Today's 'lection reflection' isn't from today's daily lectionary reading but from the devotional guide my wife and I use each morning, To Live With Christ by Bo Giertz. This morning's reading was from Jeremiah 2. The following passage from this chapter struck me:
I remember the loyalty of your youth,
your love as a bride —
how you followed me in the wilderness,
in a land not sown...
What fault did your fathers find in me
that they went so far from me,
followed worthless idols,
and became worthless themselves?
They stopped asking, “Where is the Lord
who brought us from the land of Egypt,
who led us through the wilderness,
through a land of deserts and ravines,
through a land of drought and darkness,
a land no one traveled through
and where no one lived?”...
For they have turned their back to me
and not their face,
yet in their time of disaster they beg,
“Rise up and save us!”
But where are your gods you made for yourself?
Let them rise up and save you
in your time of disaster if they can...
--Jeremiah 2.2, 5-6, 27-28, CSB
In this passage Israel abandoned God during good times, chasing after other 'gods' of their own creation. But as soon as they fell on hard times--drought, enemy threats, and other disasters--they cried out to the Lord to save them again. This time, as a consequence for their faithlessness, God abandoned them for a time and gave their idols a chance to step up and rescue them...and we know how well that worked out.
The parallels between Old Testament Israel and God's people today are striking, not only here but throughout the Old Testament. Those who discard the Old Testament as irrelevant miss out on the bulk of God's Word and do so at their peril. In this passage, we see in Israel a cycle that is repeated over and over again in our own lives. When things go well, we become confident in our own abilities and talents to 'handle' everything that comes our way. We don't need God, we think. We've got this! But as soon as trouble strikes and the wheels fall off of life, we run back to God, our loving Father whom we tend to treat as little more than a genie in a bottle, stored away safely until times of trouble.
God, of course, is no genie. He is our creator, our sustainer, our Father in heaven upon whom we certainly are to call upon in every distress but also upon whom we are to give thanks and praise continually in good times as well. As the catechism reminds us:
I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them. He also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals, and all I have. He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life. He defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from all evil. All this He does only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me. For all this it is my duty to thank and praise, serve and obey Him. This is most certainly true.
Thanks be to God.
Photo by Ravi Pinisetti on Unsplash