July 30, 2002

"Days Without Number"


    Welcome in.  Thank you for being with us today.  Visiting with you is one of the great enjoyments I get from life.  And some of you I get to see in other places, and talk with you personally, and I am so grateful that privilege is extended to me and hopefully as time goes on, I will get to know more of you on a personal basis.

    We talk about the Bible in this visit and today there is a passage in Jeremiah, the Old Testament, the weeping prophet.  In Jeremiah 2:32, God asked these questions.  "Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire?"  Well, those questions have their answers implied in them.  But then God made this statement, "yet my people have forgotten me days without  number."  There is something there for us to think about.  Earlier in that chapter in Jeremiah 2, listen to what this passage says. "Thus saith the LORD, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain?  Neither said they, Where is the LORD that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought, and of the shadow of death, through a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt?  And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled my land, and made mine heritage an abomination. The priests said not, Where is the LORD? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit." That's God talking.  In all that I have done for you, nobody is asking, where am I.  Nobody seems to care about my identity.  Verse 13 of that second chapter of Jeremiah, "For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water."  They have left me, God said, and have turned to other things from which they cannot receive the blessings I have given them. 

    Down at verse 28, "But where are thy gods that thou hast made thee? let  them arise, if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble:".  God said,  since you have left me for other gods, let them take care of you.  Where are they?  And then that disturbing verse 32, "Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number."  There are some powerful stuff in that passage, good for us to think about.  Days without number.  God said, days without number.  My people have forgotten me, days without number.  The significance of that phrase, without number, that means that they had forgotten him so long the number of days no longer mattered.  It had become obvious at some point in time that they no longer wanted him, no longer felt they needed him.  And so the days had passed until finally it became obvious that they did not intend to look for him. 

    A woman marries some man and they begin to live together as husband and wife, and then after a while one night her husband comes in under the influence of alcohol.  He's not reasonable and he's not helpful to her.  He's under the influence of alcohol and that good woman is shocked and doesn't know what to think of it and she is upset and he promises her, it was just  something that happened once and will never happen again.  And she feels good about that.  But after a while he comes home in that condition again.  Well, that's just twice, he did not mean to do it, and his intentions are good. So, she bears with him.  And then it happens a third time and a fourth time, and way long after a while, she stops counting the times.  The number of times are no longer important to her, because now it has become obvious to her that she's married to a drunk, and that's going to be her lot in life. This man is addicted to alcohol.  He will not leave it.  He loves it more than he loves her.  Days without number.  That's the significance of that. 

    A son, a young man, gets in trouble with the law.  And the parents are upset. They can't understand why.  They have tried to rear that young man.  He's in trouble with the law.  They talk with him and he says, it will never happen again.  I've learned my lesson.  It was because of the friends that I was with and I will stop associating with them.  So they all feel good about  it, but after awhile their son gets in trouble with the law again.  And they go through that same tearful, painful experience, and the son expresses his regrets and the parents feel good about it.  But then it happens a third time, and a fourth time.  And after a while they stop counting the number of times.  Days without number.  Our son has been in trouble with the law.  He is a criminal.  That's his lifestyle.  It will happen over and over and over again.  It now seems to be a hopeless situation.  Days without number.

    And God said, my people, whom I have blessed, to whom I have given so many good things, to whom I provided protection.  My people have forgotten me.  Not once, not twice, just seldom, but my people have forgotten me, no need in counting.  Days without number.  The number of times is not important.  They have convinced me that that's their way of life.  It's going to happen over and over and over again.  They have forgotten me, days without number.  Well, we could do that today, you know.  Christian people can forget God. We can forget him so long that God says this is who they are.  They have forgotten me so many times, I am convinced that that's the way they intend to live.  They have forgotten me days without number. 

    Do you know somebody like that?  Could it be possible that I or you could fall into that same problem?  To forget God one day is the start of forgetting him days without number.  We forget to give him our time. The 90th Psalm at verse 12, the Psalmist said, "Teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom." We give God our time and we ask God to help us number our days so that we can spend them in his service, instead of our own selfish pursuits, earthly endeavors.  Colossians 4:5 says, "Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.  Don't have time.  Not enough time.  Well, in a day everybody has the same amount of time.  We are given an equal 24 hour day.  You have as much time as I have.  If we do not serve God, it is not because we have no time, it is because we have given our time to somebody else and we have forgotten God.  And we can do that.  We can do that days without number. And so Jesus said in John 9:4 of himself, "I must work the works of him that sent me while it is day.  For the night cometh when no man can work."  Jesus said, I have a time given to me to accomplish my mission.  It will be followed by a time when I cannot finish my work.  While I have the time now I am going to serve God. And what a great worthy example that is for me.  While it is day, while I have the opportunity, while I have my health I am going to use that in the service of God. 

    We sometimes, Christian people, sometimes form the idea that we can hire somebody and pay their salary so that we do not have to spend our time serving God.  So we will hire a minister for this and a minister for that.  Some churches have more ministers than they have members.  And we satisfy our own conscience because we have paid the salary of all those people, but we don't have time to do it.  I wonder how the Lord feels about that?  Could he be saying of us, my people have forgotten me, days without number?  There is a possibility that that could be the case. 

    Don't have time.  Sometimes we don't even have time to attend the services of the church.  And so we just stop.  On Sunday evening we have so many other things crowding into our life, we know that the church meets and that they have a service on Sunday evening, but they can get along without us so you can go around and check, and most churches have a much small audience on Sunday night than they do on Sunday morning.  There may be some good reasons for some of that, but for much of it is people just do not want to give their time to that.  They use their time up somewhere else.  And so, the earlier church, it was said at verse 46 of Acts 2, "They continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meet with gladness and singleness of heart."  On a daily basis they met to encourage one another.  It was said of them, they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and in fellowship and breaking of bread and in prayer.  On a steadfast basis.  They took the time, they found the time to serve God. 

     We forget God, there is the distinct possibility he will forget us.  That's what was said to those five foolish virgins in Matthew 25, "I know ye not."