THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL
Where is your heart before God? Sing a worship song before you begin.
Read Jeremiah 2:1–22
Israel Forsakes God
2 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem:
“This is what the Lord says:
“‘I remember the devotion of your youth,
how as a bride you loved me
and followed me through the wilderness,
through a land not sown.
3 Israel was holy to the Lord,
the firstfruits of his harvest;
all who devoured her were held guilty,
and disaster overtook them,’”
declares the Lord.
4 Hear the word of the Lord, you descendants of Jacob,
all you clans of Israel.
5 This is what the Lord says:
“What fault did your ancestors find in me,
that they strayed so far from me?
They followed worthless idols
and became worthless themselves.
6 They did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord,
who brought us up out of Egypt
and led us through the barren wilderness,
through a land of deserts and ravines,
a land of drought and utter darkness,
a land where no one travels and no one lives?’
7 I brought you into a fertile land
to eat its fruit and rich produce.
But you came and defiled my land
and made my inheritance detestable.
8 The priests did not ask,
‘Where is the Lord?’
Those who deal with the law did not know me;
the leaders rebelled against me.
The prophets prophesied by Baal,
following worthless idols.
9 “Therefore I bring charges against you again,”
declares the Lord.
“And I will bring charges against your children’s children.
10 Cross over to the coasts of Cyprus and look,
send to Kedar and observe closely;
see if there has ever been anything like this:
11 Has a nation ever changed its gods?
(Yet they are not gods at all.)
But my people have exchanged their glorious God
for worthless idols.
12 Be appalled at this, you heavens,
and shudder with great horror,”
declares the Lord.
13 “My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
14 Is Israel a servant, a slave by birth?
Why then has he become plunder?
15 Lions have roared;
they have growled at him.
They have laid waste his land;
his towns are burned and deserted.
16 Also, the men of Memphis and Tahpanhes
have cracked your skull.
17 Have you not brought this on yourselves
by forsaking the Lord your God
when he led you in the way?
18 Now why go to Egypt
to drink water from the Nile?
And why go to Assyria
to drink water from the Euphrates?
19 Your wickedness will punish you;
your backsliding will rebuke you.
Consider then and realize
how evil and bitter it is for you
when you forsake the Lord your God
and have no awe of me,”
declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty.
20 “Long ago you broke off your yoke
and tore off your bonds;
you said, ‘I will not serve you!’
Indeed, on every high hill
and under every spreading tree
you lay down as a prostitute.
21 I had planted you like a choice vine
of sound and reliable stock.
How then did you turn against me
into a corrupt, wild vine?
22 Although you wash yourself with soap
and use an abundance of cleansing powder,
the stain of your guilt is still before me,”
declares the Sovereign Lord.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHave you lost your first love of Christ?
“Be appalled! Shudder with great horror!” Goodness me—what have the people done that is so heinous? God’s answer: “They have rejected me, they have forsaken my love (2,13), they have spurned the satisfaction, joy and strength I offer.” Is that really such a bad thing? They’re missing out, yes, but is it appalling and horrific?
Often, we think that what God wants from us is that we keep the rules. But it is not compliance God wants from us, it is devotion—like the delight of a bride in her new husband (2). They had forgotten that God truly is perfect (5), and everything they need could be found in him. He is the fountain of living waters (13).
And look at verse 19—it is evil to forsake the Lord God, and to have no awe of him. We tend to think that the great sin is the thing done, but God says that the great evil is the attitude of heart at the root of the act. It’s what we love that directs our actions, good or evil (Luke 6:45). The root of all evil is the rejection of the source of all good. The result is that we seek our joy in idols that cannot satisfy (11b,13b).
Where are the idols in your life? How can you make sure that God remains first-place in your life? What do you need to change?
Confess your idols to God now. You cannot cleanse yourself (22). But praise Jesus that he has cleansed you from all your sin.