Pastor Steve Ellison Column: Has A Nation Changed Gods?
Jeremiah 2:1-8 has just a few words of narration by Jeremiah, but the vast majority of the passage is directly from the mouth of God. Israel was designated by the Lord as His chosen people as a mission to the nations of the world.
Israel failed to persevere in obeying the Lord. Israel would have to be chastised, disciplined, and punished because of their lack of faithfulness to the Lord. God specifically names three sets of leaders who were given authority to lead but did not. The priests who were supposed to teach the knowledge of God to the people did not remind the people of their covenant God.
The rulers (literally shepherds) of the people were unable to correct the people because they were in need of correction themselves. The prophets who should have been busy proclaiming the word of God in the authority of God and thus reclaiming the people to the true worship of God instead were speaking the name of idols. Accountability is coming.
God continues to speak in Jeremiah 2:9-12, "Therefore I will yet contend with you," declares the Lord, "And with your sons' sons I will contend. 10 "For cross to the coastlands of Kittim and see, And send to Kedar and observe closely And see if there has been such a thing as this! 11 "Has a nation changed gods When they were not gods? But My people have changed their glory For that which does not profit. 12 "Be appalled, O heavens, at this, And shudder, be very desolate," declares the Lord. (NASU) God pointed out the fact that the pagan nations surrounding them were afraid to offend and forsake their false gods. They were afraid of the works of their own hands. They feared the life-less pieces of wood and stone they built and worshipped. God correctly pointed out His own chosen people who reflected the glory of the living God who created all things were so foolishly doing what the pagans around them were afraid of doing. Why would the Israelites do something so utterly foolish? Even the creation (the heavens) is called to witness to the stupidity of what the nation of Israel was doing. The beginning of wisdom is to fear the Living God, the God who has revealed Himself in creation and the Bible. Chastisement is coming.
God clearly spelled out their sin in verse 13, “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters, To hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns That can hold no water.” (NASU) The individual Israelites and thus the nation of Israel had committed to grave evils. They abandoned the Living God. They created their own idols made in the image of man. If you are searching for something God will not do, here it is. God will not stand for this rebellion from His own people. How utterly stupid must I be to move away from a naturally occurring, clean, clear, never-ending flowing fountain of water in order to slave away at digging an open reservoir where I might catch some excess rainfall that will mostly leak out and evaporate? Very stupid is the answer. I have not yet mentioned that whatever water I was lucky enough to capture and did not leak out or evaporate, would be stagnant and filthy by the time I needed it.
How utterly rebellious must I be to forsake the Living God who is Life, Light, Love, omniscient, omnipotent, and good? How utterly rebellious and stupid must I be to worship immoral pleasure, morally neutral pleasure, education, work, family, hobbies, psychology, affirmation of others, accomplishment, entertainers, comfort, etc. in place of the One who saved me? You know the answer.
Steve Ellison is the Pastor at Salem Baptist Church & Director at Ouachita. Ellison writes a weekly column for The Rolla Daily News.