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Copr. 1997, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.

LESSON 3 - NO OTHER GOD

INTRODUCTION: THIS WEEK WE LOOK AT THE SUBJECT OF IDOLATRY IN THE
BOOK OF JER.  LAST WEEK I WROTE "BEATENED" ON THE BLACKBOARD.  YOU
GET EXTRA CREDIT IF IMMEDIATELY YOU POINT OUT TO ME SUCH IDIOCY.

I. IDOL WORSHIP

     A. READ JER 16:10-13.  GOD KNOWS THAT THE PEOPLE ARE LIKE MY
     KIDS AND PROBABLY YOURS. WHEN YOU TELL THEM THEY ARE IN
     TROUBLE, THEY SAY: "WHY ME?" "WHAT DID I DO?"

     B. SO WHAT IS THE PROBLEM? LETS START WITH THE PARENTS FIRST?

          1. FORSOOK ME.
          2. FOLLOWED OTHER GODS.
          3. SERVED OTHER GODS.
          4. WORSHIPPED OTHER GODS.
          5. DID NOT KEEP GOD'S LAW.

     C. DO YOU THINK THAT THIS IS PICTURE OF A PERSON WALKING 
     DEEPER INTO SIN? OF IDOLATRY? (FIRST YOU WITHDRAW FROM GOD,
     THEN YOU FOLLOW, SERVE, WORSHIP OTHER GODS TIL YOU COME TO THE
     POINT THAT YOU DO NOT KEEP GOD'S LAW.)

          1. IN TODAY'S TERMS, WHAT DO YOU THINK CONSTITUTES 
          "FORSAKING GOD?" WHAT ARE THE WARNING SIGNS THAT WE ARE
          GETTING OFF THE TRACK? (NOT SHOWING UP AT CHURCH? NOT
          STUDYING YOUR BIBLE? NOT PRAYING?)

     D. GOD SAYS THAT THE KIDS WERE MORE WICKED THAN THE FATHERS.
     WHAT IS THIS SIN THAT IS MORE WICKED THAN THIS? ("FOLLOWING
     THE STUBBORNESS OF THE EVIL HEART INSTEAD OF OBEYING GOD.")

          1. WHAT IS FOLLOWING YOUR OWN HEART? AND NOT OBEYING GOD?
          (THEY FOLLOWED INWARD PROMPTINGS. WE HAVE A BUNCH OF
          CLIQUES FOR THIS TODAY: 
               a. GOT TO FOLLOW YOUR OWN HEART
               b. GOT TO DO YOUR OWN THING
               c. LOOK OUT FOR NUMBER ONE
               d. DO WHATS BEST FOR ME
               e. ITS MY BODY OR MY MONEY, I'LL DO WHAT I WANT WITH
                    IT!
               f. ANY OTHERS YOU CAN THINK OF?

     E. GOD SAYS THAT HE WILL FLING THESE PEOPLE HEADLONG OUT OF
     THE LAND AND SHOW THEM NO FAVOR.

          1. CONSIDERING THE ENORMITY OF THIS SIN, HOW, AS A 
          PRACTICAL MATTER, CAN WE BE SURE THAT WE ARE OBEYING GOD
          AND NOT FOLLOWING OUR OWN STUBBORN HEART?

          2. BY THE WAY, DO WE ALL HAVE STUBBORN HEARTS? (YES. SO
          WE ARE ALL FACED WITH THIS PROBLEM.)

     F. READ JER 7:16-20. THIS LOOKS LIKE A FAMILY AFFAIR: THE 
     CHILDREN, FATHERS AND MOTHERS ARE ALL INVOLVED IN WORSHIP TO
     THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN.
          1. WHY DOES GOD SAY IN v.16 NOT TO PRAY FOR THEM? (HE IS
          NOT GOING TO LISTEN.)

          2. HOW SHOULD WE APPLY THIS TODAY? IF SOMEONE IS AN IDOL
          WORSHIPPER, DO WE JUST TAKE THEM OFF OUR PRAYER LIST? (I
          THINK THAT WE CAN PRAY THAT THEY WILL BE SAVED. BUT AS
          FOR THEIR PHYSICAL WELL-BEING, GOD IS SAYING I DON'T WANT
          TO HEAR IT.)

          3. THIS IS ALL VERY FRIGHTENING TO ME. THE SIN WAS IDOL
          WORSHIP. WE WILL GET INTO SOME OBVIOUSLY TERRIBLE THINGS
          IN JUST A MINUTE, BUT THESE PEOPLE ARE MAKING CUPCAKES
          FOR THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN. AND GOD SAYS HE IS NOT GOING TO
          LISTEN TO ANY PRAYERS FOR THEM.
          
               a. ARE YOU CERTAIN TODAY THAT YOU ARE NOT ENGAGED IN
               IDOL WORSHIP?
               b. THAT YOU ARE NOT PUTTING MAN'S WORD OVER GOD'S
               WORD?

     G. WE GET A BIT MORE DETAIL ABOUT THE FAMILY PROBLEMS IN JER
     7:31-34. READ IT.

          1. DO WE SEE THIS TODAY? PEOPLE SACRIFICING THEIR SONS OR
          DAUGHTERS FOR THE SAKE OF IDOLS? (ABORTION FOR
          CONVENIENCE. SPENDING TIME MAKING MONEY INSTEAD OF BEING
          WITH YOUR CHILDREN.)

          2. GOD SAYS IN v.31 THAT IT DID NOT EVEN ENTER HIS MIND
          THAT THEY MIGHT SACRIFICE THEIR CHILDREN. WHAT DO YOU
          THINK HE MEANS BY THAT? (BEYOUND GOD'S CONCEPTION.)

          3. IF THAT IS TRUE, HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THAT THE
          PUNISHMENT FOR CHILD SACRIFICE IS THAT EVERYONE DIES?
          (SEE 7:32-34.) (I THINK THIS IS STRONG EVIDENCE FOR THE
          IDEA THAT GOD WITHDRAWS HIS PROTECTION. THIS KIND OF
          KILLING IS STRANGE TO HIM. HE WOULD NOT EVEN THINK OF
          IT.)

     H. READ JER 10:2-7. GOD SAYS, "HOW FOOLISH THAT YOU WORSHIP
SOMETHING THAT YOU HAVE TO NAIL IN PLACE FOR IT TO STAND UP."

          1. THIS SOUNDS INCREDIBLY STUPID TO US TODAY, RIGHT?

          2. THIS WEEK I WAS VISITING WITH AN OLD FRIEND. HE HAS
          TOLD ME THAT HE NO LONGER ATTENDS CHURCH. BUT I WAS
          SURPRISED TO HEAR HIM SAY THAT HE AND HIS WIFE HAVE A
          WEEKLY SESSION WITH A PSYCHOLOGIST. 
          
               a.DOES IT STRIKE YOU THAT IS THE SAME AS THIS? 
               b. IT DOESN'T SEEM SO RIDICULOUS?
               c. IF THE PSYCHOLOGIST TELLS THEM TO TRUST IN HIS
               OWN IDEAS OR THE IDEAS OF ANOTHER MAN, ISN'T THIS
               JUST LIKE CARVING SOMETHING FROM A TREE?

               d. DO YOU TEST EVERY IDEA THAT YOU HEAR TO SEE IF IT
               IS BASED ON THE BIBLE OR IS A "TREE-CUTTER" IDEA?

     I. READ JER 7:2-3. IS THIS A MESSAGE TO CHURCH GOERS? (YES.
     THEY WERE AT THE GATE OF THE TEMPLE SAYING THIS.)

     J. WHY DOES GOD WARN THEM? WHY NOT JUST WALK AWAY? (BECAUSE HE
     IS HOPING TO CONVERT THEM. THEY HAVE POTENTIAL.)
          
     K. READ 7:4. WHAT DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE PEOPLE TO BE SAYING?
     AND WHAT WOULD BE THE PARALLEL TODAY? (SORT OF AN INCANTATION.
     IT WAS THE LORD'S TEMPLE. GOD DOES WANT TO SAVE THOSE WHO
     BELIEVE, BUT IT SEEMS THAT MERE WORDS ALONE ARE NOT ENOUGH.)

     L. LETS READ ON 7:5-10.

          1. LETS LIST THE SINS:
               a.STEAL
               b.MURDER
               c.ADULTRY
               d.PERJURY
               e.INCENSE TO BAAL
               
          2. ARE THESE ALL VARIATIONS ON IDOL WORSHIP? 
               a. STEAL BECAUSE NOT TRUST GOD, YOU TRUST WHAT YOU
               CAN TAKE.

               b. MURDER BECAUSE YOU DO NOT TRUST GOD FOR REVENGE
               OR TO MAKE THINGS RIGHT.

               c. ADULTRY: INSTEAD OF BEING FOCUSSED ON WHAT YOU
                    CAN DO FOR GOD, YOU ARE FOCUSSED ON WHAT YOU
                    CAN DO FOR YOURSELF.

               d. PERJURY-LIE TO MAKE IT RIGHT INSTEAD OF BELIEVING
               THAT GOD WILL MAKE IT RIGHT.

               e. INCENSE TO BAAL IS TRADITIONAL IDOL WORSHIP.

II. NEXT WEEK: OUR COVENANT WITH GOD: "WEDDING VOWS." STUDY!