The Charges God Brings Against His People
The word of the Lord through the prophet Jeremiah often helps me understand my calling as pastor in my own day and time. There is something about the rawness of Jeremiah’s experiences, the scope of the opposition, the depth of God’s intent that help me stay grounded in faith and obedience when the flame of my own spiritual fervor is doused by the resistant and rebellious attitude that prevails in the culture around me.
Jeremiah chapter two centers on a divine monologue. God speaks and in this speech God details the problem in the relationship with His people that will lead to their judgment, condemnation, and ultimate exile. The fathers and the priests, God reveals, have failed to ask and pursue an essential question in any spiritual relationship with God. They have not asked, “Where is the LORD?” Now, this is not a question God’s geographical position in the universe, as if God is lost and someone needs to locate Him. This is not even, really, a question about God at all. It is a question about the longing and desire of God’s people for God, His presence, His power, His purpose, and His promise.
The people are not seeking God. They have forgotten God. They have forsaken God. And “therefore, [God will] bring charges against [them] again.” God brings these two charges against His people: “They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that hold no water.” They have abandoned their utter dependence on Him for the essentials of life and godliness and have pursued their own efforts at self-determination and self-reliance. God has become for His people an irrelevant memory not even worth the effort to recall.
“‘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.” When God’s people forget their utter dependence on Him, they lose their desire for Him and abandon their delight in Him. That’s what it means to forsake God. In the terms of Romans 1:1, they abandon their position as doulos (slave). In terms of Revelation 2, they leave their first love. In terms of 2 Thessalonians 2:3, they fall away, apostatize, rebel. First, they forget, then they neglect, then they walk away, then they pursue something else.
When we begin to walk through each day not bothering to ask, “Where is the Lord in my life? What is He doing? What does He require? How may I know Him and love Him and serve Him?”; when we ignore Him, presume His presence but never take the time to seek Him, we have begun a journey down a slippery slope indeed.
Jesus said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Seek the will of God, the power of God, the presence of God today. Don’t take Him for granted. Look for Him. Lean on Him. Fan into flame your desire for Him. Celebrate your delight in Him. Just don’t lose Him. Don’t walk away and forsake Him in your search for personal freedom and autonomy. You are not your own. You are bought with a price. Don’t forget. Don’t forsake.