Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Jer. 2:4 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 wrong did your ancestors find in me
that they went far from me,
and went after worthless things, and became worthless themselves?
6 They did not say, “Where is the Lord
who brought us up from the land of Egypt,
who led us in the wilderness,
in a land of deserts and pits,
in a land of drought and deep darkness,
in a land that no one passes through,
where no one lives?”
7 I brought you into a plentiful land
to eat its fruits and its good things.
But when you entered you defiled my land,
and made my heritage an abomination.
8 The priests did not say, “Where is the Lord?”
Those who handle the law did not know me;
the rulers transgressed against me;
the prophets prophesied by Baal,
and went after things that do not profit.
The Lord speaks to the people of Israel through the prophet Jeremiah. It is in this passage that the emotion of a God in pain is heard. So great is the love the Father has for all of his children, and the desire to care for his children so deep that even God struggles to comprehend why they have turned their back on him. The passage is one of a wounded loving Father who tries to recount for his children all the good that he has done for they refuse to do so. The leaders, the elders and the priests refuse to repeat the stories of God’s faithfulness and the Father who dearly loves his children is left alone, wounded, and wondering why the children have deserted him.
Thinking of God in vulnerable terms may make us uncomfortable and yet, our heavenly Father loves us enough to share his emotions. We were created in the image of God and when we begin to see the depth of love and emotion which pours from the heart of God we realize that we may have just begun to scratch the surface of this relationship. God loves us more than we can imagine and desperately wants to be in a face to face relationship with us. God delights in spending time with us! God wants to care for our needs and walk every step of this journey of life with us.
God has never forced a relationship, but has always tried to lovingly point the way toward holy fellowship. We wound God when we turn our backs and choose to be satisfied by the things of this world. What is it that fills our time and space? The things that we allow to consume our lives become our gods. The responsibility for shaping the community of faith lies on the shoulders of the three groups of people listed. The leaders of the Israelites had a responsibility to tell the story of God and deliverance among their people. It was their job to keep the vision and mission of the people of God alive. They were to continually share about God’s faithfulness and never let the people forget their roots and to whom they were to be grateful. When the leaders stopped telling the story they allowed the vision of other nations to become their vision and they allowed Yahweh to take second place to the gods of other nations.
The elders no longer passed on the faith to the next generation. God had instructed the Israelites to teach their children in the home about their faith. The good news was to be written on their doorposts and a part of family conversation on a daily basis. They were to talk about the stories of God as they walked and went about their daily business. It is our responsibility to talk about God and God’s faithfulness to our families. Most of us have family lore about God’s intervention that can be shared with the next generation. We need to take the time to sit around the family dinner table and share the stories of God. (Research shows that we must take time to sit around the table and talk for this is where formation occurs) When the lives of children are filled from morning to night with media they don’t get to hear the voice of the elders sharing the stories of God’s faithfulness and God is wounded.
Finally the religious leaders were to have continued sharing the stories of God’s faithfulness. We used to have the old testimony services where people shared about the ways in which God answered prayer. What has happened to those times? Maybe we have become too uncomfortable sharing these truths with the church family but in the meantime we may be wounding God. The people forgot about God because in their religious practices they stopped telling the stories and testifying to God’s faithfulness.
Yes, God can be wounded for God loves us deeply. Loving God means we intentionally share the stories and vision of God’s faithfulness in the past so that those in the present will not turn away from the faith. Our wounded God in Jesus Christ bears the marks of suffering so that we will return and remain in a holy relationship with our loving Father.
Lord, please help me to be a faithful witness to your love. Amen.