Summary: God created us for a relationship with Him in which he must come first, but our bias towards idolatry is the constant cause of all our ills.
1.2.09 UNREQUITED LOVE Jer 18:1-17
Do you remember the days of your first crush – when you fell head over heels in love with someone, but found out to your pain that the other person didn’t feel the same about you.
Unrequited love – or love that is not reciprocated can take other forms. The parable of the Prodigal Son is one example – a story in which a father’s deep love and affection for his son is not reciprocated by the son for the father.
POINT / APPLIC
It happens in families – whether it is a relationship between parents and their children or brothers and sisters, there can be a deep love and longing for a relative, but one which is not reciprocated – The love is spurned. It happens between partners in a marriage too.
There are strong similarities here between God’s love for his people and the way his people spurned that love and set their affection on other things.
This was in fact the singlemost factor that led to the downfall of God’s people Israel. Their heart’s affection became set on other things – on idols. And God was hurt by their spiritual adultery, betrayal and the consequences for his people that came about as a result.
CHALLENGE: I wonder whether you and I realize just how much it matters to God that give God our heart’s affection before anything else?
That we respond to his first and greatest commandment to: ‘Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, your mind and your strength’
For to love is to do more than show affection. It means to do right and to ally ourselves with God’s cause.
READING: JEREMIAH 18:1-17
• We are looking at the Scriptures as though they were written as a drama.
• The idea is that we see the big picture and so see ourselves within it.
• All too often we immerse ourselves in one part of the story and fail to see the relevance of it to ourselves because we don’t look at it as though it were either part of our own history or part of our future.
• To see the big picture is to find ourselves in the biblical story.
• In Act 1 we saw: The Curtain raised
• In Act 2: The catastrophic result of sin
• In Act 3 Scene 1 God’s choice of Abraham to be the father of not only the nation of Israel, but the spiritual father of those who become believers in Christ.
And so we looked last week at our place in the biblical story as ‘a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. ‘1 Peter 2:9
This week we are in Act 3 scene 2
And we are going to sweep through the rest of the Old Testament to observe the one thing that went wrong time and time again in the relationship between the people of God and God himself – their unfaithfulness to him.
The biblical story reads like an unhappy marriage in which the wife shows no true affection for her husband but whose affection is relentlessly given to others.
In Genesis Adam and Eve betrayed their trust in God by committing the first sin with dire consequences for the world and humankind – Instead of showing their love, trust and loyalty to God they listened to the voice of temptation and were seduced away from this – choosing instead to try to be like gods themselves. They placed their affections on something else other than their creator.
In Exodus When the Hebrews went in to possess the Promised Land a man named Achan coveted some of the riches that had been dedicated to the Lord for destruction, and he hid them under his tent. The result was that Israel became subject to destruction and only recovered when the sin of Aachan was discovered and Achan was dealt with ruthlessly. He placed his affection on riches rather than on obedience to the word of God.
In the time of the Judges when the people of Israel had settled into the Promised Land they were seduced away from the Lord whose commandments included: ‘Do not have any other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth You shall not bow down to them or worship the.’
Once they had settled in the land they defiantly broke God’s command and they worshiped the Baals – the gods of the pagans of the agricultural land, and entered into the fertility rituals that the people practiced. The result was that they were plundered by their enemies time and time again because they had opted to break faith with God and go it alone. Once again their affections were placed elsewhere. The book ends with war.