Saturday, September 4, 2010

Jeremiah 2, Part 2

Sin in spite of what the Lord had done (vs. 20-28)--Once again, the Lord reminds them of what He done for them in times past. On their part, the people had responded that they would not transgress, but the whole time they were "playing the harlot" (v. 20), i.e., worshipping false gods. And indeed, as one reads the books of history (Judges through II Chronicles) they are a catalogue of Israel's bowing down to pagan deities. This was their main sin and the main reason they were punished with captivity. What Jehovah does is always the best and most superior, but can be corrupted by man (v. 21). And even if Israel washed using "much soap," they could never cleanse the iniquity which "is marked before Me" (v. 22). Why they would even claim (v. 23) "'I have not gone after the Baals'" is remarkable; did they really think they could convince God that they hadn't? Verse 24 is pretty graphic. Israel is pictured as a wild donkey in the wilderness, sniffing out for a mate. The nation had become so corrupt that they could never get enough--"all those who seek her will not weary themselves" (v. 24). When counseled to cease such activity (v. 25), Israel responded that there was no hope of her changing her ways, she was determined to follow and worship the false gods. But some day, the sin would be exposed and Israel would be ashamed (v. 26) for "Saying to a tree, 'You are my father,' and to a stone, 'You gave birth to me'" (v. 27). How idiotic to think that a piece of wood could provide the blessings they needed, or had ever done so. It's similar to modern day astrology, to believe that a star in the heavens could in some way affect our life here on earth. But when people forsake the Lord, they will grasp at anything. And when Israel truly needed these "gods," they were not there to help (v. 28).

"My people have forgotten Me" (vs. 29-37)--Just as Israel had said there was no hope that they would be turned from their idolatrous ways (v. 25), when they finally did turn back to Jehovah, their pleading would be in vain (v. 29). He knew it would be hypocritical. He had tried to reform them (v. 30), but "they received no correction." But He pleads with them again, once more reminding them of how well He had taken care of them (v. 31). A bride will never forget her wedding ornaments, but Israel had forgotten something more important--the God Who had betrothed them to Himself (v. 32). How sad when people forget what the Lord has done for them. Their sin was plain (vs. 33-34); no one had to make a "secret search" for it (v. 34). Israel continued to proclaim its innocence (v. 35), but the Lord will confront them with their iniquities. When they departed from the Lord, they sought alliances with foreign powers; but eventually they will be shamed by that (v. 36). Assyria and Egypt didn't care anything about Israel; those nations were after their own glory and splendor and would use any means and anybody to obtain it. To think they could help was foolishness of the highest order. Israel would be reduced to a state of mourning and despair. The "hands upon your head" was symbolic of sorrow. See Tamar’s reaction to her abandonment by her wicked brother Amnon, who had raped her (II Sam. 13:19). For Israel, there would be no prosperity in their foreign allies (v. 37).

These themes will be continued through the next several chapters of Jeremiah. There will be no rest for the sinful, not when this man preaches!

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