In two damning indictments, he makes the following statements: first, Jeremiah says, “My people have changed their glory for something else that does not profit them” (v. 11); and then, second, “My people have forsaken me, the fountain of living water; they have dug out cisterns for themselves, cracked cisterns that can hold no water” (v. 13). The consequences of these two evils will come in the form of exile, as the people go into Babylon.
Yet Jeremiah makes these points, noting how nothing seems to stick anymore, cracks are appearing; the people just keep on behaving in ways contrary to God, and Jeremiah asks, what are the people getting out of it all? What are they profiting from such behavior? The answer, of course, is nothing.
But it is a challenge in any age, isn’t it? What is it in us that wants to walk away from responsibility, from goodness, from God; that wants to deny the truth, that wants to leave home and spend our inheritance on wild living (Luke 15:11-32)?
I ask these questions because we all have this capacity, I feel, to sabotage ourselves, maybe by wild living, maybe by procrastination or lack of punctuality, blaming others, apathy, addictive behavior, isolation, violence, stubbornness bad communication. And so, like a parent watching a child throw a fit, we may want to ask ourselves, what is the payoff for the child behaving in these ways? Attention? Approval? Appeasement?
There is a hymn we sing sometimes that says how “our hearts are prone to wander, prone to leave the God we love,” even after seeing all that God has done for us, saving us, leading us.
How might we practice turning toward God and away from such “idol talk and “behavior”? What are the things we can be doing to grow in our faith? How can we hold the water God wants to pour into our hearts?
Pastor Andy Kinsey