Jeremiah Bible Study (Rise After the Fall)

Jeremiah 2:14-28, Overcoming Sin Addiction – Part 2


We are looking at how to overcome sin addiction from the second chapter of Jeremiah. We are seeing this problem expressed in Jeremiah 2:25.

Do not chase after other gods until your shoes wear out and your throats become dry. But you say, “It is useless for you to try and stop me because I love those foreign gods and want to pursue them!” (Jeremiah 2:25 NET)

How did the people of God get themselves so enslaved into sin that they admit that they cannot stop? How did they get so deep into their sins that they cannot stop? In our last lesson we looked at the first 13 verses of Jeremiah 2. God asks the people to explain to him what he did for us to make such a bad exchange. Why would you trade glory for worthlessness? Why would you trade satisfying waters to work to catch stale, dirty water? Why would you trade the truth for a lie? Why would you trade the Creator for the created? God is teaching us how to overcome our sin addiction by showing us what we are doing to ourselves by continuing in our sins. Let’s continue in Jeremiah 2 and notice what else God teaches us about our sin problems and how to overcome.

Sin Enslaves (Jeremiah 2:14-20)

In verse 14 God asks a question. Is Israel a slave? The answer is no. Once God had freed them from Egyptian slavery they lived free in the land of Canaan. So then God asks another question. Why are you enslaved? Why are you the prey? Why are you being plundered? Why are you being ruined? Why have you lost your glory?

Have you not brought this upon yourself by forsaking the LORD your God, when he led you in the way? (Jeremiah 2:17 ESV)

Sin is enslaving. Sin ruins your life. Sin puts you in bad circumstances. Sin causes you to experience terrible consequences. Look at verse 19. God says that you need to realize how evil and bitter it is to forsake the Lord. Sin enslaves us to destruction. Who would sign up for enslaving themselves to pain, suffering, misery, and ruin? But God is telling his people that is exactly what you are doing when you refuse to listen to him or turn to him. Notice in verse 18 what Israel had been doing. They refused to turn to the Lord for help. When their troubles came, they turned to other nations for help. They wanted Egypt and Assyria to provide for them and rescue them. God is telling his people that their troubles are because they are not looking to him. Here is why this is important: sin never rescues. Sin never saves us. Turning to sin cannot help in our troubles. All that turning to sin does is push us deeper into our slavery.

Now look at what God says in verse 20. God says that he had set his people free long ago. Here we see God pointing back to the exodus and the freedom he gave them. But they resisted serving the one who gave them freedom, returning back into their slavery. They gave themselves over to idolatry on every hill and under every tree. Friends, God’s word is constantly warning us to not go back into sin because it is so enslaving. Listen to what the apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome.

For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification. When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death. (Romans 6:19-21 NRSV)

Paul is begging us to see the outcome of giving ourselves over to sin. It just leads to more sin. It just gets worse and worse. Nothing in your life gets better. You now become enslaved to those desires and passions so that you think that you cannot stop. There is no advantage. The outcome is just destruction for your life and destruction of your soul. Listen to the question Paul asked to the Galatian Christians.

But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? (Galatians 4:9 ESV)

Now that you know God and God knows you, how could you want to turn back into being enslaved to the worthless things of the world? Paul wrote to Titus and said that we used to be “slaves to various passions and pleasures” (Titus 3:3). Why would we want to be enslaved to that where your flesh is ruling your life? We need to listen to Jeremiah 2:19 that it will make our lives bitter and hard to abandon the Lord. God has not set us free to continue sinning. God has set us free in Christ so that we would not want to be enslaved to that life ever again.

Sin Stains (Jeremiah 2:21-25)

God describes Israel as a high quality, choice vine planted by God himself. But they have turned themselves into a wide, degenerate vine. You have taken the good God did for you and turned it for evil. Now listen to verse 22. Even if you wash yourself with lye and soap, the stain of your guilt is still before the Lord. This needs to be a weighty picture to us. Have you ever cleaned something but the stain is left behind? If you have spilled something on your couch, carpet, or rug, you can wipe up the mess but there can be a stain that is left behind. No matter how much cleaner you use, the stain remains. This is what God says about sins. We can clean all that we want to but there is a stain that is left behind from our sins. There are always consequences for our sins. There are stains on our lives from our sinful decisions that cannot be erased.

But this is not the full picture. Look at verse 23. The people say that they are not unclean. They are arguing that they are stained by sins. They are proclaiming that they are not unclean. This is the real problem. We are stained by our sins but we are argue that we are not stained by our guilt at all. This is really the terrible part of our sins. We do not see how we are defiling ourselves. We do not see the stain that is on us. If you have children, then you know this picture really well. They can try to hide what they were eating but there is a stain on their mouths and on their hands. But what happens? You ask them if they have been eating something. But they say no because they do not realize that you can see the stain on their mouths and hands. This is what God is telling us. You are trying to hide your sins and act like you are not unclean. But your stain is still before his eyes. You do not understand that he sees your stain. You can try to remove it yourself. But the stain of your guilt is still before him. There are scriptures that tell us things like this that we may not allow to sink into our hearts. Listen to what James said:

And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. (James 3:6 ESV)

Now this is an important thought. The tongue stains the whole body. How many stains do we have on ourselves because of our tongues? We are layering stain after stain because of our words. But we like to tell the Lord that we are not unclean.

But there is more to this problem. The stain of sin as it is revealed here through the prophet Jeremiah is that the people cannot and will not stop sinning. God tells them in verse 25 to stop running and back and forth exhausting themselves in their sins. God says that they are chasing after their sins until their shoes wore out and their throats were parched. Have you ever noticed how you are exhausted by your sins? Have you ever noticed that the planning and the effort just makes you tired? Sin is exhausting. There is no peace in sinning. Sin requires scheming and plotting. Sin requires lying to others and keeping up with your lies to all you tell them to. Sin requires deception. Sin requires effort to fulfill. The stain of sin is like grooving this terrible rut in your life that you just keep going after day after day. Sins you thought you could control you cannot control anymore. Sin engrains our lives. Your flesh is exerting power over your mind. Rather than sleeping, you are sinning or thinking about sinning. Rather than enjoying the pleasures of life that God gave to you, you are working to cover up your sins. Think about the stain of sin. You are laying in bed next to your spouse while looking at other women on your device or messaging other men. But we say that we are not unclean. Unfortunately, sin enslaves us and stains our way of life and way of thinking.

Sin Shames (Jeremiah 2:26-28)

Finally, sin makes us say and do shameful and disgraceful things. Notice the picture of shameful foolishness that is described in Jeremiah 2:26-28. The people say to a tree, “You are my father.” They say to a stone, “You gave me birth.” Now I want us to think about what God is saying. I do not believe the people really think that a stone gave birth to them and trees are their parents. These are illustrations to describe the shameful thinking of the people. They have fully given themselves to their idols. The idols are in charge of their lives. You now make decisions that are not for God but for your idols. Look at verse 27. “For they have turned their back to me and not their face.” You are not looking to your actual Father in heaven. You look to your idols. You look to your stuff. You look to your wealth. You look to your sins. You turn your back on me in your life. Friends, how absolutely silly and shameful to put the will of your life to your idols. It is foolish to make decisions based on money and possessions. It is foolish to make decisions based on our fleshly desires. This is not the way to live your life. Make decisions based on the one who made you, on the Lord your God who created you.

Now look closer at verse 26. When is the thief disgraced and shamed? The thief only feels the shame when they are caught. Notice that God says that this is how it will be for the people of Israel. Your sin will catch up to you and you will be ashamed when your sin stains are made public. I cannot tell you how many stories I can tell of people who were caught in their sins, experienced the shame from their actions, but the stain remained and they kept doing it. Your sinning will be exposed and you will experience shame for what you have done.

But not only will this happen, look at verse 28. God says you will be left with nothing. If you turn to your idols and your gods rather than your true Father, then our Father in heaven says that he will let your idols try to save you in your time of trouble. Calamity is going to come and God is going to show you that your idols are worthless. You are going to look foolish and be ashamed that you put your hope in your sins and in your stuff when disaster strikes. God has a fine way of exposing our sins. God has a fine way of showing us that we are depending on idols. God knocks out the things in our lives that we are living for and putting our hope in. This is why God tells us that no one who puts their hope in him will be put to shame. But you will be put to shame when you put your life emphasis on anything else. But we will be like the people in verse 27. We will call out of the God to save us but God is going to let your worldliness try to save you and it will fail. It is a complete shame for the people of God to think that inanimate objects will help us or should control our decision-making. Who will help you in your time of trouble if you have given your life to the things of this world?

Breaking Sin Addiction

So what is God showing us about how to break this sin addiction? First, see that sin enslaves your life. God set us free from that slavery so that we no longer have to be controlled by our fleshly desires. God made us free from this addiction. Please hear that God does not want you enslaved. God sent his Son so that you would not be enslaved. The power of Jesus in your life can set you free from your sins. But you have to see the enslaving nature of sin and begin giving your life to your Father in heaven. Second, see that sin stains. If you give yourself to sin, you are going to groove a terrible rut in your life that you may not get out of because you think you are not unclean. You need God to cleanse the stain of your sin. This is the good news of the gospel. You can be set free from your enslavement to sin. You can be cleansed from the stain of sin. Please see how exhausted you are from your sins and turn from them. Finally, sin shames. Your sin will catch up to you. You will be exposed. You need to get ahead of this and stop the sinning now. You need to get ahead of this and confess your sins to God now. God will expose your idols. Putting your hope in anything but God is going to leave you empty and full of shame. Break your sin addiction today by the power of Christ so that you can live a life of freedom, cleansing, and an unashamed life.

Share on Facebook
Scroll to Top