Daily Reflections July 14, 2017
In this chapter, Jeremiah both confronts idolatry and lifts God up as the only God worthy of worship. He does not seem to be very gentle on the polemic against the idolatry of the nations and Israel who is dabbling with idols as well. But often we look so much at the reason not to follow idols that we neglect to first observe why they are so enticing in the first place. Perhaps if we knew what was so attracting about them then we could more easily recognize when we were being pulled toward them like Israel. I think this chapter gives us some hints.
Idols sound good.
Jeremiah begins by relaying to them not to buy into the rhetoric of the culture. It was easy to believe in idols because they gave an understandable explanation of our world. The man-made narrative surrounding the idol let them know why the skies did what they did. It may have sometimes terrified them but at least they did not have to struggle with the mystery. Christians, on the other hand, must come face to face with the truth of the Apostle Paul in Romans:
“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! "For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” (Romans 11:33-34).
Idols may make us feel like we have a better grasp of this life but that is deceptive comfort. In reality, they only provide lies which reinforce the self-reliant heart that separates a person from God in the first place.
Idols are safe.
In verse 5, we are told that they are nothing to be afraid of. As long as they were sure to nail them down securely, there was no way they would interrupt their sleep. If, by chance, an idol did not meet your expectations or caused any kind of ill, it can simply be thrown into the fire and hammered into a friendlier version. The true God, however, is to be feared. In verse 10 of this chapter we read,
“But the Lord is the true God; he is the living God and the everlasting King. At his wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure his indignation.” (Jeremiah 10:10).
C.S. Lewis, in the Chronicles of Narnia, indicated this about God through his description of Aslan. In a conversation between Susan and Beaver, we read this: “’Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.’ ‘Oh’, said Susan. ‘I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion’…’Safe?’ said Beaver…’Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.’”
Idols look pretty.
Idols are intricately fashioned and beautifully decorated by craftsmen. They show off the expertise and talents of those who create them. Idols stand to showcase artistic beauty and worth. But their aesthetics and worth are only superficial, limited to the skill of their maker. The true God of this universe, however, is everlasting to everlasting. He is not the reflection of another’s skill because he is not made. His value is not dependent on gold or jewels that can be placed on him because he is inherently glorious. He does not simply look pretty, he is supremely lovely in all ways. As it is said in this chapter,
“every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols, for his images are false and there is no breath in them” (Jeremiah 10:14b)
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Evan Webster
To read today's reflection on Matthew 24, check out Pastor Paul's blog post on TGC Canada, called 'Making Sense of the Olivet Discourse' by clicking here.