Jeremiah 3-4 | Harlotry

Harlotry.  It is an offensive word.  That is because the act of harlotry — physical and spiritual infidelity — is offensive.

In Jeremiah chapters 3 and 4, God condemns the harlotry which His people, Israel, have committed.  In Ezekiel, a contemporary of Jeremiah, God describes their actions as those of “a bold-faced harlot” (Ezek 16:30).  Would God say the same thing of us today?

Eyes

God gives us seven consequences of harlotry in Jeremiah 3 and 4:

1.  Harlotry pollutes the land. (Jer 3:1, 2, 9)

God says, “If a husband divorces his wife And she goes from him And belongs to another man, Will he still return to her? Will not that land be completely polluted? But you are a harlot with many lovers; Yet you turn to Me,” declares the LORD.

“Lift up your eyes to the bare heights and see; Where have you not been violated? By the roads you have sat for them Like an Arab in the desert, And you have polluted a land With your harlotry and with your wickedness.”

“Because of the lightness of her harlotry, she polluted the land and committed adultery with stones and trees.”

America has become unashamedly immoral.  We flaunt our harlotry.  We broadcast it in the media.  It’s plastered on magazines, television, the Internet.  It has polluted our land.  We are filthy, and we are exporting our immorality to other nations.

Our children are all too often growing up in situations that hardly resemble a family.  When the family disintegrates in America, the nation is soon to follow.  We have turned our back on God, and, as a result, the land has become polluted by our physical and spiritual harlotry. See Rom 1:21-32

2.  Harlotry brings judgment through nature. (Jer 3:3)

“Therefore the showers have been withheld, And there has been no spring rain. Yet you had a harlot’s forehead; You refused to be ashamed.”

God uses nature to bring disaster as judgment for sin.  See Deut 28:23-24

Could God be trying to get our attention, to speak to us through the weather?  Don’t mistake the wave upon wave of natural disasters as Mother Earth.  It’s Father God.  See Job 37:10-13, Job 38:22-23, Ezek 38:19-23

3.  Harlotry consumes our labor and our children. (Jer 3:24)

“But the shameful thing has consumed the labor of our fathers since our youth, their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters.”

Consider the economic disaster that has befallen the United States over the past 18 months.  Our harlotry is consuming our labor.

Likewise, the children in the United States of America are suffering the harlotry of their parents.  Sin has become normal, and righteousness is abnormal — even despised.  See Isa 59:14-15

4.  Harlotry brings the judgment of God. (Jer 4:11-12)

In that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, “A scorching wind from the bare heights in the wilderness in the direction of the daughter of My people–not to winnow and not to cleanse, a wind too strong for this–will come at My command; now I will also pronounce judgments against them.”

God explains in Jer 4:16-17 that He is going to use another nation to judge His immoral people.

Remember 9/11 when America was attacked and terrorized by planes flown into the Twin Towers.  Consider the nations and terrorist organizations that want to destroy the United States even now.  Do not be deceived.  This nation will not always be protected from its enemies if we continue to turn our backs on God.

5.  Harlotry brings an evil that touches the heart. (Jer 4:18)

“Your ways and your deeds Have brought these things to you. This is your evil. How bitter! How it has touched your heart!”

This is especially serious.  Infidelity brings an evil that touches the heart, and it is from the heart that the springs of life flow (Prov 4:23).  In other words, if your heart is bad, your life will also be bad.  When we experience the consequences of our sins, God says, “You have done this to yourself!”  It is terribly sad.  “You can be sure, your sin will find you out.”  (Num 32:23)

1 Kings 11:1-13 describes how Solomon allowed evil to touch his heart.  Solomon was the wisest and wealthiest man in the world.  Yet he was enticed by the idols of his wives, and it led him astray.  As a result, the kingdom was torn apart.

6.  Harlotry brings devastation. (Jer 4:20)

Disaster on disaster is proclaimed, For the whole land is devastated; Suddenly my tents are devastated, My curtains in an instant.

Isn’t America suffering?  Economic woes, droughts, floods, pestilence, divorce, violence.  Truly, harlotry brings devastation — to a family, to a nation.

7.  Harlotry destroys you. (Jer 4:30-31)

And you, O desolate one, what will you do? Although you dress in scarlet, Although you decorate yourself with ornaments of gold, Although you enlarge your eyes with paint, In vain you make yourself beautiful. Your lovers despise you; They seek your life.

For I heard a cry as of a woman in labor, The anguish as of one giving birth to her first child, The cry of the daughter of Zion gasping for breath, Stretching out her hands, saying, “Ah, woe is me, for I faint before murderers.”

You are destroyed by what you “love”, what you pursue in your harlotry.  Do you pursue drugs?  Those drugs will destroy you.  Do you pursue sex?  It will destroy you.  Do you pursue wealth?  That pursuit will cause you to compromise, little by little, and you will be destroyed.

Harlotry brings God’s judgment, and you can be sure that the United States of America will not escape God’s judgment.  Yet there is hope … if we will turn away from our wickedness and turn to God.  In the midst of contending with Israel’s harlotry, God gives us a central message of the book of Jeremiah:  Return to Me.  We will look at this hope in the next installment.

This is part of a series of notes on Jeremiah:

[Photo courtesy of Lan Bui]

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