I. The Devastation and Misery of Jerusalem, 1:1-22

(1:1-22) Introduction: grief and intense suffering can cause deep agony and anguish of soul. When people face a life-threatening or heart-breaking situation, they can become dejected, depressed, and despondent. What can cause such deep distress? Any hardship, misfortune, or calamity that sweeps down upon people—bankruptcy, the death of a loved one, disease, a serious accident, or war. In the present Scripture, the mighty Babylonian army had just conquered and totally devastated the great city of Jerusalem. The Babylonians burned the city to the ground and deported all the surviving citizens, scattering them throughout their empire. The once-proud capital of the Jews was now nothing but a ruined heap of rubble.

The Babylonians had left the prophet Jeremiah and a small number of other survivors behind to cultivate the land and rebuild the nation as a vassal state to the Babylonian Empire. Sometime after the withdrawal of the Babylonian army, Jeremiah stood on a hill overlooking the ruins of the capital of the Jews. As he surveyed the heap of rubble that once was Jerusalem, deep anguish gripped his soul. Personifying the city, he pictured it as a grieving widow who had suffered the most painful afflictions imaginable, and he allowed her to speak for herself. This is, The Devastation and Misery of Jerusalem, 1:1-22.

1. The description of Jerusalem's devastation: God's judgment due to sin, v.5 (vv.1-7).

2. The cause of Jerusalem's downfall and disgrace: grievous sin and its consequences (vv.8-17).

3. The confession of Jerusalem's sin: God's righteousness and the people's unrighteousness (vv.18-22).

1. (1:1-7) Misery, Caused by, God's Judgment—Judgment, Results of, Misery; Affliction; Devastation—Jerusalem, Judgment of, Devastation and Misery: Jeremiah painted a graphic picture of Jerusalem's devastation and misery. What he saw was a clear picture of God's judgment falling upon a people who had rejected, denied, and cursed His name and refused to repent of their sins. Scripture gives a detailed description of Jerusalem's devastation and misery:

1. The mighty Babylonian army had captured and utterly destroyed Jerusalem, the great capital of the Jews (v.1). Brokenhearted, Jeremiah stood surveying the ruins. The great city, which had once been so full of people, was now deserted. Although Jerusalem had once been a thriving city full of people engaged in political, economic, military, cultural, and social affairs, the city was now like a widow, abandoned and all alone. Once Jerusalem had been considered great, a queen among the nations, but now she had become a slave. The Jews who had survived the war against Babylon had been enslaved and deported throughout the Babylonian Empire. Judah was now a vassal state, completely under the thumb of the Babylonians.

2. As he surveyed the ruins of Jerusalem, Jeremiah could feel the widowed Jerusalem's deep misery. Unable to find peace or rest, she wept bitterly all through the night. Of all those who had formerly loved her, not one was left to comfort her in her suffering and affliction. Her friends and allies had betrayed her and refused to come to her aid. As a result, she had to stand alone and do all she could to fight off her attacker by herself. But she was far too weak, and soon the mighty Babylonian army subdued, ravaged, and utterly devastated her.

3. The ruined condition of Jerusalem turned Jeremiah's thoughts to the misery and suffering of the entire nation of Judah and all its citizens (vv.3-6). He saw Judah exiled, its citizens scattered throughout the Babylonian Empire and suffering affliction and harsh labor. No longer did Judah have a land of its own for a resting place, for the nation had been conquered. All the roads leading to the temple in Zion (Jerusalem) were deserted. People were no longer coming to the temple to worship. All the gates of Jerusalem were desolate. All the priests were mourning, and all the young women were grieving. All Judah and Jerusalem were in deep anguish, weeping bitterly (v.4). The great nation of Judah had been subjected to her foes and enemies (v.5). Note why: because of the people's many sins. Because of their many sins, God's hand of judgment had fallen upon them, destroying the nation and its capital, sending the citizens into exile, and making the Jews slaves to their enemies. Because of their many sins, the citizens of Judah had lost their capital Jerusalem and all its splendor and glory (v.6). The nation had also lost its leaders, for they had fled like cowards, forsaking the flock, the citizens of the nation. Most likely this refers to King Zedekiah and the royal officials who fled for their lives when the Babylonian army broke through the wall of Jerusalem (see outline—2 Kings 25:1-21 and note—2 Kings 25:1-21, esp.vv.4-7 for more discussion).

4. Jeremiah also pictured the mental anguish Jerusalem suffered as she remembered the past (v.7). Jeremiah knew that wherever the surviving exiles were scattered, they would remember the past and all the pleasant things that had been theirs before their nation collapsed. They would remember the freedom they once had. They would remember their families, in particular the husbands, sons, fathers, and brothers who had been killed during the war with Babylon. They would remember their homes, jobs, farms, gardens, and all the festive occasions they had celebrated with their communities. However, they would not only be reflecting on the past but also on their current situation. The enemy who conquered their nation was now holding them in bondage and laughing at them. Thus fear and misery abounded.

Thought 1. A time of terrifying judgment and awful misery is coming to the earth. Judgment is not a pleasant thought, and discussing it often causes people to feel uneasy. For this reason, many people reject the idea that God's judgment is coming. They want nothing to do with a message that proclaims the truth of God's Word. Nevertheless, God's Word is very clear: perfect justice will be executed on every single person on earth. Every act of injustice, oppression, lawlessness, violence—every behavior that has violated God's Holy Word and broken His commandments—will be punished. And no one will escape. On earth some people can commit a crime and escape the punishment of human law. But there will be no escaping God's law. And there will be no escaping God, for He sees and knows all. He will correct all injustices and punish all misbehavior. He will execute true and perfect justice on earth. Every one of us will give an account to God in the coming day of judgment. Listen to what God's Holy Word says:

"For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works" (Matt. 16:27).

"When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left….Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matt. 25:31-33, 41).

"Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation" (John 5:28-29).

"But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile" (Rom. 2:5-9).

"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Heb. 9:27).

"And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear" (1 Pet. 1:17).

"And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him" (Jude 1:14-15).

"Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works" (Rev. 2:22-23).

"And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (Rev. 20:11-15).

"And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be" (Rev. 22:12).

"I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings" (Jer. 17:10).

2. (1:8-17) Judgment, Caused by, Sin—Sin, Results of, Thirteen Results—Jerusalem, Destruction of, Due to Sin—Jerusalem, Judgment of, Due to Sin—Misery, Caused by, Sin—Affliction, Caused by, Sin—Jerusalem, Misery of, Due to Sin: Jerusalem had fallen in disgrace. She had been widowed and devastated because of her sin and its consequences. God's hand of judgment always falls upon people who continue to live a wicked lifestyle while rejecting and cursing His Holy Name. Down through the centuries, the Lord had made appeal after appeal to Jerusalem, pleading for the people to repent and turn back to Him. But no matter how many appeals He made, the people remained stubborn and hardhearted, refusing to heed the appeals of the Lord and His prophets. Standing there surveying the ruins of Jerusalem, Jeremiah began to think about what had caused the utter devastation. Scripture has recorded his thoughts for us:

1. The cause of Jerusalem's devastation was twofold (v.8). First, the citizens were guilty of much sin. They had sinned so much they had become totally unclean, defiled. Sinful behavior had become so common and public that it was acceptable behavior. The entire society had become contaminated, polluted by immoral and wicked behavior. Almost everyone lied, stole, cheated, and committed a host of other immoral acts. Evil behavior was called good, and good behavior was called evil (Isa. 5:20). Society had become so corrupt and lawless that those who had once honored Jerusalem now despised her. In God's eyes, the city was now stripped naked, stripped of any claim to righteousness. Jerusalem had become like a defiled, naked harlot before the Lord. The citizens of the city shamelessly flaunted their sins and nakedness before the world. The catastrophic judgment that had fallen upon Jerusalem was due first to the fact that its people had shamelessly committed many sins.

Second, Jerusalem's citizens had ignored God's judgment and its consequences (v.9a). Although the Lord had sent prophet after prophet to issue warning after warning, the people had rejected both the prophets and their warnings. They continued in their sinful behavior, breaking the holy commandments of God and following after false gods and idols. Jerusalem did not consider the future, did not give a thought to the destiny that lay ahead for a sinful people. They totally ignored God's judgment and its consequences.

2. Therefore, the citizens of the great city of Jerusalem suffered the consequences of living sinful lives, denying the Lord, and breaking His holy commandments (v.9b-17). Jerusalem, represented in its citizens, ignored the fact that sin, both immoral and unjust behavior, causes God's hand of judgment to fall. The people would suffer death and destruction—earthly and eternal death and destruction—due to their immoral and lawless behavior (Ezek. 18:4; Rom. 5:12; 6:23; 8:6; Josh. 1:14-15; Rev. 21:8; Prov. 29:1). Thirteen consequences of sin fell upon the great capital of Jerusalem:

⇒ Jerusalem suffered a great fall and subjection to the rule of the Babylonians (v.9b). And after Jerusalem fell, there was no one to comfort her.

⇒ Jerusalem suffered the loss of all things pleasant and precious (v.10a). Her citizens lost everything that was enjoyable and precious to them: husbands, sons, fathers, brothers, freedom, homes, jobs, farms, gardens, and all the festive and joyful occasions of family and community life.

⇒ Jerusalem suffered the defilement of worship and the temple (v.10b). Babylonian soldiers, who were unbelievers, entered the sanctuary where God's presence dwelt, ransacked it, and carried away all of its valuables. Most likely, the troops carried out these horrendous acts of defilement in the temple to show their hostility to the Jews and their God. In a final act of enmity, they burned the temple to the ground (see outline—2 Kings 25:1-21 and note—2 Kings 25:1-21; esp.vv.8-10, 13-17 for more discussion).

⇒ Jerusalem suffered famine and intense hunger. Her citizens had to spend all their money and possessions just to buy enough food to stay alive (v.11a). Babylon had thrown up a siege around the city in order to starve the people into submission, and the siege had been successful (2 Kings 25:1-3). At the end, the situation had become so critical that some parents were selling their children as slaves, while others were eating their own children, the most horrendous act imaginable. (1:19; 2:20; 4:10; also see Deut. 28:53-57; 2 Kings 6:25-29; Jer. 37:21; 38:9; 52:6).

⇒ Jerusalem suffered humiliation and shame because her citizens had placed their confidence and trust in the idols of this world: materialism, wealth, possessions, and the gods of false religions.

⇒ Jerusalem suffered deep distress (v.12). And all who passed by and saw her misery just ignored her. But again note why Jerusalem was suffering: because of the Lord's fierce anger against the people due to their horrible sins.

⇒ Jerusalem suffered a consuming fire of judgment that had been sent by God (v.13a).

⇒ Jerusalem suffered entrapment from a snare that had been set by God (v.13). Her suffering was not just a historical event brought about by the invasion of the Babylonian army. Rather, it was a direct act of God, who had chosen Babylon as His agent to execute justice and judgment against Jerusalem and its citizens. God Himself had emptied the city of all her citizens and made her desolate.

⇒ Jerusalem suffered the heavy weight of sin's burden (v.14). God took the sins of Jerusalem and wove them together to make a yoke, the yoke of captivity. And God handed the citizens of the city over to their enemies.

⇒ Jerusalem suffered the loss of her army (v.15). God had summoned the Babylonian army and used it to execute His justice against Judah and Jerusalem. Through the Babylonians, the Lord crushed the young men of the nation and trampled Jerusalem in His wrath.

⇒ Jerusalem suffered intense grief and weeping (v.16). And there was no one to comfort the city or restore her spirit. All the citizens (her children) were without any hope for the future because their enemy had conquered their nation.

⇒ Jerusalem suffered alienation from God, and her prayers went unanswered (v.17). Despite spreading her arms out and pleading for help, no one came to comfort her.

⇒ Jerusalem suffered rejection and scorn (v.17). Her neighbors all turned their backs upon her because she had become impure, unclean, and defiled—an utter ruin.

Thought 1. The major point of this lesson is that there are consequences to sin. If we lie, steal, cheat, commit adultery, or commit any other wicked act, we will suffer the consequences. We may not suffer the consequences while we live on earth, but when we come face-to-face with God, we will be subjected to His terrifying judgment. God sees and knows all. Nothing escapes His knowledge. Therefore, He will be able to execute true justice and judgment. We will bear the consequences for all sinful behavior. Listen to what God's Holy Word says:

"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Rom. 5:12).

"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 6:23).

"For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace" (Rom. 8:6).

"Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (Gal. 5:19-21).

"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting" (Gal. 6:7-8).

"For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him" (Heb. 2:2-3).

"But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death" (Josh. 1:14-15).

"Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins" (James 5:20).

"And [they] shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the daytime. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children" (2 Pet. 2:13-14).

"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death" (Rev. 21:8).

"Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezek. 18:4).

"The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him" (Ezek. 18:20).

3. (1:18-22) Confession, of Sin, Example of, Jerusalem—Warning, Duty, to Escape Judgment—Appeal, to the Lord, in Distressful Times, Fourfold: as Jeremiah continued surveying the scene of Jerusalem's destruction, he pictured the city doing what she needed to do: confessing her guilt before the Lord. Jerusalem cried out the great confession that God was righteous and that the people were unrighteous (v.18a). The Lord never does any wrong to any person, never commits an injustice against anyone. Even when He executes judgment against people, His purpose is to establish true righteousness and justice by correcting all the wrongs done by and to people. God is righteous, absolutely perfect in all His dealings with the human race and with each individual within the human race. This was the first part of the confession that Jerusalem made.

But equally important was her confession that the people were unrighteous. Rebelling against the Lord, the people had broken His holy commandments by committing such terrible wickedness as worshipping false gods, denying the Lord, taking His name in vain, defiling the Sabbath by refusing to worship one day a week, dishonoring fathers and mothers, murdering, committing adultery, stealing, bearing false witness, and coveting both the property and spouses of neighbors. Because of these terrible sins, Jerusalem had suffered God's hand of judgment and punishment. God could not allow the sins of the people to continue any longer, for they had sinned beyond repentance. No matter how many appeals He made to them, they never would repent of their sins and turn back to Him. Thus, the Lord had to execute justice and judgment against Jerusalem and its citizens. As Jeremiah stood there, he lifted up his heart to the Lord on behalf of Jerusalem and confessed the sins that had been so prevalent in the city. The prophet knew that what the city needed was a true confession of the righteousness of God and the unrighteousness of the people. This confession was the only hope the city had of ever arising from the ashes. Only God could restore the city. Thus when the prophet lifted up his heart in confession to the Lord, he lifted up the hope that God would hear and restore the Holy City to its former greatness.

Jeremiah also saw the city warning other people to escape the judgment that had been executed against her (vv.18b-19). Because of the sins committed within the city, Jerusalem had suffered terrible punishment. Both friend and allies had betrayed her, and her people had been exiled. Like a widow left all alone, Jerusalem now stood desolate. Furthermore, she had witnessed the death of her priests and leaders, many of whom had died due to the siege (v.19).

Jeremiah then saw Jerusalem make a strong, fourfold appeal to the Lord (vv.20-22).

⇒ Jerusalem appealed to the Lord to see the distress, despair, and anguish of the people's hearts. All her former citizens were heartbroken and suffering unbearable pain.

⇒ Jerusalem appealed to God to hear the confession of her heart, the fact that her citizens had been rebellious. They had rejected the Lord, broken His commandments, and lived wickedly.

⇒ Jerusalem appealed to the Lord to pay attention to the fact that the people were dying. Within her walls there was only death. Apparently this is a reference to the citizens who died from starvation during the siege of the Babylonians. The picture is that of Jerusalem pleading with the Lord not to forget the scene of so much death as a result of sin.

⇒ Jerusalem appealed to the Lord to bring the day of judgment against her enemy, Babylon, who had brought so much destruction to the land of Judah and its capital, Jerusalem (v.21). This was a prayer for vindication. Jerusalem prayed that God would judge Babylon for its sins even as He had judged Jerusalem for the sins of her citizens. Note the reference to "the day" that God had announced for His judgment. This is a clear reference to the end times of human history, when the Messiah will return and execute God's judgment against all the brutal, wicked nations of the earth. Babylon would be judged because of its brutality and because its people rejoiced over the sufferings of the nation they had conquered. But God's hand of judgment would also fall because of the Babylonians' wickedness, for they were a very evil people. God has to execute true justice because He is totally impartial. He must execute judgment against all sin, and He must deal with everyone equally (v.22). Just as Jerusalem and Judah suffered God's hand of judgment because of their sins, so every nation on earth will feel God's hand of judgment because of the sins they commit.

Thought 1. There is only one hope for escaping the coming judgment of God. We must make a genuine confession that Jesus Christ is the righteous Savior of the world and that He alone can forgive our unrighteousness and make us acceptable to God. Listen to what God's Holy Word says:

1) Jesus Christ is the sinless Son of God, the only righteous Savior who can save the human race.

"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 10:32-33).

"Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?" (John 8:46).

"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Rom. 10:9-10).

"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him" (2 Cor. 5:21).

"Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:6-11).

"For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation [Jesus Christ] perfect through sufferings" (Heb. 2:10).

"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb. 4:15-16).

"And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him" (Heb. 5:9).

"Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore" (Heb. 7:25-28).

"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (1 Pet. 1:18-19).

"Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed" (1 Pet. 2:22-24).

"Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God" (1 John 4:15).

2) We must confess and repent of our sins in order to be acceptable to God.

"I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3).

"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38).

"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord" (Acts 3:19).

"Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee" (Acts 8:22).

"Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead" (Acts 17:29-31).

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land" (2 Chr.7:14).

"He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy" (Prov. 28:13).

"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon" (Isa. 55:7).

"Then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will fill all the inhabitants of this land, even the kings that sit upon David's throne, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, with drunkenness" (Jer. 13:13).

"But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die" (Ezek. 18:21).