the Israelites were in deep sorrow and didnít want to sing about what they had lost because they failed to obey God.
4. How can we sing the Lord's song
In a foreign land?
5. If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
May my right hand forget her skill.
6. May my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth,
If I do not remember you,
If I do not exalt Jerusalem
Above my chief joy.
They are weeping over sins because they failed to be obedient.
They had pledged obedience to Godís heavenly will, but instead they went after the worldly ways of the people around them.
They failed to extend the love of God to every other person and to every animal, and they even went after the false gods of the people around them, including the Babylonians, whose sacrificial system Abraham brought with him when he answered Godís call.
God wants obedience and not sacrifice.
Only the devil wants suffering, bloodshed, and death.
And now the captive people of Judah have experienced the bloody ways that they had inflicted upon their animals.
7. Remember, O LORD, against the sons of Edom
The day of Jerusalem,
Who said, "Raze it, raze it,
To its very foundation."
8. O daughter of Babylon, you devastated one,
How blessed will be the one who repays you
With the recompense with which you have repaid us.
9. How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones
Against the rock.
Instead of truly repenting and seeking the heavenly will of God in their
lives, they want Godís wrath instead of peace to come upon Babylon, but God
saw a better way.
We strongly believe that violence only begets more violence, because the infliction of harm upon any other living being or Godís beautiful creation causes us to harden our hearts and make us indifferent to the suffering our ungodly ways of life causes.
In addition, when we have a hard heart, we fail to fully hear the unction of the Holy Spirit, which is the way that most of the people in Judah and Babylon were, and how most of the people of today are.
Itís time we wake up and repent and return to Godís heavenly will and eat only the plant foods God created for us to eat, so that once again we will have peace with the whole of Godís creation.
There is absolutely no reason to be disobedient to Godís heavenly will, and end up weeping over sins.
Letís think about these things as we look at Lamentations 1:1-6Ö
1. How lonely sits the city
That was full of people!
She has become like a widow
Who was once great among the nations!
She who was a princess among the provinces
Has become a forced laborer!
Jeremiah, ďthe weeping prophet,Ē is lamenting over what has become of
Jerusalem and the people who used to live there.
The people have been led away into captivity because of their sins against God, and even their leaders have become forced laborers.
2. She weeps bitterly in the night,
And her tears are on her cheeks;
She has none to comfort her
Among all her lovers.
All her friends have dealt treacherously with her;
They have become her enemies.
Jeremiah envisions Jerusalem weeping, but in reality we believe that itís Jeremiah who is weeping over sins, the sins of the former inhabitants of Jerusalem.
3. Judah has gone into exile under affliction,
And under harsh servitude;
She dwells among the nations,
But she has found no rest;
All her pursuers have overtaken her
In the midst of distress.
The time to be weeping over sins is when they first happen, and not when it is too late, as it is when God passes judgement upon us, as we believe it is about to happen today for the ways our society has disobeyed God, and gone after the corrupt and evil ways of this world with all its violence, suffering, bloodshed, and death.
4. The roads of Zion are in mourning
Because no one comes to the appointed feasts.
All her gates are desolate;
Her priests are groaning,
Her virgins are afflicted,
And she herself is bitter.
The priests knew the truth, or should have known it, as should our religious leaders today, but they followed the ways of the world around them and led their people astray.
5. Her adversaries have become her masters,
Her enemies prosper;
For the LORD has caused her grief
Because of the multitude of her transgressions;
Her little ones have gone away
As captives before the adversary.
6. And all her majesty
Has departed from the daughter of Zion;
Her princes have become like bucks
That have found no pasture;
And they have fled without strength
Before the pursuer.
Before we go on, letís think about what we are told in 2 Chronicles 7:13-14Ö
13. If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or
if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My
14. and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
We need to remember that it took 70 years of weeping over sins, before
the captives from Judah were freed from Babylon and allowed to return to
Judah and Jerusalem.
And all that suffering could have been avoided if the people remained obedient to God in the first place, just as we are encouraging people to do today.
The hard of heart, those who are indifferent to the pain and suffering of the whole of creation, have no place in the kingdom of God.
When we start having empathy for the whole of creation, including every human, every animal, and the environment, and feeling the suffering as if it was our own, we have become the peacemaking children of God that the Lord called us to be.
Jeremiah was one of those people in his day, and would most likely have even expanded his empathy further today, but in Lamentations 3:1-6, we can see his empathy for the people.
1. I am the man who has seen affliction
Because of the rod of His wrath.
Jeremiah feels the pain and suffering of the people who have disobeyed the Lord, because of the wrath of God that has befallen them.
2. He has driven me and made me walk
In darkness and not in light.
As Godís prophet to the wayward people, Jeremiah felt driven by God into the same darkness as the disobedient people, and thus he is weeping over sins along with the people.
3. Surely against me He has turned His hand
Repeatedly all the day.
He feels the judgement of God himself along with the people who have turned their backs to the heavenly will of God, even though Jeremiah has remained faithful to the Lord.
4. He has caused my flesh and my skin to waste away,
He has broken my bones.
5. He has besieged and encompassed me with bitterness and hardship.
The true sign of being one with God is having the unconditional empathy that makes us feel the suffering of creation as if it is our own.
6. In dark places He has made me dwell,
Like those who have long been dead.
We do not have to be like the people of this world who have or will be
dying in their sins, and who have hardened their hearts and souls to the
heavenly will of God.
These people are indifferent to the suffering of others, and seem to actually enjoy violence and killing others, particularly those animals and humans who cannot protect themselves.
These are the people who enjoy hunting and trapping and fish killing, and shooting and bombing innocent humans, and whose desire for flesh leads to the horrible suffering and killing of over 100 billion animals every year.
We donít have to be like them.
We should be weeping over sins such as those of violence and death.
We should be seeking to be the peacemaking children of God who live in His heavenly will and do everything in their power to free creation from its present corruption, beginning with eating the plant foods that God created for us to eat (Genesis 1:29-30).
Obedience to God brings everlasting life.
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