| FAITHLESS ISRAEL |
Did you recognize some of the events that Jeremiah describes in this passage? Israel, recently redeemed out of Egypt, followed the Lord in the wilderness? The metaphor of verse 3 where God protects Israel like a harvest field. Anyone who would invade his field would incur God’s wrath, just as God routed the enemies of Israel in the land of Canaan.
Jeremiah quickly turns to how Israel turned from the Lord. I love how he puts the question in verse 4:
What wrong did your fathers find in me
that they went far from me,
and went after worthlessness, and became worthless?
Is it because of some unfaithfulness in the Lord that the people were unfaithful? How many times was the Lord faithful to restore and forgive the people in the time of the Judges? How many times did they turn away from the Lord in idolatry, suffer judgment, cry out for help and the Lord restored them?
Again, powerfully, Jeremiah calls out the foolishness of rebellion again the Lord:
Has a nation changed its gods,
even though they are no gods?
But my people have changed their glory
for that which does not profit.
How foolish to turn away from a God of redemption, provision and glory. But this is what the people did and were doing even at the time of this prophecy.
Our reading today ends with a vivid image:
for my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water.
The people have rejected the true only source of refreshment and life. Instead of trusting in the Lord, the provision of His law and His worship, the people trust in themselves. As I have said multiple times here, sin cries out, “On my own I can live!” But in the end, the Lord is true, that apart from the Lord and His word we will surely die.
It is easy to see the foolishness of the Israelites and blame them, but I wonder, how are we doing in trusting in the Lord in our day to day life? Are you reading the word to know the Lord, to know His way, to be refreshed through a knowledge of Him? Does your trust in the Lord sustain you throughout your day? Do you ever turn aside after anything that you know is not good, is not His way? Do you ever act like you know better than the Lord what will make you happy? Perhaps the words of this prophecy could apply quite well to our hearts as well.