How the Gold has Lost its Luster

by | Mar 10, 2024 | Podcast, Sermons

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Preacher: Pastor Chuck Holiday

Scripture: Lamentations 4

When God rebukes us through hard circumstances we can receive it as a loving call to repentance from our Heavenly Father or we can experience it as a harsh prefiguring of our coming judgment.


Morning it’s great to see you all you know I think this passage is it’s it’s not just one we’re going to try to get through I I think you’re going to want to fall down and worship you know when we get to the end of this because it really does uh ultimately lead us straight to the to the glory of God and the beauty of Jesus and it’s it’s wonderful uh you know I I I I voted against the series just so you know but but I only get one vote and doesn’t count David David had a better idea and uh and you know I’m so glad he he uh stayed with his original thoughts because I have personally just really love this series and been enriched in my own life but but you do have to look a little deeper you know um because it can be gloomy you know um this as David reminded Us in the opening uh sermon for this series these are all poems and they’re poems of lament that were part of the Liturgy of the church you know if if uh I mean in their day it would be it would be it would correspond to the prayers we read and you know the the beautiful Anglican prayers we read each week it was part of the the regular regular worship of God’s people and this is actually a a beautifully constructed poem I mean I it’s a it’s a hard lesson but um you know each each one of these uh uh verses begins with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet uh the parallelism the the the Symmetry the just the actual Hebrew construction of it if you I mean sometimes I really wish I was a Jew so I could just you know feel the richness of the language yeah I may have studied a little Hebrew but but I can’t just sit and read it you know as a Jew would read it but it’s it’s actually a beautifully constructed poem and um and as often in our poetry you know the first verse introduces a a thought but the punchline doesn’t come to the to the very end you know and that’s that’s true here so I’m going to just kind of give you a the overview real quick you know uh this first verse is is gripping right the language is familiar to us even today oh how the gold has lost its luster I mean maybe you’ve said that about your career or your family or our nation oh how the gold has lost its luster you know it’s a it’s a gripping first line and and and basically it introduces us to this inescapable reality of the Lord’s discipline in our lives you know I mean hard things come from God’s hand to all of us through the course of our lives and and you know we we struggle with what’s the purpose um in in you know but ultimately the the last stza reveals the purpose it leaves us with a choice you can be Israel or you can be Edom of Israel he says their punishment will end it’s temporary it’s for a purpose of Correction and discipline the way you you know uh smack the hand of your three-year-old when he goes into the street it’s not because you hate him it’s because you don’t want him to go into the street or you can be Edom and for Edom these disciplines from the Lord word are actually a prefiguring of the real punishment to come and he leaves us with his choice do you want to be Israel or do you want to be Edom you see in the Old Testament God Israel was his Nation but but Israel is a picture of each of us individually as a Believer God treated the nation Israel the way he treats individual Believers there’s an analogy built into the into the the history of Israel and it’s it’s rich and it’s something we we really need to pay attention to it doesn’t mean that every Israelite was saved but the nation was God’s chosen people and and the way you if you’re a believer in Christ you know God says of Israel of you you of all the nations have I loved and that is he loves Every Nation but he especially has given his Covenant of Love to this one nation well if you’re a believer in Jesus Christ it’s not because you’re better than anybody next to you it’s because God has done something very special for you he has chosen you from before the foundations of the earth he has he has visited you with his Covenant of Salvation so all this is kind of in the background here okay so so um you know Israel is a picture of God’s covenant people Edom is a picture of those who have who have chosen to remain outside of God’s covenant of mercy and Grace it’s it the poem leaves us with a St dark introduction that we all deal with oh how the gold has lost its luster but it ends with the real punchline which way you going to go how are you going to receive the hard things from God as a child receives the rebuke and the correction of his loving father or are you going to receive it as a token of what’s to come with you if you continue to live live outside of his Covenant and so let’s let’s fill in some of the details you know uh Chast hard things come right disease uh broken marriages broken careers hard things come to all of us now for a child of God embraced in the Covenant of mercy and Grace in Christ those are meant as chastisements those are meant as Corrections those are meant to spare our lives or our souls at least for those who who choose to remain outside of God’s covenant of Mercy they’re actually a prefiguring of the real destruction that’s coming you see in this life people make light of things oh i’ I’ve been through my hell well my friends you haven’t you haven’t no matter how bad it gets in this life God does not distribute his ultimate retribution in this world it’s in the world to come

that’s kind of a sobering thought but but what that means is if you’re a child of God it part you’ve received his Covenant of mercy and the grace of Christ Proverbs says uh in in in chapter 3 you know that you’re very familiar with or at least it’ll it’ll sound familiar when I read it I think my son do not despise the Lord’s Discipline Do not resent his rebuke because the Lord disciplines those he loves as a the Father the Son he Delights in okay so he the author to Hebrews quotes that in chapter 12 when when hard things come in Hebrews the the author was writing to people who had been through some really hard things and he said my friends there’s comfort in the hard things it means your father loves you he’s not leaving you to just wander into your own path of self-destruction and so my friends um we can receive it as a rebuke from a loving heavenly father or we can go the other way okay so so let’s look at this first line oh how the gold has lost its luster now how’s that happened in your life can you can you see evidence of the Lord’s gracious rebuke in your

life does it what does it register with something for for many of us we we look at our families you know we didn’t Envision I mean when our when we held our babies at baptism and we took our vows it never dawned to us on us how that could end the the struggles of their teenage years struggles in their marriages it it never never dawned on us how poorly this could go oh my how the gold has lost its luster you know your career the dreams you had when you were in your 20s now for some of you that has ultimately turned out well but but I bet you can there were some moments along the path where there was nothing but failure in front of you there was nothing but disappointment there was nothing but real discouragement and questioning God what I thought you call me to this what what is going on U what about your health you know I mean you disciplined yourself to eat right and exercise and for some that turns out well for some it it it doesn’t how oh how the gold has lost its luster I mean if we if we live long enough friends and if we live with our eyes open to reality that re ought to register something in our hearts like yeah what happened or what’s happening if that doesn’t get you on a personal level what about our

nation oh how the gold has lost its luster okay

I want to I want to take you to verse

three me get the right chapter here even the jackals offer their breasts to nurse their young but my people have become heartless like ostriches in the desert and then if you go down a little a little further to verse 10 he gives a graphic illustration with their own hands compassionate women have cooked their own children who have become their

food the the key word there is heartless my

friends pressure and suffering reveal the heart pressure and suffering do not cause people to be cruel but they reveal what’s in our hearts they drive us to expose what we really are can you imagine living under a pressure a suffering a starvation so intense that mothers would cook their

babies the the suffering did not make them do that the suffering revealed the heartless condition they were

in it’s it’s kind of a terrifying thing but it wasn’t necessary for them to become heartless Jeremiah went through the same suffering and did not become heartless Jeremiah became more compassionate you see suffering does not cause us to become cruel it reveals what’s in our hearts you can have two people who grew up in the same oppressive abusive home one becomes deeply bitter and grows up to become himself an

oppressor the other sibling grows up with a heart of compassion and says I don’t want anybody to ever feel what I had to feel growing up you see it doesn’t create the direction we go it it reveals it you have a choice to go either direction Israel had become heartless as a nation not individuals Jeremiah Was Not heartless he grew in his compassion as all these terrible sufferings came upon his people so my friends you see pressure and suffering reveal the heart and for Israel as a nation they had become heartless but now hear this the ultimate tragedy is not what comes to you it’s What Becomes of you can you hear that terrible things might come into our lives and it might turn out well for you personally because it might make you a more loving compassionate kind person but the real tragedy is not the hard thing that comes to you it’s what has become of you can you hear that I want to give you a couple examples the sermon is getting real okay but it ends well trust me hang on here let me give you a couple of examples are you mature enough yet and and have you thought deeply enough and are you honest enough to realize your parents are not perfect now some of you are sitting next year you’re parents so it’s going to make a great conversation at

dinner have you lived long enough to realize that what you hated about your parent is true of you Lord help us yes if you haven’t lived long enough yet for that if you’re in the middle you just can see all the mistakes your parents have made and how the things that you wish were different hang on live another 20 or 30 years wait to your own children are that age eventually unless you just live in total denial you’re going to get there you know and and funerals of our you make Liars of all of us honestly because we forget all the bad stuff and as we should but truthfully our parents really messed up all of them and if you become a parent guess what you’re going to mess up and and and most likely you’re going to say dang it that was the thing I hated about my mom and it’s look at me I’m doing the same thing I mean it’s almost inevitable okay that’s just an example but where I want to go in the text here because he doesn’t bring that out in the text that’s just an example but in the text here I want you to get this point and this is throughout the book and and and throughout the Old Testament look at our

leaders you know we really want to blame our problems on our leaders and there’s some there’s an element of Truth to that I mean there is an element of Truth to that for sure and in fact he he alludes to that In this passage and and through the book he says look it’s because of your priests it’s because of your prophets that because you’re your kings but the deeper truth is that we get the leaders we

deserve we get the leaders we deserve yes now I I don’t have time to to to prove that to you I’ll just I’ll just give you one reference in in the Old Testament remember when when uh Israel wanted their King the first time that you know they they hadn’t had a king God was their king and you remember they we cried out to God for a king we want to be like the other nations remember that 1st Samuel chapter 8 verse 5 now appoint us a king to lead us such as all the other nations have and Samuel said no guys please no and the Lord told him listen listen to all that the people are saying to you it is not you they have rejected but they have rejected me as their King God says okay we’re going to give them what they ask for verse 19 but the people refused to listen to Samuel no they said we want a king over us then we will be like all the other nations with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles we want a hero not the hero we want one we can see one we can feel

then we be like all the other

nations Lord answered listen to them and give them a king and their first king was not good Saul but then God said you know I’m still going to be gracious to them and they gave him David who for the most part was a good King although he he had some pretty bad mess ups himself but there was hope because God had said David’s not the real King he’s just a picture of the real king that’s going to come okay but here’s the point we can’t bless the mess we’re in on our

parents on our grandparents on our mayor on our president because we get the leaders we deserve so how do I deserve those parents I didn’t have anything to do there’s a solidarity and again I don’t have to go in I don’t have time to go into this this morning but in scripture there’s a solidarity like why am I responsible for Adam’s sin in the garden because you would have done the same thing it’s a revelation of who you are yes okay God didn’t make you sin he in in Adam all all died in Adam this Romans 5 says because it’s a revelation of what’s in all of our hearts my friends we get the leaders we deserve and and but I want you to I as I said I don’t have time to prove that but I but we could because it’s all through the scripture now what that means is if you are really disappointed in the president we have now or the president that that we used to have or the president we might have whichever side of the political aisle you’re on our leaders are a revelation of what’s wrong with

us they are driven by self-centeredness now let me just prove this to you very quickly okay do you believe that it’s okay to vote for what’s in your best

interest Republicans and Democrats both believe that in America in fact I hear it all week long that it is your responsibility to go and vote for the person who’s going to represent your

interests well that’s selfish that’s all about me and Republicans believe that and Democrats believe that and we get leaders who come into office poor and go go out rich and we say why did that happen because that’s what we would

do now some do it legally and some do it IL legally but we all trying to get

rich I don’t have time to go into

that but but trust me we are all infected with the same disease we are obsessed with our own personal

gain and the personal well-being of our family and our people and we get the leaders we deserve okay this was going on in Israel this was this was really his point these Wicked leaders that we have they’re a reflection of how broken we are as a nation okay the utter Devastation um for these people of realizing that their King could not save them now let’s that’s in verse 20 let’s just go right to the end of the to the chapter here in verse 20 of all the things that happened to them the the starvation the loss of their uh loved ones one of the most devastating parts of what happened was they lost the the kingship the line of David ended when zedekiah was killed that was the last son of David The Last Descendant of David’s line the the line it was over and as wicked as some of the kings were and there were some bad ones zedekiah wasn’t the worst he wasn’t the best and he wasn’t the worst but basically he was a self-centered coward he was just trying to figure out how he could still be king and and not get killed I mean that’s basically it he was a wimp he was just not a leader he was how can I protect me and my my kids here forget the nation you know when when when the walls were finally breached he he he took off with his you know he had a secret passage out of the city and he took off to escape and they caught him in the desert and eventually didn’t end well they murdered his kids in front of him and then they put his eyes out um didn’t end well at all okay but it was a utterly devastating thing for for for the nation look at verse look at verse um 20 the Lord’s anointed our very life

breath was caught in their traps we thought that under his shadow we would live among the Nations I said we we we thought if we went into Exile the king would still somehow survive and as long as the king survived the promise would survive that one day the Messiah would come one day we would be delivered as long as the king could survive somewhere in Exile we thought we’d be okay we knew it would be hard but we thought we wouldd be okay the monarchy was so representative to Israel this was all their hopes for the Messiah were in the this line of David and when zedekiah was killed in the desert it’s like we have no hope not only are we in a bad place but there’s no one to rescue us we are done we are gone all hope is extinguished but my f friends this is where it turns because David was never the real king King you know and we know there was a greater son of David our Lord Jesus Christ when when Simeon uh held David I mean uh held the baby Jesus um it it says in Luke uh chapter 2 um in uh see which verse this is verse 26 when Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon who was righteous and devout he was waiting for the consolation of Israel and the Holy Spirit was upon him and it had been revealed to him by the holy spirit that he would not die before he saw the Lord’s Christ the word Christ there is just the Greek word for messiah which is the word for anointed word Messiah just means the anointed one the Christ means the anointed one it’s the same phrase that that um Jeremiah uses of zedekiah the Lord’s anointed when he says the Lord’s anointed he’s talking about zedekiah but ultimately he’s talking about Christ it’s Christ who’s the real anointed one so is Hope gone because zedekiah th no can God raise up a greater son of David who will be the King of Kings and the Lord of lords Isaiah had had said it in in chapter 32 um there will be a king who Reigns in righteousness what a beautiful what a beautiful picture there will be a king who Reigns in righteousness and he wasn’t talking about zedekiah and he wasn’t talking about any of other uh of David’s Earthly Offspring until he was talking about Jesus the ultimate son of David see a king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with Justice a man will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm like streams of desert and the streams of water in the desert in the shadow of a great rock and a thirsty land now look look at what um Jeremiah had said we thought that under his shadow under zedekiah’s Shadow we would live among the Nations but no the promise was that the Christ the real Christ living under his shadow will be living under the shadow of a great rock and a thirsty land have you ever been in like well have you ever been to the beach you know in a a July afternoon you know and and the Sun finally goes down behind some of those hotels it’s like well that’s the picture here living under the reain of the Messiah will be like living under the shadow of a great Rock in the desert and that afternoon that that blinding oppressive Heat of the Sun in the desert when it as soon as it goes behind that great Rock it’s like ah we can breathe again you know immediately the the temperature drops 20 degrees you know he this is Christ now Jeremiah is putting words in the people’s mouth he said we thought under the shadow of zedekiah we were going to be okay but it was never about zedekiah it was about the the Lord’s anointed Jesus Christ and my friends we dwell under his shadow

amen it’s throughout the scriptures he dwells in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the

almighty right it’s throughout the scriptures it’s throughout the Psalms and my friends it’s it’s speaking of Jesus ultimately it’s speaking of Jesus who is the Lord’s anointed now what is what is going to happen here with the Lord’s anointed the Lord’s anointed our very life breath that’s what Jesus is to us he is our very life breath but zedekiah was caught in their trap well Jesus was caught in their trap too wasn’t he except Jesus rose from the dead David said last week where is Hope birthed not at the top the bottom hope is born in in despair hope comes when you have no hope when did Jesus rise from the dead when he was

dead okay how how bad is it in your life right now well it may need to get worse because hope comes when there is no hope because it comes from God through what Jesus Jesus does we thought we would live under his shadow among the Nations but then he says rejoice and be glad oh daughter of Edom you he’s he’s saying this is mocking he says be happy Edom because you got what you wanted you hate Israel you’re glad to see them go into destruction he said but but to you also the cup will be passed and you will be drunk and stripped naked the word stripped naked means uh uncovered just uncovered but then he says oh Daughter of Zion your punishment will end because it’s a chastisement it’s the rebuke of a father that loves his children your punishment will end he will not prolong your Exile he’s not going to punish you any longer than he has to to correct you to bring you back but he says but oh daughter of Edom he will punish your sins and expose your wickedness the word expose here uncover your wickedness Psalm 32 David said blessed is he whose transgressions are covered who whose sins are forgi who I got it blessed are he whose transgressions are forgiven whose sins are covered the opposite here is Edom your sins will will be uncovered how are our sins covered they’re not hidden they’re covered by the blood of Christ yes Christ’s death on the cross in our place covers all our sin this is my friends the future for the child of God now what a decision this leaves us with how are you going to respond to to the gold losing its luster how are you going to respond to Broken marriages broken careers broken relationships in your family broken Nation how are you and I personally going to respond to these things from God’s hand he said you can put yourself under the shadow of the rock who has died for your sins and has purchased your eternity and you can be forgiven of all your sins and your heart will be tenderized by suffering it will make you more compassionate more loving to others or you can choose the way of Edom it you can choose Hardness of Heart you know I talked to a I talked to a soldier one time in Uganda who who was pretty boldly saying I I have sex with as many women as I can because I have AIDS and I want them I’m going to die and I want to take as many people with me as I can I was just I mean I couldn’t believe somebody would actually say that but from his perspective God’s been bad to me and I’m I’m going to be bad to everybody else you can go that route or you can humble yourself under the discipline of God and say he’s my father and no matter how how badly this is going for me in in this life it’s nothing compared to what he did to his eternal son Jesus on the cross when he went to hell for me my friends the difficult things in this life are not hell there a prefiguring of it Jesus Took the real hell so that you and I don’t have to our sins can be covered by the blood of Christ God is for you your punishment is hard but it’s not forever it’s the discipline of a father who loves you and wants to bring you home come to him come under the blood of Christ today amen amen thanks be to God​



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