Bible Reading: Jeremiah 2:1-19
“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. Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 2:11-12)
The nation of Israel was God’s chosen people. In the New Testament, God’s chosen people are not specific to one nation as the gospel is for all nations. God’s chosen people are the universal church throughout age and time. And so, as we read back to the Old Testament, we can view Israel as a representation of us, God’s people. Their ways, actions and responses to God highlight what we truly are and how we truly respond before God.
God says to His people in Jerusalem, “I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown. Israel was holy to the LORD, the firstfruits of his harvest. All who ate of it incurred guilt; disaster came upon them” (Jeremiah 2:2-3), how we are like Israel. When we first came to faith, our hearts were pure and whole for the LORD. We consecrated everything for Him and pledged our faithfulness to serve and worship Him forever.
However, God questions Israel, “What wrong did your fathers find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthlessness, and became worthless?” (Jeremiah 2:5). v. 7 says, “And I brought you into a plentiful land to enjoy its fruits and its good things. But when you came in, you defiled my land and made my heritage an abomination”. Just like Israel, even though we have become God’s children who are loved and redeemed by Christ, we seek after worthless things. God invited us into His kingdom so that we can enjoy a relationship with Himself. He wanted us to partake in the fellowship of the Trinity. That was the good thing He had prepared for us by the blood of Christ. Yet, what do we do? With no good and valid reason, our hearts forget God and turn to worship worthless idols.
When Israel got to the promised land, they defiled it by forgetting the God who had brought them there to be His people. They turned to worship pagan gods and idols. And so it is the same in our hearts. Even though we have become Christians, invited to a personal relationship with God, our hearts still worship, strives, and longs for anything else other than God. We desire pride, a good reputation, friends, money, acceptance from others, and the list goes on.
These become our idols, and we constantly give our hearts willingly to these things. We choose these things, not because of a lack of knowledge of what is right and how we should respond to God’s grace. We choose these things because of our indwelling sin. We are sinful and broken people. Even when we try to serve God and live for Him, our hearts end up straying away from Him. No man is able to worship God and follow Him. No man is able to love God and sincerely worship Him. We all have sinned, and we are stuck in our sin unless God gives us the grace to be free.
Who can cleanse our hearts and sanctify us if it is not the work of the Spirit changing our hearts which have been justified by Christ’s sacrifice? In humility, we must seek God to change us and plant in us hearts that love Him and are willing to submit and obey Him.
Lord, forgive me for my rebellion against You. Even though You have given me countless blessings and mercy, I still voluntarily choose to worship my own idols. I think of myself more highly than You. Please forgive me. Change my heart, O God, and plant in me a heart that loves You and submits to You. In You rests my only Hope. in Jesus’ name, amen.