The Late Lament of Lost Sinners
Text: Jeremiah 8:20
Part of the struggle of Jeremiah’s ministry was that they wouldn’t believe the threatenings of the Lord coming through the prophet, nor even the threat from the Babylonians.
They thought Egypt would help. However, eventually they realized that their hope for deliverance was gone, and captivity was inevitable. The cry then goes up from our text at that point.
However, this is coming from Jeremiah prophetically. As yet they were not saying this for themselves. He revealed beforehand what their cry would be.
Just as the Lord Jesus prophesied of what people would say when the day of Titus coming into Jerusalem arrived; “But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.” Lk 23:28-30
But similar language is spoken of a future day yet to come, the day of judgement for sinners. “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Rev 6:15-17
This is language that applies to those who will not have Christ for Lord and Saviour, but instead worship anything and anyone but Him, because the language is taken from Isaiah 2:20-21, “In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.”
All this language is depicting the language sinners will say when the final judgement comes. The scene of the Babylonish captivity was a foreshadowing of the awful calamity that awaits sinners on the day of judgement.
This is a cry that will sound at the time when nothing can be reversed. A cry of ruin and the realization that one is damned forever.
And I preach tonight with the desire to prevent you from saying the same thing v20.
I. THE FRIGHTFUL ADMISSION OF THE SINNER “the harvest is past, the summer is ended”
These words bring the strong image of opportunity having finally gone. The sinner realizes his opportunity is gone. For some the opportunities have been many, for others few. Regardless, these are the words of those who know their time has gone.
What a sin it is to neglect the gracious opportunities the Lord gives.
Let me make it perfectly clear that God dosas no pleasure in the death of the wicked. So what does God do to help you? In His providence and love He gives you people to preach to you, just as He did in Jeremiah’s day. God sent prophets to warn and instruct people, but largely they refused to hear them.
Turn 2 Chron 36:14-16.
The persistence of their sin in Jeremiah’s day is seen in Jer 8:4-9. Conscience, providence, and the special revelation was all ignored.
But are you not the same? Has your conscience not spoken? Have circumstances not been warning you? Haven’t you heard the Word of God?
II. THE FINAL APPREHENSION OF THE SINNER “and we are not saved”
The sinner is depicted as having a concept of what is coming. We are not SAVED.
Let us personalize this, ‘I am not saved’. What chilling words those are.
Just as the man in Lk 16 who ended up in Hell, he was not merely aware of his own torment, he knew there was a place of salvation, because He knew where Lazarus was and he knew there was still opportunity for his living brothers. But for him it was too late. Harvest was past, summer ended, and he wasn’t saved.
What is it to be saved? First it means they have repented of their sin and believed upon Christ from salvation.
Is this true of you? Are you saved? Run to the refuge. Get yourself to Christ. 2015 is almost over. It is almost past without you being saved. What if that’s just a picture of your life?
The sad picture here is that Jeremiah was the one lamenting and weeping, not those that needed to. And we stand at the end of the year with the same problem. Christians here lament over your unbelief and impeding doom – v21
v22 – there is still a balm in Gilead for you. There is a remedy, a refuge to get yourself to.