Bible Reading: Jeremiah 43-44
“Yet I persistently sent to you all my servants the prophets, saying ‘Oh, do not do this abomination that I hate!’ But they did not listen or incline their ear, to turn from their evil and make no offerings to other gods.” (Jeremiah 44:4-5)
Here is the context. For a long time, God had warned the people of Judah that judgement was coming if they did not repent from their idolatry. No one listened to God’s Word through the mouth of Jeremiah. Everyone thought Jeremiah was crazy and continued to worship their foreign gods. Then, judgement actually came. The Babylonians came and took over the whole nation. All the wealthy and strong were taken into exile. This was according to God’s judgement, for they had oppressed the poor and weak.
Yet, in God’s mercy, the poor were left as a remnant in the land of Judah. God gave them crops so they could eat. However, despite special care for them, they still decided to turn to idols. After the governor in the land was murdered, the people decided that it would be better to head off to Egypt. God had commanded them to stay in the land of Judah, for He was going to protect them and provide for them.
But, the people did not want to obey God. Instead, they put their trust in foreign gods. This is what they said to Jeremiah, who was diligent in warning the people about the dangers of the actions they were committing. “As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the LORD, we will not listen to you. But we will do everything that we have vowed, make offerings to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we did, both we and our fathers, our kings and our officials, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, and prospered, and saw no disaster” (Jeremiah 44:16-17).
Despite seeing God’s warnings of judgement for their own eyes, they still did not want to obey and follow God. They had an undying love for idols. Does this not reflect our own lives?
Whether we realise it or not, our hearts are just as stubborn and rebellious as those remnant people God spared in Judah. God has already given us the greatest grace to know Him and believe in Him from a young age. Yet, how often do we spoil this grace? How often do our hearts turn to idols within? We might put a Christian facade on the outside. However, inside, our heart longs for pride, reputation, friends, grades, self-achievement, wealth, relationships. Our hearts always idolise ourselves. We continually make our comfort and pleasure the ultimate end of our lives.
Maybe we might not think that our heart behaves in this way. However, the Bible is the true mirror of ourselves. The remnant people are a depiction of us. We are not any better than them because their sin is also our sin. Truly we need to ask for God’s grace and mercy to allow us to see the light and walk in it. Only by God’s grace are we able to worship God and God alone in our everyday lives. Yet, this is our hope; that one day in heaven, we will be wholly perfected people in Christ. As we live day to day, may our prayer be for God to continually shape in us a heart that is only devoted to Him alone.
Lord, please forgive me for all my idolatry. I can’t do it without You. My heart is inclined to sin. I need Your mercy to break free. Remember me in Christ. In Christ, You have washed away all my sins. And in Your cross is the power of resurrection which has defeated sin. May You work in me and give me the grace to worship and follow You. Lord, we await the day when our inner selves will be fully renewed. To You be all the glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.