Jeremiah 1 – 3
The opening passages in the book of Jeremiah are incredible, yet startling; beautiful, yet convicting. The distressing plea of God is painfully heartbreaking as he cries out to his beloved children time and time again:
‘What have I done to you? What fault have you found in me? Why are you running to these false gods?’
In our world, we may scoff and mock the idea of bowing down to water cisterns or wooden statues, but each of us bow down to something in life, whether it’s a career, good grades, a relationship, a social cause, success, achievement or money. We all run to ‘foreign gods’ and like the Israelites we declare: ‘It’s no use, I must go after them! I must have them!’
The opposite of love is not anger. The Lord becomes angry in these passages because he loves his people so much! He cannot bear to see them continually running into the arms of false gods, things that do not fulfil them, and in the place of God, will ultimately lead to their destruction. The language used here to describe the relationship between the Lord and his people is breathtaking. The Hebrew for the word devotion in v.2 refers to the most intimate degree of loyalty, love and faithfulness that can exist between two people or between the individual and the Lord.
God longs to know us as deeply and intimately as a husband knows his wife, as a father knows his child, as a shepherd and his sheep. God is not some vague god somewhere in the skies who doesn’t care for humanity or what we do. No, he is the God who loves us intensely, who could not bear to see his people separated from him by their evildoings, and who gave up everything to come and live amongst us, share in our sufferings and ultimately die for us. Through Jesus Christ we can know the Creator of the heavens and earth as intimately as we know our spouse, our children, our parents or our best friend!