4 “Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel.
5 Thus 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?
6 They 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?”
7 I 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.
8 The 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.
9 Therefore once more I accuse you, says the Lord, and I accuse your children’s children.
10 Cross to the coasts of Cyprus and look, send to Kedar and examine with care; see if there has ever been such a thing.
11 Has a nation changed its gods, even though they are no gods? But my people have changed their glory for something that does not profit.
12 Be appalled, O heavens, at this, be shocked, be utterly desolate, says the Lord,
13 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.” Jeremiah 2:4-13
God asks quite a pointed question in verse five when He asks Israel, “What wrong did your ancestors find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthless things, and became worthless themselves?” It is a question that millions of people in North America could ask of themselves as well. What wrong has Jesus ever done to them that they have gone so far away from Him?
Let’s think about this for just a moment. Jesus/God loves us enough to die for us so that the stranglehold of sin, death, and Satan could be broken. At the cross Satan was shown to be the true enemy of humanity, and it was there that his power over us was truly broken.
So, the question is simple, “Why are we so afraid of Jesus?” Verses 6 and 7 make it quite plain to Jeremiah’s readers that the problem for the people with God was they had forgotten how He had led in the past. They no longer turned to the God who led in the past and they no longer remembered what God had done for them throughout their history.
Maybe this is our problem as well. We live in a world where we ask, “what have you done for me today.” In our fast paced, get it done, live in the moment world, remembering how we were led in the past and what God has done for us is often pushed aside. Instead, we become fussy and put out if God doesn’t respond to our needs instantly. Like Israel we have forgotten God.
Verse 11 reads, “Has a nation changed its gods, even though they are no gods? But my people have changed their glory for something that does not profit.” Here is the great charge God brings against Israel—they have changed their love for Him for other gods.
How about us, have we changed our worship of God for the worship of things? Do careers, accumulation of wealth, educational goals, family relationships, personal desires, and a host of other things come before God? Does God play a primary role in your life or is He strictly secondary?
Israel was playing with fire when they turned their back on God for protection and deliverance. And, because of their refusal to trust in God, they would eventually go into captivity and slavery. So let me ask you, and myself, what enslaves us? When you settle on that, you can easily see how your relationship with God is doing.
When I began writing these blogs I was writing one every two days, now the time has become longer and longer between posts. So what went wrong? I have become busier. That’s true but I’ve always been busy. The truth is simple—I have put a lot of other things in front of writing.
Yesterday, I was thinking about these verses and how much I like writing these blog posts. That started me thinking about my life and what I am doing with it. I’m still a spiritual man, who loves God and longs to worship and serve Him, but, maybe not as much as I use to. Maybe I have started to let slip my remembrance on how good God has been to me.
My friend Dave was saying the other day that he loves the place where he finds himself in life. And that also started me thinking about my life and the blessings that I have received from God. I have been blessed with family, friends, a beautiful place to live, and all that goes with those blessings and yet somehow I have managed to push God into a secondary capacity in life.
In verse 12 God says, “be appalled, Oh Heavens, be shocked.” Let me ask a simple question, would Heaven be appalled and shocked over your relationship with God?
Now, here is the point I am making and it is found in verse 13. “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.”
Jesus/God is the fountain of living water and the people have rejected Him and dug out cisterns for themselves that hold no water. It takes work to dig wells but living water flows freely to us. Israel had forsaken God for the smugness of believing that they could do whatever it takes on their own. They traded grace for works.
The Bible is about trust. That is the great theme of Scripture—do you trust God? If the answer is yes, then we won’t need, want, or seek other gods. If the answer is no, even when we don’t know it is no, we cling to our money, our success, and anything else that seems like it is security. We also seek distractions that can take our minds off the fact that those other gods are not really as potent as we wish they were.
There is a lot more to Jeremiah 2 than these few verses we have talked about in this post so dig out the Bible and read the chapter. The digging out of the Bible might be the start of a great friendship once again.
I know for me that one day I took the Bible down off the shelf where it had sat for sixteen years and I began to read and my life was restored. This is my past that I need to remember if I wish to grow closer to the God who loves me unconditionally and intentionally. Maybe it is time you and I turned the TV off and picked the Bible up and encountered God once again.