Monday after Judica
Scripture: Jeremiah 2:1-19 (NKJV)
1 Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
2 “Go and cry in the hearing of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord: “I remember you, the kindness of your youth, the love of your betrothal, when you went after Me in the wilderness, in a land not sown.
3 Israel was holiness to the Lord, the firstfruits of His increase. All that devour him will offend; Disaster will come upon them,” says the Lord.'”
4 Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob and all the families of the house of Israel. 5 Thus says the Lord: “What injustice have your fathers found in Me, that they have gone far from Me, have followed idols, and have become idolaters?
6 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?’
7 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.
8 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.
9 “Therefore I will yet bring charges against you,” says the Lord, “And against your children’s children I will bring charges.
10 For pass beyond the coasts of Cyprus and see, send to Kedar and consider diligently, and see if there has been such a thing.
11 Has a nation changed its gods, which are not gods? But My people have changed their Glory for what does not profit.
12 Be astonished, O heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid; Be very desolate,” says the Lord.
13 “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.
14 “Is Israel a servant? Is he a homeborn slave? Why is he plundered?
15 The young lions roared at him, and growled; They made his land waste; His cities are burned, without inhabitant.
16 Also the people of Noph and Tahpanhes have broken the crown of your head.
17 Have you not brought this on yourself, in that you have forsaken the Lord your God when He led you in the way?
18 And now why take the road to Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? Or why take the road to Assyria, to drink the waters of the River?
19 Your own wickedness will correct you, and your backslidings will rebuke you. Know therefore and see that it is an evil and bitter thing that you have forsaken the Lord your God, and the fear of Me is not in you,” says the Lord God of hosts.
Today we read how God purely out of His fatherly divine goodness and mercy calls His chosen people to return to His ever flowing river of grace. Through Isaiah, God calls His people to remember their being bound in slavery, yet freely released as they willingly followed Moses into the Promised Land, and how nation after nation fell before the greatness of the Lord to preserve their identity. Yet not all have remembered, as God boldly asks, “What injustice has ever been found in Me that you should run after other gods, which are not even other gods; why, when no other nation has ever abandoned their god?”
How often do we evaluate our identity as God’s people apart from the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ? Are we still as excited as when we first believed? This Lenten season we have another opportunity to see that it is an evil and bitter thing to forsake the Lord our God. Luther’s words regarding the significance of baptizing with water come into play here. It is the reminder of our daily drowning (repentance) of that sinful man so he cannot rule our hearts and minds to run after other gods, which are not gods at all.
May we daily remember how we cannot by our own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, our Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has called us by the Gospel, enlightened us with His gifts, sanctified and kept us in the true faith, which leads us to repentance!
We pray: Jesus, I will ponder now on Thy holy Passion; with Thy Spirit me endow for such meditation. Grant that I in love and faith may the image cherish of Thy suffering, pain, and death, That I may not perish. Amen. (TLH 140, vs. 1)