Abandoning

Day 297

Prayer for the day

Seven times a day do I praise you, because of your righteous judgments.

Scripture for the day

Jeremiah 3-5, 1 Timothy 4

The descriptions of Israel’s and Judah’s sins against God are disturbing. Like children who refuse to love their parents, and like a wife who opens herself to many lovers, Israel and Judah have abandoned the love and care of God, seeking instead other gods and other nations. They have given up on God, though God has not given up on them. They praise God with their lips, while at the same time doubting God’s existence and intervention in their hearts. Their sins are many, their betrayal the most heinous.

This betrayal cuts to the core of their relationship with God. They have taken the covenant God cut with them and trampled it underfoot, to the extent that God gives Israel a “certificate of divorce,” the metaphor being completed. God has married Israel and Judah, and Israel has so strayed from her vows that God “divorces” her. While this is not the end of the story (God will call her back), it certainly is a painful and unnecessary way to live. Instead of honouring their commitment and loving God with everything, in gratitude, they reject. And in turn, they are rejected.

Paul warns Timothy of a similar propensity in the people of God to whom he ministers. They will be led astray, says Paul, by some who claim to be preaching the truth but who instead lead them into deadly error. These will place unnecessary restrictions on the people of God and lead them into places of sin in order to ruin the relationship they enjoy with their God. Paul warns them of this behaviour, and encourages all of God’s people to stand firm and to cling to their fist love and commitment, their love and care for the God who created them, called them, and loved them.

May we cling to God.

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