Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.
What a statement of condemnation: if you are accustomed to doing evil, you cannot be expected to do good. There is only one way to overcome this: Jesus. When a person is cleansed of sin at the point of salvation, and purified by the blood of the Lamb, Christ Jesus, he/she can be expected to do good. In fact, we are told in Galatians 6:10, to do that very thing: “do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
This chapter reminds me of a story in the Book of Joshua. Joshua goes to complain to God about things not going so well, even though he is doing as God instructed. (Paraphrasing) Wait a minute, God says. Joshua, there is sin in the camp. In Jeremiah 12, Jeremiah is questioning God about a lack of justice. God’s reply is about Israel’s faithlessness, her idolatry and the abandonment of God. Because of her infidelity, God will have justice – justice against His beloved Israel.
Application for us? Are you planning something and coming up against multiple obstacles? Poor health? Lack of money? Lack of interest? Outright antagonism? Check for sin in your heart. If it is there, repent and find forgiveness. Ask God to reveal sin wherever it is, and pray for repentance
What is my beloved doing in my temple as she works out her evil schemes with many? Can consecrated meat avert your punishment: When you engage in your wickedness, then you rejoice
The Lord of Hosts Who calls Israel His beloved, issues a proclamation against the nation that made even me sad. He calls them by their “beloved” name, but tells them the holiness is gone from them because when they do evil, they rejoice. I am sorrowful when I read this. Why give up fellowship with The Living God for something that is empty and worthless.
vs. 2 This is what the LORD says: “Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the sky, though the nations are terrified by them.” vs. 12 But God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understandings.
For instance, the nations are alarmed and distressed over global warming and climate issues. These are the worries and fears of those who are either ignorant of God, or have chosen to remove the knowledge of Him from their lives. We need not be fearful. The earth is the Lord’s. He made it. We don’t trust the earth for the days of our lives. We trust in God, the Creator, for the days of our lives.
…but let he who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD.
Reading Chapter 9 is like covering yourself with a water-soaked wool blanket. It weighs heavy on the heart and spirit as you read about sin, forsakenness, dire consequences, a complete abandonment of the One Who is Holy to run after that which is unholy, immoral, and deceitful. Then, we come to verse 24b…I am the LORD Who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth…This is His delight. Sin must be punished, but it is not His delight. So, think about it: in a culture like ours, which seems to be turning from God daily, He is still the LORD; He still exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth. It is His delight and a gift to those who belong to Him.
Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. But my people do not know the requirements of the LORD.
The animals do as they were created to do. They respond to the natural tendencies that God created in them. They migrate, they nest, they fulfill their purpose. Man, on the other hand has history and personal experience with God. Some have heard His voice, some have heard His law, and others have been warned by His prophets. Still, in vs. 5 b They cling to deceit; they refuse to return. vs. 6b No one repents of his wickedness, saying, “What have I done?” Because of the sacrifice of Jesus, believers have the strength and the grace to stand firm, to repent of sin and to walk steadfastly in the ways of the Lord.
Go now to the place in Shiloh where I first made a dwelling for my Name and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel. While you were doing all these things, declares, the LORD, I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen; I called you, but you did not answer. Therefore, what I did to Shiloh, I will now do to the house that bears my Name, the temple you trust in, the place I gave to you and your fathers.
In the case of the Israelites, the Lord spoke to them, either Himself, or through the prophets. He called, but they did not answer, and so destruction came upon them. They chose what they wanted over what God had for them. There were dire consequences to that choice. For us, God’s speaking comes through His Word or the counsel of a godly friend. Sometimes it comes through Christian radio or even through the beauty of creation. Disregarding His calling out to us, brushing aside His words of wisdom can cost us our contentment, our intimacy with Him and our fellowship with other believers. This price is TOO HIGH! What we desire that is apart from our Lord can never compare to what we enjoy with Him.