2–8 October 2016.
A few years ago, a friend came to me in tears and told me that his wife was leaving him. While he was heartbroken, most of all he was hurt and confused. He had done everything for her, given her everything she wanted, made sacrifices to support her career – and now she was leaving with another man, and taking their son with her. My friend wanted to know: What more could he have done? A while later, we were chatting and I asked if there was any news from his ex-wife. He told me she had already left that new boyfriend after just a few months, because he had started to beat her.
It’s a common thing for relationships to end. But why do we so often leave behind what’s good and instead choose things that are bad for us? It doesn’t make any sense.
In Jeremiah 2, God doesn’t understand this either. God had such a wonderful relationship of love with the Israelites. He did everything for them: he cared for them, provided for them, and even sacrificed himself for them. And as a result, the Israelites turned their backs on him, and ran off to be with other gods. It makes no sense! They were worthless, they were nothing, it was God who gave them everything – and now they want to walk out on that relationship.
Even worse, in verse 7 look at the disaster they are leaving behind: They defiled the very land God provided for them, they corrupted the beautiful home they lived in together with God. Now they want to go their own way, and think they will be better off.
So in verse 9, God gives Israel what they wanted. He starts the court case, and files for divorce. Fine, let Israel have their own way – and then let’s watch it all end in disaster.
It’s this disaster that the book of Jeremiah tells us about. Jeremiah describes how Babylon comes and attacks the Israelites, beating them, destroying them, and dragging them off into exile.
So was it worth it? Was it worth leaving God’s love for that? Of course not. But aren’t we this way too? We demand to go our own way, even when that means destroying ourselves. I wish we could learn from Israel’s example, and stay faithful to the wonderful God who loves us so much.
Pastor Stephen Lakkis