Read: Jeremiah 10
It seems that God’s people are struggling with the first two commandments once again. Perhaps we, as a nation, continue to struggle as we push God aside to make way for the work of our own hands. In ancient times we clearly saw objects of worship that cause us to wonder how intelligent people would fall for something so obvious. Far be it from me to ascend the throne of infinite wisdom, I ain’t that smart, but it is intuitively obvious that we have created idols out of many things these days–we just don’t stick them on a shelf and worship them openly.
Let’s keep it simple:
- You shall have no other gods before me
- You shall not make idols nor bow down and worship them
The Ten Commandments provide a framework that should help us focus. Jesus, of course, simplified and expanded this concept by saying,
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40
Sometimes simple is very complex. If we are to love God with all our heart, mind and soul, the first four commandments are a piece of cake. Easy to say, perhaps it’s not so easy to do when we put so much attention on ourselves, our desires, our great need to be happy–idols of our modern world.
Jeremiah joins the prophets in an attempt to wake us up to this reality and understand that there is no one like our God, the true creator of all.
This is what the Lord says:
“Do not learn the ways of the nations
or be terrified by signs in the heavens,
though the nations are terrified by them.
Lord, help us to figure out how to live in this corrupt world without being seduced by its culture. Even as I type this I know that I am terribly biased by my own experiences, I probably can’t see how the world has corrupted me. That’s why you gave us the concept of the church, people doing life together to help each other and hold each other accountable with love.
No one is like you, Lord;
you are great,
and your name is mighty in power.
No one is like you, Lord. No one is like you. I hope those words ring in our ears all day long!
But the Lord is the true God;
he is the living God, the eternal King.
When he is angry, the earth trembles;
the nations cannot endure his wrath.
I get the feeling that Jeremiah is trying to come up with words that will penetrate the hardened hearts of those who are the people of his flock, the aim of his ministry efforts. This is our God:
He who is the Portion of Jacob is not like these,
for he is the Maker of all things,
including Israel, the people of his inheritance—
the Lord Almighty is his name.
Jeremiah’s Prayer. Please take a moment and read this prayer today, hear what the Spirit says to your heart:
23 Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own;
it is not for them to direct their steps.
24 Discipline me, Lord, but only in due measure—
not in your anger,
or you will reduce me to nothing.
25 Pour out your wrath on the nations
that do not acknowledge you,
on the peoples who do not call on your name.
For they have devoured Jacob;
they have devoured him completely
and destroyed his homeland.
The power of verse 24 seems heavy today as I feel the overwhelming weight of discipline from the Lord. My life is not my own. I bow down to you alone, Lord, longing to know what it is you would most desire that I do today to advance your kingdom. All for your glory. These are not mere words uttered in despair, this is the great desire for the few years I get to spend on earth, these difficult days.