Thursday, August 02, 2007

On playing the whore

Jeremiah is sent to confront Judah's kings, priests, officials and people in the days before their exile. His message is far from popular and yet however much they oppose him, the rebellion will not prevail. It will finally end in bitter exile but at all times God's word triumphs. The opening word from the prophet begins with great comfort. Judah are the Lord's bride. Once they were deeply in love, and the Lord protected his bride from all who attempted to eat of her. Those early days were a glorious honeymoon. Sweet days of marriage. (2v1-3) Now however all is perplexing. Jeremiah speaks the word of God with all authority to diagnose the sin of his people. It gives us an anatomy of sin.

SIN IS LOVE BETRAYED 2v5-8
They have known the help of God and yet they have turned away. Given the land by their lover they have turned aside from him. Given a land to enjoy they have defiled in a relentless pursuit of unprofitable idolatry. In the cold light of day it is inexplicable. We hear the bewilderment of the sovereign Lord. Was there something God failed to do for his people? Was he somehow found wanting in his saving love? The answer of course is no, yet without cause his people strayed and chose lesser lovers.

SIN IS SENSELESS EVIL 2v9-19
The lense is focussed more clearly on the folly of sin. They are unique! Would another nation change gods? The heavens should gasp in shock as they hear about it. They universe standing back in shock and the sin of God's people. If the greatest minds on earth took a moment to consider it they would be left speechless. Offered life they embraced death. Offered living waters they chose to drink in the dust of drought. Set free at great cost they go looking for ways to become slaves. Sin is inexplicably stupid. It defies reason. It defies common sense.

There is more. Spurning God isn't just stupid. It is evil beyond all evils. Our maker calls us to obey his word and stakes his claim on our lives, how dare we look elsewhere? How dare I claim to know better than him? How dare I have such ingratitude? How dare I worship any other? The obvious thing for the Lord to do here would be to abandon his unfaithful wife and yet he persists. The groom goes to death on a roman cross to wipe the slate clean, atoning for the sin of his runaway bride.


SIN IS DECEPTIVELY DENIED 2v20-37
A thief caught in the act confesses his sin with shame (26) but this people feign innocence. They will be ashamed when judgement comes. Such is the nature of a sinful heart that it is self-deceiving. Caught in the act it will do everything to hide or claim extenuating circumstances or perhaps return to it's first manifestation as a blameshifter. When I'm exposed the natural thing seems to be to cover up the crime yet God's eyes are open. He sees the crime. Who am I kidding with my denial?

SIN IS EXCESSIVE WHOREDOM 3v1-5
The verdict is desperate. A people married to the Lord have played the whore (3v1) with many lovers. Whereever they have gone they've sinned to the extreme. They could nt be more evil than they are. They've made it an extreme sport in which they excel. The base nature of sin is whoredom. Jeremiah isn't the only prophet to put it in these terms (Hosea, for example). The Lord's love for his people is vast and yet spurned. How great is his saving love to set her free and yet they/I persist in spiritual adultery, in unfaithfulness. We love to play the whore.

The spurned lover persists. He speaks. He puts life before her once again. His love magnified as he bears the penalty of such great sin upon himself, giving his all to purify his bride. And having knowing the love of Jesus Christ for his church how I ought to leave such sin behind. No longer to stupified by my sinful heart but led by God's Holy Spirit. No longer in denial but able to make an open confession of my sin and receive grace.

Too often, like Israel, I've played the whore. I've covered my eyes and not seen his blessings. I've covered my ears and not listened to his word. I've lived as if my not seeing him means he can't see me. I've been a stupid fool and made a fool of him. Enough now. Enough.

About ten years ago this week an arrogant, ignorant, hypocritical teenage sinner got 'married' to God. It was arranged it in eternity past but was a total surprise to me. It certainly wasn't deserved but simply because Jesus blood was shed 2000 years earlier. There is no earthly reason why God should have lavished his love upon me. Looking back what I know is that it shows once more the great reach of Jesus' death and by that I'm humbled and rejoicing.

My sin is stupid and evil, his love is immense.

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