How Can You Say?
Pastor Steve Ellison
Jeremiah chapter 2 seems to be one long diatribe of the Lord against His chosen people. He chose them not because they had any characteristic at all that made them more desirable than any other nation. In fact, He chose them before they were even a nation. Just as God created Adam from nothing, He created the nation from basically nothing. He did not choose one of the nations formed from Babel. Rather, He chose one aged man (Abraham) and created a nation from him and his barren wife in their old age. By the time of Jeremiah, God’s chosen people had a long track record observing the faithfulness of God to them. They had the same long track record of themselves being unfaithful to God. God had chosen them simply because He chose them. He had a plan and a purpose for them. They refused to trust, obey, and shoulder the responsibility God had given to them.
In Jeremiah 2, God made it clear that He was unhappy with the unfaithful behavior of Israel. God pointed out to them that they had behaved very foolishly and brought much trouble upon themselves. He told them plainly that they must turn from their idols and put their trust completely in Him alone.
In Jeremiah 2:20-28 God becomes very, very pointed, almost x-rated in His very-much-called-for tirade against Israel, "For long ago I broke your yoke And tore off your bonds; But you said, 'I will not serve!' For on every high hill And under every green tree You have lain down as a harlot. 21 "Yet I planted you a choice vine, A completely faithful seed. How then have you turned yourself before Me Into the degenerate shoots of a foreign vine? 22 "Although you wash yourself with lye And use much soap, The stain of your iniquity is before Me," declares the Lord God. 23 "How can you say, 'I am not defiled, I have not gone after the Baals'? Look at your way in the valley! Know what you have done! You are a swift young camel entangling her ways, 24 A wild donkey accustomed to the wilderness, That sniffs the wind in her passion. In the time of her heat who can turn her away? All who seek her will not become weary; In her month they will find her. 25 "Keep your feet from being unshod And your throat from thirst; But you said, 'It is hopeless! No! For I have loved strangers, And after them I will walk.' 26 "As the thief is shamed when he is discovered, So the house of Israel is shamed; They, their kings, their princes And their priests and their prophets, 27 Who say to a tree, 'You are my father,' And to a stone, 'You gave me birth.' For they have turned their back to Me, And not their face; But in the time of their trouble they will say, 'Arise and save us.' 28 "But where are your gods Which you made for yourself? Let them arise, if they can save you In the time of your trouble; For according to the number of your cities Are your gods, O Judah. (NASU)
Oh Christian, you and I are susceptible to the same temptation to chase after idols. We usually do not build or buy representative figures and literally fall down in front of them to worship. However, we do often worship what we see others worship (foreign gods). We put our trust in government, individuals, jobs, retirement funds, family, recreation, entertainers, etc. Just as the Israelites were blind to their idols (verse 23), so are we. Be assured, just like the Israelites, our idols will leave us totally unsatisfied.