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A hermitudinal view of...stuff...



Jeremiah 2:11b - 13
"But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. Be appalled, O heavens, at this, and shudder, be very desolate," declares the LORD. "For My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water."

I have several reactions to this passage, all of which I've thought over for the past few days.

First, I am inclined to think of the context, both culturally and historically. The day and age of Jeremiah was such that none of his hearers could mistake the jealous claim the LORD was making through His prophet, for no person in his or her right mind would seek to establish a home away from a reliable source of fresh water. Through this analogy, God was making clear that He didn't merely provide the means to live, but that He Himself was (and is) the means to live. This, of course, was nothing new to Israel. In fact, it was precisely their continued willful, stubborn sinfulness that causes God to bring in the heavens to react, for God's chosen people were far too hardened and deadened to see the heinousness of their sin.

Second, I am brought to heel by the sheer weightiness of the danger of sin. Here, God is not merely whining like a jilted lover; no, He is making very clear that He has been wronged, and that in this wrong, His people are killing themselves. Sin does not make war upon God in such a fashion as to be able to actually harm or diminish Him in and of Himself. For, though He Himself does not diminish in glory, Man's perception of that glory is greatly impaired by the deadly effects of sin.

Third, I find it easy to despair of my own sin when I read this passage. In fact, I distinctly recall feeling downcast upon reading this passage, for it gave yet another reminder of the constant and consistent failure I've felt at trying to live up to honoring God, the very fountain of living waters. I see the cisterns of life all around me, and no matter how hard I try, I see the cracks, I see the breaks, and I know that even if those vessels would hold water, it would only grow stale and bitter before very long.

Fourth, I find a glorious glimmer of hope that the LORD speaks of His people forsaking Him, not Him forsaking His people! God often speaks of His anger toward those who forsake Him, yet His anger always purposes to turn wayward sinners back to Him. Even when warning sinners of eternal punishment, He does so with an eye toward repentance! In the midst of reading a passage like this, I can feel great shame over sin. I want to run, I want to hide, I want to cower. Yet, even here, God does not turn away from the sinner. Indeed, He exposes the sinner, shines brightly the gracious light of holiness upon their sin, proclaiming boldly the terrors of their ways. While this may cause the sinful heart to cringe in unwanted attention, is this not gracious? And is it not still more gracious to ponder anew that the One from whom God turned away, the One who became sin on the cross, is the very One whom God sees when He gazes into the heart of those who still struggle with sin, those saints who know what it is to be failing and often falling, yet still repenting and hating sin, hoping in and loving Him?

posted by Bolo | 12:28 AM
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