Monday after Judica
Scripture: Jeremiah 2:1-19 (NKJV)
2 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.
“Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation; oh, deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man!”
With these words, yesterday’s Introit (from Psalm 43) introduced the two weeks known as Passiontide. Our focus is now turned more dramatically toward what our Lord will suffer. Yet, in so turning, we are forced into deeper introspection. When we see our Lord’s suffering we must echo Jesus’ word from the cross: “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Him?” Or, as Johann Heermann has taught us to sing this thought: “O, dearest Jesus, what law hast Thou broken?” (TLH #143).
Why was the Christ forsaken? The Lord says through Jeremiah, “My people have changed their Glory for what does not profit…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.” Jesus was forsaken by God because Man forsook God. He was forsaken because the “People of God” in the Old Testament (the outward institution that was known as Israel) forsook God. He was forsaken because that which looks like the Church to the human eye (and within which the true Church is hidden) has so often forsaken God. And He was forsaken because even the flesh of Christians often turns against Him, against whatever in His Word pricks the conscience. “It is my sins for which Thou, Lord, must languish!” (TLH #143).
We pray: O Lord we suffer because we lack perfect fear, love, and trust in You. Grant, for Jesus’ sake, that our own wickedness and backslidings will indeed serve to rebuke and correct us, that we may see such sin as evil and bitter and be turned from it to faith in Christ as our only remedy. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.