Our next practical lesson from Jeremiah is this:
8. TRUE CONTENTMENT IS FOUND IN FOLLOWING GOD'S "OLD PATH."
Jeremiah 6:16 - "Thus says the LORD: 'Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls, but they said: "We will not walk in it."'"
From Jeremiah's perspective, the old path was the Mosaic law. From our perspective, however, the old path is the portion of God's word that we are to walk by today--the New Testament. It was delivered a long time ago (nearly 2000 years ago now)! There is no better way to live than in submission to God. True purpose and contentment is found therein (cf. Matt. 11:28-30).
9. WORSHIP DEVOID OF OBEDIENCE SICKENS GOD.
Jeremiah 6:19,20 - "Hear, O earth! Behold, I will certainly bring calamity on this people--the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not heeded My words nor My law, but rejected it. For what purpose to Me comes frankincense from Sheba, and sweet cane from a far country? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet to Me."
God has never been pleased with hypocrisy, and that's precisely what's happening when one goes to great lengths to worship God and yet his life is otherwise full of wickedness.
10. DO NOT PUT YOUR TRUST IN WHAT THE SIGN SAYS IN THE CHURCH YARD.
Jeremiah 7:4 - "Do not trust in these lying words, saying, 'The temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD are these.'"
The Israelites felt protected because the temple was at Jerusalem; "God won't allow us to be captured or overthrown because we have the temple here!" But the prophet warns them not to trust in lying words! Some trust their salvation to the fact that the sign in the front of the church building says: "CHURCH OF CHRIST." Just because a group of religious folks claims to be a congregation of Christ's body doesn't mean they are! What do they teach, believe, and practice? Furthermore, do not trust in your country, saying: "America will never fall because we were founded on Christian principles!" Do not trust in lying words!
11. THERE IS A RIGHT WAY AND A WRONG WAY TO PRAY FOR THE REBELLIOUS.
Jeremiah 7:16; 14:11 - "'Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; for I will not hear you'...Then the LORD said to me, 'Do not pray for this people, for their good."
To pray for the wicked to be spared punishment while they remain in rebellion to God is not a proper prayer. Prayers that hearts might become soft and receptive, and that repentance be pursued, are always appropriate, however.
12. MOST OF GOD'S PROMISES ARE CONDITIONAL.
Jeremiah 18:7-10 - "The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it."
There are some truly unconditional promises in Scripture (e.g., Gen. 9:8-17), but most of God's promises are conditioned upon man's behavior (e.g., Deut. 28).
13. GOD IS OMNIPRESENT.
Jeremiah 23:23,24 - "'Am I a God near at hand,' says the LORD, 'And not a God afar off? Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so I shall not see him?' says the LORD; 'Do I not fill heaven and earth?' says the LORD."
God is everywhere. This is a fact we cannot really understand, but that doesn't make it any less true.