Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Ba’al, and go after other gods that you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’—only to go on doing all these abominations? Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it, declares the LORD. Jeremiah 7:9-11
How many times are we guilty of doing the same thing? That when Sunday’s here, we are on our best behavior. We’re dressed in our best clothes, always have a smile on our face, and tell our friends how we much love our God. But then rest of the week, we cuss like a sailor, think it’s okay to lust after a woman, or even go to a party and get drunk on Saturday night? Even if you don’t do these extremes, how many of us say, “You shouldn’t do that, we’re in church,” but it’s okay to do that exact same thing later in the week? As Christians, we shouldn’t just say that we are Christians, but we must also live like Christians—easier said then done, right?
Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 9:23-24.
Let us remember what the Lord loves. And let us remember before the next time that we brag about ourselves, that without God we are nothing. He should be the source of our strength—for did He not create the elephant? He should be the source of our wisdom—for does He not know what every single gene in our DNA does? And He should be the source of our riches—for will not the riches of this world fade away, but the promises of the Lord stand forever?
Thus shall you say to them: “The gods who did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens.”
It is He who made the earth by His power,
Who established the world by His wisdom,
and by His understanding stretched out the heavens.
When He utters his voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens,
and He makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth.
He makes lightning for the rain,
and He brings forth the wind from His storehouses.
Every man is stupid and without knowledge;
every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols,
for his images are false,
and there is no breath in them.
They are worthless, a work of delusion;
at the time of their punishment they shall perish. Jeremiah 10:11-15
Idols are worthless, and we need to be careful that we do not erect them in our lives, for God hates them. Throughout almost the entire book of Jeremiah, He tells His people how much He detests how they have turned their backs on Him to worship statues of wood and stone. He’s angry, because His people would rather worship false images than Him, and that is why He is bringing their destruction. We need to be careful that we do not worship other things rather than our Lord. Yes, we may not have a tiny statue that we bow to everyday and worship, but we do have other things that we tend to worship: money, sex, school, sports, video games, a job, anything that distracts us or keeps us from worshiping our God is an idol that we have allowed to creep into our lives.
In Jeremiah 11, God reminds His people the covenant that He had made with them. When He brought them out of Egypt, He made them a promise that they should listen to His voice, and do everything that He commands. That they shall be His people, and He shall be their God, and He will give them a land flowing with milk and honey. And the people answered, “So be it.” So the Lord delivered to them all that He had promised; however, the Israelites accepted His gifts, but did not uphold their part of the bargain. They turned their backs on their God, as they gave their love to idols and sin. How many times do we expect God to give us what we want, but in return we do not do what He expects from us?
[Jeremiah] Righteous are you, O LORD,
when I complain to you;
yet I would plead my case before you.
Why does the way of the wicked prosper?
Why do all who are treacherous thrive?
You plant them, and they take root;
they grow and produce fruit;
you are near in their mouth
and far from their heart.
But you, O LORD, know me;
you see me, and test my heart toward you.
Pull them out like sheep for the slaughter,
and set them apart for the day of slaughter.
How long will the land mourn
and the grass of every field wither?
For the evil of those who dwell in it
the beasts and the birds are swept away,
because they said, “He will not see our latter end.”
[God] “If you have raced with men on foot,
and they have wearied you,
how will you compete with horses?
And if in a safe land you are so trusting,
what will you do in the thicket of the Jordan? Jeremiah 12:1-5
How many times do we cry out for it to end? How many times do we think that it’s not fair that the righteous should suffer? How many times do we not understand why evil is allowed to endure?—such as rape, abortion, and war.
Sin has corrupted this world, making it a hard place to live, and a field that grows many monstrosities. But we must remember that we are never alone, that He is always with us, that He will never give us anything beyond what we can handle. Yes, it’s okay to cry out to God when we don’t understand. It’s okay to wish that Jesus would come now and destroy all this pain and misery. And it’s okay to feel like we don’t belong in this world, for this is not our home. But we must also remember that He is God. He knows best, and His timing is not like ours.
As humans, we want what we want now. But we must learn to be patient like our Maker, Who has loved us, and lived with the sin and corruption of this world for more than 10,000 years. He is God. We may never understand why He does what He does, but we must remember to trust Him at all times.
Hearing these words reminds me of one of the ending scenes of the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Lucy is standing on a balcony of Cair Paravel, as she sees Aslan on the beach below, leaving them. Mr. Thomas, the fawn, walks up to her. “Don’t worry,” he says. “We’ll see him again.”
“When?” she asks.
“In time. One day he’ll be here, and the next he won’t. But you mustn’t press him. After all, he’s not a tame lion.”
“No, but he is good,” said Lucy.
Just as the Narnians never understood why Aslan did the things that he did, but recognized that he was good, so too must we realize that even though we don’t understand the things that God allows to happen, that we must trust Him. He isn’t tamed, we can’t trap Him in a box, but He is good.
Remember, to always trust in the Lord. He will never abandon you, and will always give you the strength that you need to face any trial.