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Posts Tagged ‘Jeremiah chapter 2’

Jeremiah chapter 2 lays out the causes of an unfortunately all-to-familiar phenomenon in the life of a God-follower: Falling away. In modern church-speak it may be called apostasy or drifting. Those who fall away lose their taste for the things of God, His Word, His presence, and His people. They are often lacking self-awareness and personal accountability for their conduct. They may seek to blame others for their failures and for their own apostasy.

To “fall away” is really a misnomer. Falling suggests lack of control or choice. Make no mistake, falling away is a choice–a series of little, seemingly inconsequential choices. It may be simple things. For example, Psalm 1:1-3 outlines warns against bad company. Moses warned them about the choices in the wilderness, “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

In Jeremiah chapter 2, we are given additional valuable insight into why Israel had fallen away from God, and how He viewed their apostasy.

Falling Away Occurs where there is Ungratefulness

Neither did they say, ‘Where is the Lord, Who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, Who led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and pits, through a land of drought and the shadow of death, through a land that no one crossed and where no one dwelt?’ I brought you into a bountiful country, to eat its fruit and its goodness. But when you entered, you defiled My land And made My heritage an abomination. Jeremiah 2:6-7 (NKJV)

God notes that His people either disregarded or forgotten all that God had done or them in bringing them out of Egypt and caring for them the forty years in the wilderness. They have so disregarded what He had given them as to defile it by their worship of idols and other related abominations. He accuses them of being ungrateful for His provision of the land of Israel with its bounty. This ungratefulness has contributed to their falling away.

Falling Away Occurs under Poor Leadership

The priests did not say, ‘Where is the Lord?’ And those who handle the law did not know Me; the rulers also transgressed against Me; the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit. Jeremiah 2:8 (NKJV)

God, through the prophet, describes the situation where the priests, those responsible to teach and guide the people in spiritual things, did not have a relationship with Him. He goes on to say those entrusted with political leadership sinned against His law, and finally, the prophets, who were to speak the word of the Lord to the people, failed and turned to idols. The Israelites didn’t have elections to choose their leaders as we do today in state and federal government, but they did have the ability to speak out against corrupt and ungodly leadership, especially in the house of God. Leaders can be wrong and misleading. It may be intentional or a drifting away from the truth. We must be diligent to always test what is being said from the pulpit or the lectern against the absolute truth of God’s Word.

Falling Away means forsaking God for false Gods and Self-reliance

“Has a nation changed its gods, which are not gods? But My people have changed their Glory for what does not profit. Be astonished, O heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid; be very desolate,” says the Lord. “For My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.” Jeremiah 2:11-13 (NKJV)

This passage is so sad. God counts apostasy as a two-fold offense. First Israel rejects the true and living God, who has been faithful to them–who has given life and sustained life as the fountain of living water. Instead of living water, they choose polluted water, the kind that comes from broken cisterns which cannot even hold the rain water but allow it to be defiled by mixing with the dirt around it. Non-potable, unuseable, unable to sustain life. It is a choice to die, and God says as much through the prophet Jeremiah.

Self-reliance and self-confidence are two enemies of the believer today. It is easy to build up your personal strength rather than your reliance on God. It is a subtle difference, but one which can lead to less trust in God and more on one’s own abilities and resources. Life comes from living water. The living water comes from God–He is the source of living water–the water that brings with it life. We need to come to that fountain and forsake the broken cisterns of our own making.

Falling Away occurs where there is Resistance to God’s Correction

“Why will you plead with Me? You all have transgressed against Me,” says the Lord. “In vain I have chastened your children; they received no correction. Your sword has devoured your prophets like a destroying lion.” Jeremiah 2:29-30 (NKJV)

Correction is an essential part of being a child of God. It speaks of a close and ongoing relationship between each of us and God. We know we are loved because He corrects and teaches us. Moreover, one who receives correction is wise. (Proverbs 15:5) When we refuse God’s correction and ignore His discipline, we become distanced from Him and apostasy consequence.

Throughout the writings of the Major and Minor Prophets, God warns Israel about apostasy and falling away from Him. He gives them opportunities to come back and be restored to relationship with Him, but in the end, judgment falls in Israel and they go into captivity because they fail and refuse to return to God. May we learn the lessons taught in the pages of the Hebrew Bible. God is not mocked. What a man sows, that will he reap.

Let us consider ourselves: the company we keep, the hardness of our hearts, our resistance to God’s correction, the weakness of the leaders we follow, and the tendency in our hearts towards self-reliance. Be warned that such attitudes and conduct lead to a falling away from God. Beloved, choose life! Return to your first love.

 

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