United Presbyterian Church of West Orange

Date: August 28, 2022

Sermon Title: "Irreplaceable"

Minister Kimberly Braxton


Focus Scripture: Jeremiah 2:11; 13


Jeremiah 2:4-13


Hear the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel. 5Thus says the LORD: What wrong did your ancestors find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthless things, and became worthless themselves? 6They did not say, "Where is the LORD who brought us up from the land of Egypt, who led us in the wilderness, in a land of deserts and pits, in a land of drought and deep darkness, in a land that no one passes through, where no one lives?" 7I brought you into a plentiful land to eat its fruits and its good things. But when you entered you defiled my land, and made my heritage an abomination. 8The priests did not say, "Where is the LORD?" Those who handle the law did not know me; the rulers transgressed against me; the prophets prophesied by Baal, and went after things that do not profit.


9Therefore once more I accuse you, says the LORD, and I accuse your children's children. 10Cross to the coasts of Cyprus and look, send to Kedar and examine with care; see if there has ever been such a thing. 11Has a nation changed its gods, even though they are no gods? But my people have changed their glory for something that does not profit. 12Be appalled, O heavens, at this, be shocked, be utterly desolate, says the LORD, 13for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, and dug out cisterns for themselves, cracked cisterns that can hold no water.




A few years back the incomparable Beyonce’s released an album entitled B-day. And one of the singles from that recording was entitled “Irreplaceable”. For people unfamiliar with the song, in the lyrics of the song Beyonce is telling the story of kicking an unfaithful bae out of her house and life. For those people who are familiar with the Beyonce discology all I have to say is “To the left. To the left.” And you can finish the next sentence in the song. See the song starts with the phrase “To the left. To the left. Everything you own in the box to the left”. And throughout the first verse she is expediently shooing this lackluster, unfaithful, soon to be ex-boyfriend out of her home, collecting the stuff she gave him, while purging her home of his items. And as the song develops you get to the chorus where she tells this faithless individual, “I can have another you in a minute don’t you ever for a second get to thinking you’re irreplaceable.”


Irreplaceable. That is the title of today’s message.


Now before people think that I came here to preach the gospel of Beyonce I wanted to draw your attention back to the book of Jeremiah. In Chapter 2 verse 13 it states, “for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, and dug out cisterns for themselves, cracked cisterns that can hold no water.” Translating that into modern speak the two sins the people committed were 1) They forsaked God and 2) they replaced Him.  In order to understand the import and the severity of this statement allow me to take a step back and teach a little historical background about the historical timing of the book of Jeremiah.


At one point in history the 12 tribes of Israel were united under one king. When King Solomon began to drawn into worshipping foreign gods and after his death the kingdom was split.


The ten tribes of Israel that remained in the Northern kingdom of Israel were Reuben, Simeon, Manasseh, Issachar, Zebulun, Ephraim, Dan, Asher, Naphtali and Gad. The other two tribes that remained under the Davidic lineage formed the Southern Kingdom of Judah and Judah was comprised of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.  ---- I hope I didn’t lose you.


Give me a little more liberty to flex my fancy book learning that I’m still paying for - - praise God!


The Northern Kingdom’s capital was Samaria and the southern kingdom’s capital was Jerusalem. Now Jeremiah’s ministry was to the audience of Jerusalem in the Southern Kingdom, and he was a prophet under Judah’s last five kings. The nation was on the fast track to destruction due to their backsliding, Jeremiah Chapter 2 verse 19, “Your wickedness will punish you; your backsliding will rebuke you. Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the Lord your God and have no awe of me,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”


See at this point in Judah’s history they were always under siege, in one battle or another and instead of repenting and returning to the Lord they kept running to foreign nations for help. Instead of seeking God and listening to the calls from the prophets – Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zephaniah, Habbakkuk they turned to ba’al and the worship of idols. So real quick let me run the timeline:

-      Judah was under tribute to a weakened Assyria in 627.

-      King Josiah was killed in Egypt who was fighting to strengthen their vassal Assyria.

-      King Jehoahaz ruled Judah briefly before he was taken to Egypt in chains.

-      King Jeholakim reigned over Judah as an Egyptian vassal



-      In 605  when King Nebuchadenezzar defeated Egyptian forces and took Daniel and others. King Jehoiakim abandoned Egypt and became a vassal to Babylon.

-      Four years later, against Jeremiah’s warning Jehoiakim sided with Egypt in 601.

-      In 597 here comes King Nebuchadnezzar and he appoints Zedekiah as King.

-      Now by this point you know what’s gonna happen, Israel is not loyal. And in 586 Nebuchadnezzar again occupied Jerusalem because Zedekiah entered into negotiations with who? He ran back to Egypt.



Over and over and over again they kept running to other nations for deliverance and idols for direction. Why was Judah running back to Egypt for assistance? The irony is rich. Egypt was the land where they served as slaves, where they were forced into crushing back breaking labor. Egypt was the place that they cried out and the Lord heard them and the Lord sent Moses to Pharoah and said, “Let My people go”. And He Delivered them from Egyptian bondage. Only to go back to Egypt years later to be bond to them as a vassal nation.


They hadn’t learned the lesson or perhaps they forgot the lesson - - “Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only” But in Jeremiah’s day the people, the priests, the rulers of the land, the people who handled the law never asked ‘Where is the Lord?’ and the prophets didn’t prophesy from the Lord but from ba’al. It was a complete mess and utter spiritual confusion.

Well you may be saying “Preacher, that was them. What does that have to do with me in my life now?”


So glad you asked.



Now more than ever we need to be reminded of this lesson to first, never forsake the Lord and secondly don’t seek to replace Him.


How does this apply to us in our lives today? Well, falling away from God doesn’t usually happen suddenly. It is a gradual drifting away. A lessening of the dependence you place on the Lord. When Solomon first became King he was in alignment, he was wealthy, he was wise, he was favored, he was chosen but over time, associating with all those foreign women with their other gods he began to drift away from God. And that drifting would inevitably take kingdom with him.


Think about your personal relationships. You can have the best marriage ever. A model relationship. You love your spouse. Your spouse loves you. Now imagine if you stopped speaking to them regularly, didn’t spend time with them, when you came to them you just tossed the bills on their desk and walked away. You took vacations without them and never called home. How long do you think that relationship would be ranked as five out of five stars?


When times are good our prayers aren’t as frequent. Our relationship goes on autopilot. Yes, we pray over our food when we remember. We read our bible when we have time. And we will squeeze a prayer in but we are so blessed and so comfortable we coast. We begin to rest on our gifts and blessings. And in that coasting we kind of drift, drift away. (move microphone away) until we can no longer hear the voice of God. He feels so far away. Is He even speaking anymore?


And this is where the enemy wants us. Because when we have forsaken God and we mistakenly believe that God has forsaken us. (something He would never do because He said, I would never leave you or forsake you Deut. 31:6). We start to look for replacements. Now we might not go out and buy that ba’al value pack of deities. There may not be an Ash-sha-ra pole in your living room.


However, there are other things that can be used as a “replacement” for God. What else can you think of in your life that you could use to for guidance, favor, acceptance…. (flick fan, hold up cell phone) to purchase insight. The next thing you know you are running around following the next trend - - a detoxification, mantra manifestation ritual cleanse. Running from thing, to thing, trend to trend, person to person looking for answers. But more important desperate, frantic to hear the VOICE and to rekindle the relationship that was forsaken. And if you can’t hear that Voice you will bounce from pseudo replacement to replacement because nothing will satisfy. He is irreplaceable. No one can satisfy, fullfill, protect and provide like Him. Everything else is just a cheap knockoff.


I know I’ve been on this topic about the importance of maintaining a personal relationship with God for the last few messages I taught but I really need to make sure that you understand that for what is coming down in our lives, the obstacles and challenges that we will face we will need to be able to dig deep and lean into God for protection, wisdom and guidance and love. So if you are in a place where you feel like you are that person that drifted away. That got so caught up in the busyness of the day-to-day that you didn’t realize how far you had fallen I’m offering you an opportunity to come back home and have your relationship restored. You’ve been praying for a sign for the Lord to speak. He’s heard your prayer and He’s calling you home. The altar is open feel free to come down. No judgements, you don’t have to explain. Just come home. He’s waiting. What you’re doing isn’t working not because you’re not working hard enough. It’s not working because He’s irreplaceable. Come home.