The whole world, or at least America, is in an upheaval right now…. and has for the entire year.
But it didn’t begin this year.
For the past few weeks, my Bible reading has been a little like the world: Scattered. I’d read in Ephesians one day, come back to it the next, then scour the Psalms for a couple of days, but this morning I woke up feeling like I needed a little direction. It occurred to me that I had dropped off after reading Isaiah, and the next book in line was Jeremiah, so why not start there.
Reading the first few chapters of Jeremiah is like being broken off at the knees right now. I forgot how many times I had lamented, in the years preceding this pandemic of a year, what is being expressed in the opening chapters of the book. But instead of Israel’s spiritual harlotry, I’ve lamented America’s.
Jeremiah isn’t shy or wafting about His words. He drives the nail right into the coffin. He immediately reminds us God created, established, loved on Israel, and she took His blessings, and started serving all sorts of other gods, who are not really Gods at all (because there’s only One true God). It says “What injustice did your fathers find in Me, That they went far from Me and walked after emptiness and became empty? They did not say, ‘Where is the Lord Who brought us out of the land of Egypt, Who led us through the wilderness, Through the land of deserts and pits, Through a land of drought and deep darkness, Through a land that no one crossed, and no man dwelt? I brought you into the fruitful land to eat its fruit and its good things. But you came and defiled My land and My inheritance you made an abomination” (Jeremiah 2:4-7)
If you just read that, and understood the gravity, don’t forget to breathe.
We are just like Israel. We were brought out of slavery, though not quite as severe as Israel’s. We were brought forth from a tyrannical government, and religious oppression. And God gave us this amazing country. (Now, I know not everyone who stepped off the ship was righteous, and there were some pretty heinous things done to the natives. I’m not trying to start a political debate here, so just follow along, please.) God gifted us a gorgeous country. “The Land of the Free”. He blessed us with some really wise patriots, who signed our Declaration, knowing it may cost their lives, and wrote our Constitution, which may very well be one of the best written documents of all time, save the Bible. God made the land plentiful. For the pilgrims and puritans to have survived the initial years here, was nothing short of a miracle. They came from the land of buying, selling, and trading, and suddenly had to start from scratch (Imagine if all the grocery stores suddenly disappeared, if you will… and know that this isn’t too far off in our future, if we don’t repent).
Yet, we, like Israel, started worshipping other gods… ourselves, our comforts, our pleasure, our desires, other’s opinions, political correctness, our busy schedules, whatever made us feel like WE were the ones who should get the honor and fame. We began shoving God out of our schools, governments, and homes. We allowed others to brainwash our children, rather than bringing them up like He says to do in Deuteronomy 6:4-8, where He tells us to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, to love our neighbor as ourselves, and to teach our children to do the same, always. That wherever we go, we should be raising our kids up with the knowledge and affection of God. And we should be living it.
Rather, we’ve been hoodwinked by the American Dream, as though that’s more spectacular than the God Who made heaven and earth, tree bark and skin cells, amoebas and galaxies!
Right after this, in Deuteronomy 6, God warns us not to forget Him, when we end up living in “great and splendid cities which you did not build, and houses full of good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and you eat and are satisfied.”
Guys, this is EXACTLY what we’ve done. We’ve gotten so distracted by our wealth and blessing, that we’ve forgotten the God who gave them. We didn’t create all of this ourselves, even if we want to pretend we did. Even our able bodies and minds are a gift from Him. Even if you had some hand in the matter, you still don’t have a right to accredit yourself, because you wouldn’t have a hand if He didn’t give it to you.
Even if He takes it all away: family, freedom, home, business, food, water, He will remain faithful and good to me, because my treasure isn’t on this planet, and there’s nothing as glorious as He is! Besides, earth’s suffering is “not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18)
Rather than inflating our egos and covetous natures, all of these blessings ought to overwhelm us with gratitude! We keep trying to steal the honor due to the Almighty. Even faith in Him is a gift from Him!
We need knocked off at the knees.
Our idolatry is a much bigger pandemic than a virus, and this jacked-up year is mercy compared to what we deserve. We are at a crisis point, in this country, and we are either going to fall on our faces in humble repentance (and not because we want God to give us what we want, but because we realized that we have hocked a loogie in the face of the Almighty with our self-centered, egocentric, idolatrous mindset), or this nation is about to be obliterated…. and we will have brought it on ourselves. It is justice. Repentance is our only hope for mercy.
I have one last thought, then I’m done. It says, in Jeremiah 2:13, “For My people have committed two evils. They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living water, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water.”
The things we have replaced God with in our lives are all absolutely worthless compared to Him, the Fountain of living water!
Space Welch 11/5/20