“O Israel,” says the LORD, “if you wanted to return to me, you could. You could throw away your detestable idols and stray away no more. Then when you swear by my name saying ‘As surely as the LORD lives,’ you could do so with truth, justice, and righteousness. Then you would be a blessing to the nations of the world, and all people would come to praise my name.”
Many of the words that I find in Jeremiah are both deeply convicting and extremely encouraging. I find it funny that the words of God have the tendency to do both of those things.
These verses follow directly after the ones in Sunday’s post. At the end of chapter 3, the people were broken and proclaiming the LORD as their only possible savior. God’s response here in the beginning of chapter 4 seems to demonstrate that God may be calling a bluff. He sees through words and proclamations to hearts.
That’s where the deeply convicting aspect comes in. When I pray, I know that God sees more than the words that I say.
When I imagine this conversation taking place, I picture the beloved returning to the lover after being unfaithful. The one looks into the eyes of the other and makes declarations of sorrow and regret. The lover takes the beloved by the hands and uses a term of endearment to express all the love in the world, but the lover also sees that look in the beloved’s eyes. That look of unfaithfulness is still there.
“If you really wanted me, you could have me,” the lover says. “I regret to say that in your eyes is that same look that you had before you were unfaithful. You only want my security. All you want is what I have to offer. You don’t want me at all.”
I imagine the anguish in God’s voice when he speaks these verses to Israel. He knows that He has everything that Israel needs. He knows that if they would remain faithful to Him, great things would be given not only to them, but the world around them as well.
That’s where the extremely encouraging part comes in. If we remain faithful to Him, the gift of God will be more than we could ever hope to dream, and that blessing of God (of God himself) inspires everyone around us.
When it comes to relationships, our most essential bond is the one that we have with God, with Christ. He is our redemption, our only thing worth anything.
So, who will you trust? Yourself or the One so much greater? We can make our plans and cling to our idols of self-satisfaction, or we can realize that our only true peace of mind comes from Christ.
We have a decision to make. Every day, we wake up with the opportunity to choose who we will serve. Will we follow the delusions that we set up for ourselves? Who will we serve?