TEXTS AND APPLICATION: This reading begins the book of Jeremiah, a book that discusses the last days of Judah and their flagrant idolatry. Chapter 2 most halts my attention today. In the first part of the chapter, God recalls the loyal love the Hebrews had for Him in the first part of the exodus:
Jer. 2:1 I remember the loyalty of your youth, your love as a bride—how you followed Me in the wilderness, in a land not sown.
Then, the story changes drastically as God recalls the idolatry into which His children walked. In particular, He raises the question in a unique way. Rather than asking, “What did you see in the other gods?” he instead asks:
Jer. 2:5 What fault did your fathers find in Me that they went so far from Me, followed worthless idols, and became worthless themselves?
This language is the language of divorce. The Hebrews who once had what one of my mentors called a "sweetheart love" for God had now turned from Him. Thus, the seeming divorce is not a "no-fault" divorce — the Hebrews were the guilty ones because they apparently found fault in their God.
That image is striking to me. Whenever I teach folks to fight temptation, I often talk in terms of the fleeting pleasure of sin, the disastrous consequences of sin, etc. This text in Jeremiah, though, reminds me of another truth: when I sin, I am essentially saying that God is not enough for me. I apparently think He can’t bring me joy, or else I would not turn from Him to find my joy elsewhere. I must think that He is not sufficient, that He bears some fault in my eyes so I justify my turning to other gods.
I know better intellectually, but sometimes my choices surely suggest otherwise. That reality is especially condemning when I consider the previous days of my youthful love and adoration for God.
If I truly believe there is no fault in God, I will have no reason to turn from my commitment to Him — even for a moment. I will want to remain faithful to a God who is always perfectly faithful to His Bride.
PRAYER: “God, remind us that You are a perfect, holy, fully loving God. There is no fault in You, and we have no reason to chase after any false gods. No worthless idol can give us the love Jesus our Bridegroom offers.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Jeremiah 4-6