Introduction

Taking God for Granted – Are you taking God for granted?

“Do you not fear Me?” says the Lord.  That is a question that the Lord was asking of the children of Israel during Jeremiah’s day.  I believe that this is a question that the Lord is still asking today of mankind.  Do we fear the Lord?

22 Do you not fear Me?’ says the Lord. ‘Will you not tremble at My presence,Who have placed the sand as the bound of the sea, By a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass beyond it? And though its waves toss to and fro, Yet they cannot prevail; 23 But this people has a defiant and rebellious heart; They have revolted and departed.

KEY VERSE – JEREMIAH 5:22-23 NKJV

As we saw last week, there is a form of godliness that does not even bother to pretend to fear their Creator.  In the book of Isaiah the Lord asked, “Shall the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making (Is. 45:9)?’”  And in the book of Jeremiah, the Lord said to the children of Israel, “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel (Jer. 18:6)!”

The Lord is the Almighty; He is sovereign over all things – this is to say that He has the power and authority over all things.  Yet, there is a blatant disregard of the Lord, just as we saw last week.  Pharaoh asked, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice?”  Some will suggest that Pharaoh did not know of God when he made that statement, but as we saw last week, Pharaoh quickly learned of the Lord’s power and authority and still chose to disregard the Lord in his heart – a blatant disregard of God.

I tell you again this week that there is still a blatant disregard for the Lord in our world today.  Which is sad because God of how good God has been to mankind.  So, I often wonder whether or not we truly realize just how good the Lord has been to us.  I would certainly hope that we would realize how good God has been to us and all of those around us, but sadly, we, mankind, are in such a place in our hearts (our mindset) that we take all He does for us for granted.  In our blatant disregard of the Lord – taking God for granted – we have formed a heart that is defiant and rebellious.

A Defiant and Rebellious Heart

Mankind’s defiant and rebellious heart against the Lord is not something that started today.  No, mankind’s disregard of the Lord began in the garden of Eden.  There in the garden, the Lord commanded Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:16-17).  As we all know, they ate from the tree anyway, and after eating from the tree, we are told in scripture that their eyes were opened and they realized they were naked (Gen. 3:7).  

Oftentimes we think of their nakedness physically, but let us also understand that because they now knew good from evil – right from wrong – they were now naked (not protected) in their heart (their soul).  Their now naked heart was open to the corruption of their disregard of the Lord’s command.  Some will say that Adam sinned unknowingly in his heart yet, we see in scripture that God did not excuse their sin because they were exiled from the garden (Gen. 3:22-23).  

After being barred from entering back into the garden (Gen. 3:24), there was a choice that Adam would have to make in how regarded the Lord from that point forward.  Adam could choose to hold the Lord and His instructions in high regard and fear going against His instruction.  Or, Adam could choose to continue in disregarding the Lord’s instructions and not fear what God could or would do to him.

I believe scripture indicates to us that Adam chose to fear the Lord and be obedient to the Lord’s instructions.  I believe Adam remembered just how pleasant things were in the garden and what his sin led to.  So, he chose the path to not suffer such punishment from the Lord again.  We are told in scripture that Adam lived a life where he was fruitful and multiplied just as the Lord had commanded (Gen. 5:3-4).

The question we have to answer today is how do we regard the Lord in the life we live?  Do we hold the Lord and His instructions in high regard or do we disregard Him and His instructions?  In other words, do we value the Lord or do we take God for granted?

Knowingly Taking God for Granted

When it comes to answering these questions, let me tell you what I do.  I take a moment to pause and to consider and remember all that the Lord has done for me.  I remember all that God has done for me, my mom, brother, sister, niece, and nephew these past 10 years.  I especially call to remembrance all that the Lord has brought me through these past 5 years of my life.  When I do this, I realize how good the Lord has been to me and all of my loved ones and I am very grateful for Him – I do not take Him for granted.  Scripture often speaks to remembering the Lord.

Acknowledging and recognizing the Lord

I believe that when we take a moment to reflect on our lives and the role that the Lord has played in our lives, we will conclude that He is good and will continue to seek His goodness.  To me, it is honestly a scary thought to consider where I would be without the Lord on my side.  God has been a provider, a healer, a doctor, and my caretaker and I believe many of you will say the same thing.  The Lord loves us and we cannot take His love and grace for granted!

Yet, there are those who take the Lord’s love and grace for granted by not acknowledging nor recognizing Him in their hearts.  Some do this because they, as we saw last week, believe they are above the Lord and that He does nothing for them.  Others do this because they simply don’t believe God exists.  This group of people, collectively, do not care for the Lord’s instructions or His blessings – they take Him for granted.

The blatant sin of Judah

There are many people living in our world today just as Judah was living in Jeremiah 5.  

At this point in time in scripture, Judah was living incredibly wicked and in high disregard of God’s law.  As Jeremiah 5 opens, we will see that the Lord sought for anyone in Jerusalem that sought truth – meaning that they sought for Him (Jer. 5:1).  This calls back to how the Lord sought for anybody that executed justice and truth in the northern kingdom (Israel) but could not find anybody (Is. 59:15-16).

Just as the Lord could not find anybody in the northern kingdom that executed justice and truth, we see in scripture that in Jerusalem both the poor and great altogether had “broken the yoke and burst the bonds” with the Lord (Jer. 5:4-5).  Now, there is something that I want to point out here about the disregard of the people of Judah at this point in time.

Judah had been given the law along with the rest of the children of Israel after being in bondage in Egypt.  Those living in Jeremiah’s day were taught the traditions and laws yet, they were blatantly choosing to disregard the Lord’s instructions.  I want you to understand that this meant they were blatantly choosing to defy the Lord with no fear of the consequences of their actions!

Not fearing the Lord

So, again, we see the Lord ask the people of Judah, “Do you not fear Me?”  Again, I believe this is a question that the Lord asks all of us today.

I don’t know about any of you, but this question from the Lord sends shivers down my spine!  It reminds me of when mom would say those six dreaded words – “wait until your dad gets home.”  To think of the Lord asking someone whether or not they fear Him scares me because I know of His power through scripture and through what I have witnessed myself.  As the Lord said, we are the clay and He is the potter. 

To understand why God was asking this question, we have to understand what Judah was doing to defy and rebel against Him.  

Let us remember that this was a people who had heard the stories of all that their forefathers had gone through in Egypt.  So they will have known about how the Lord plagued Pharaoh and all of Egypt. They would have also heard about how their forefathers were delivered from bondage and how God provided for them while they were in the wilderness as well.  

Then, they would have heard of the stories of how they crossed the Jordan, entered into the Promised Land and defeated many great enemies because of the Lord’s mighty power.  All of this they would have known through the passing down of such history.  Yet, we see that the Lord said their hearts were defiant and rebellious.

If the passing down of that history was not good enough, the Lord was still at work in their own lives.  We will see in this passage of scripture that the Lord first testified of His power and authority over nature itself.  Through Jeremiah, the Lord stated, “Will you not tremble at My presence, Who have placed the sand as the bound of the sea, By a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass beyond it? And though its waves toss to and fro, Yet they cannot prevail; Though they roar, yet they cannot pass over it (Jer. 5:22).”

Now, our view on nature is that nature is powerful and something that we cannot control, right?  We cannot control the weather, the ocean, the wind, and we certainly cannot control wild animals – we barely control our “pets”.  As wild as nature is, the Lord speaks of His authority over nature and how nature itself respects His command and His will by not breaking the bonds He has set in place.  

Now think about that for a moment – If nature, as wild as we think it is, will regard the Lord’s authority, why can’t we who have the capability to think, regard the Lord’s authority with such high regard ourselves?

Mankind, in all of our supposed wisdom, continues to defy the Lord’s authority as if we have no fear of the consequence to the life we live.  What scares me even more is when the defiance is done knowingly!  Just as Judah knew better, there are so many so-called believers that knowingly defy the Lord’s authority as well when we should know better!  We often get on the nonbeliever’s defiance of the Lord but what about us who are supposed to be the followers of Christ?

God’s power and authority questioned

Have we done just as Judah and developed a heart that is defiant and rebellious?

We will see God speak to what He had done for Judah.  God tells us that He fed them to the full – meaning that they were well cared for by the Lord.  God, I believe, feeds us to the full in the same manner by diligently blessing us.  Did they give Him thanks and appreciation?  No.

God tells us that Judah committed adultery against Him.  He specifically says that they, Judah, “assembled themselves by troops in the harlots’ houses (Jer. 5:7).”  They were giving adulation to other gods!  They were taking His providence and care for granted!  Again, I tell you that this is something that makes me wonder about us today.  Who are we praising for the blessings that God pours out onto us?  Are we committing adultery and giving praise to someone or something else?  Are we taking God for granted?

Now, even worse is that after all that the Lord had been doing for them in caring for them, we will see that God says they were speaking against and lying about the Lord.  Judah was saying that it was not God who was providing for them and blessing them (Jer. 5:12)!  I want you to notice that not only was that happening but we will see that the prophets were not saying anything against their defiant actions (Jer. 5:13)!

To what the Lord is saying, I believe that all of this still happens a great deal in our world today between both the so-called believer and the non-believer as well.  The Lord regularly blesses us with so few of us giving Him credit, thanks, and appreciation for what He has done.  Many times it is about what we have done rather than it being a blessing from the Lord.  Granted, there is a lot of work that we do but let’s remember, it is God who makes all the opportunities that you and I have possible.  When it is all about what we have done rather than it being about God blessing us, then we are being just as rebellious and speaking against the Lord as Judah.

The highest form of acknowledgment and recognition of the Lord is our praise and our worship of Him.  We praise and we worship the Lord, not because we feel it is a requirement but because it is a sign of our gratitude and appreciation for all that the Lord has done for us.  

I tell you today that I worship the Lord because I recognize that I would not be where I am today if it had not been for the Lord on my side throughout this journey.  You see, I fear the Lord in that it absolutely terrifies me to think about my life without Him!  Judah, in that day, had no such appreciation for the Lord or fear of where they could be without Him.

Holding God in High Regard

I feel that when we hold the Lord in such a low regard – not appreciating all that He does for us or acknowledging His power and authority – we are taking God for granted.  Where would you be without the Lord providing and caring for you?

We should not nor can we not hold the Lord in such a low regard to where we commit adultery against Him and speak against Him.  For their defiant and rebellious hearts, the Lord said to Judah, “Behold, I will make My words in your mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them (Jer. 5:14).”  

In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus spoke of a sin that was unpardonable.  He said, “every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men.  Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come (Matt. 12:31-32).”

As we have seen today, Judah was working in defiance against the Lord and had no fear of the consequences in doing so.  This defiance, I want you to understand, was unpardonable.  The Lord even asked Judah, “How shall I pardon you for this (Jer. 5:7)?”  God was not and does not forgive those that defy Him in the manner that Judah did.  Those that work against the Lord and speak against Him – blaspheme Him – will one day be devoured because of their words.

Recognizing God’s glory

We should acknowledge, recognize, and then appreciate all that the Lord does for us on a daily basis.  Jeremiah also wrote the book of Lamentations, which was written after Judah was conquered.  In Lamentations, Jeremiah wrote, “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.  “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I hope in Him (Lam. 3:22-24)!”

These are the words of a God-fearing man of faith that truly acknowledged, recognized, and appreciated all the works of the Lord and did not take Him for granted.  I ask all of you today, do you appreciate all the works of God?  I certainly hope so.

As David often wrote of the Lord in psalm, “marvelous are Your works.”  If you are not doing so already, let us take time to appreciate all of the marvelous works of the Lord.  Let us take time to appreciate all that the Lord does for us and those around us as well.  Let us stop taking God for granted.  Consider this again for a moment today, where would we be without the Lord on your side?

Thought: Taking God for Granted

By Rev. Leo H. McCrary II – September 19, 2021
Responsive Reading – Jeremiah 5:18-31
Key Verse – Jeremiah 5:22-23