Israel Forsakes God
1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 "Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem:
" 'I remember the devotion of your youth,
how as a bride you loved me
and followed me through the desert,
through a land not sown.
5 This is what the LORD says:
"What fault did your fathers find in me,
that they strayed so far from me?
They followed worthless idols
and became worthless themselves.
6 They did not ask, 'Where is the LORD,
who brought us up out of Egypt
and led us through the barren wilderness,
through a land of deserts and rifts,
a land of drought and darkness, [a]
a land where no one travels and no one lives?'
7 I brought you into a fertile land
to eat its fruit and rich produce.
But you came and defiled my land
and made my inheritance detestable.
8 The priests did not ask,
'Where is the LORD ?'
Those who deal with the law did not know me;
the leaders rebelled against me.
The prophets prophesied by Baal,
following worthless idols.
13 "My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
32 Does a maiden forget her jewelry,
a bride her wedding ornaments?
Yet my people have forgotten me,
days without number.
33 How skilled you are at pursuing love!
Even the worst of women can learn from your ways.
I chose to write on Jeremiah 2 tonight because I felt God set it on my heart. Earlier today a friend had read it to me and later tonight it was read during a Christmas program. There are no coincidences! ;-) I love this message because it speaks to those who are beginning to backslide (turn from God), those who have been backsliding for awhile, and for those who will in the future (as a warning to them).
When we begin to backslide, God instructs us first to “remember” (vs.1). He is telling us to remember the beginning of our love relationship with the Lord. This is such great advice! Think of what marriage counselors say to couples during a session, “Tell me about what life was like for you both when you first met.” It is important to remember all the work that God has done in our lives for us to avoid taking Him for granted. In the beginning stages of a relationship or marriage, your loved one holds chief priority in your life. God is asking us, “Remember when I was more than enough for you?”
The passages above goes on to talk about how we have left our first love (God Himself). In spite of the past, where are you now? What choices have allowed you to get here? Has forsaking your first love been one of them?
The Lord uses a visual of broken cisterns to describe the life of those who have left Him for other things (other lovers). He is warning us that these other lovers that we are pursuing for fulfillment such as other relationships, money, sex, etc. are like broken cisterns that hold no water. We will always come up again and again running dry. He goes on to say those who pursue these worthless things, become worthless themselves. This is so true! Here’s an EXTREME example: Think of someone who gets so caught up in their looks that they end up having multiple eating disorders and become so self absorbed that they cannot hold a conversation that does not include, “Me” or “I.” They are empty cisterns! They have forsaken the God, the “river of life.” It’s absurd, right?!
Why does this person do that? Or the real question, why do WE do this?
It is because we have lost our sense of who God is. We have forgotten His worth, the greatness of His being, and the ability He has to fill our hearts with the utmost joy! :) Without Him, we begin to deteriorate inside. Our insecurities drive our actions, our fears dominate our thoughts, and Satan gets that foothold we were warned against! How disguisting we must look when God sees how we lust after anything that comes along with a temporary high, thrill, or drive. How easily we are satisfied!
The beautiful part of this story, however, is that time and time again God calls us back to Him. He is a devoted and faithful love. In Jeremiah 3:22 He says, "Return, O faithless sons, I will heal your faithlessness." Let us recognize our wrongs and return to His unconditional love. His love is unfailing and it radiates with grace. What greater love is there?! He is waiting to heal our hurts and beautify us once more. God calls us saying, "Return to Me. Come back. It's not too late. I will restore you. I will open your eyes. No longer will you have to walk in ignorance or darkness. I will heal your faithlessness."
How will you respond?
I pray that you will rejoice in His gracious and undeserved offering for our return. May your eyes be opened and drawn back to the Lord.