Jeremiah chapter 2             Back to Bible Studies

Throughout this chapter we encounter a specific theme. From beginning to end God speaks through Jeremiah to the nation about the fact that they have exchanged that which has tremendous value for that which has no value at all. Some strong imagery is used by the prophet to illustrate this point: the devotion of a young bride (v1) forsaking her husband, the people forsaking their God for worthless idols, forsaking a spring of living water for cisterns that cannot hold water, forsaking God their helper and turning to Egypt and Assyria for help, loving foreign gods instead of the living God, a bride forgetting her jewelry and the nation prostituting themselves, are some of the imagery used.

The word 'worthless' appears throughout the chapter either specifically or by inference and for us this forms the basis of our study of this chapter and the question that arises immediately is: 'Why..' For what reason would a nation or a person forsake that which is exceedingly valuable for something which has no value at all? Even God asks this question in the chapter, as if even He cannot understand it.

Let us turn first to verse 8 and a scripture reference which it immediately called to mind. In this verse God brings a charge against the priests that they neither asked after God nor knew Him. This reminds us of 1 Samuel 2:12: "The sons of Eli were base and worthless; they did not know or regard the Lord." This is a serious problem - when those who were supposed to guide people in the Law, did not even know God at all. Unfortunately this is even true today where ministers do not know God at all, but feed God's flock on a mixture of humanism and psychology...

We then looked at several scriptures which each shed some light for us on the way to answering our original question - why forsake that with great value for that which has no value?

Matthew 19:16-22: "Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life? Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments. Which ones?” he inquired. Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,' and ‘love your neighbor as yourself. “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?” Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.    

Malachi 3:13-15: “You have spoken arrogantly against me,” says the LORD. “Yet you ask, ‘What have we said against you?’ “You have said, ‘It is futile to serve God. What do we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the LORD Almighty?”

Psalm 73:21-28: "When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

Matthew 13:44-45:
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it".

Matthew 6:20-21: "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

From the above scripture references a clear picture emerges which answers our earlier question. Two issues are highlighted in particular. First of all, when we forsake something in favor of something else it simply means that the item we are after holds more value than the other. That is very clear in the scripture about the treasure hidden in a field. Secondly, the point is made that not knowing the value of something can also lead to us forsaking it for something else. This is clear from the passage in Malachi 3 which clearly illustrates that the Jews had their eye on what they could gain from God, rather than Himself. In this regard Paul gives us a wonderful passage to refer to: Philippians 3:7-8 "But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him ..."

Dear friends, may we truly come to know the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus our Lord and the priceless treasure of being with Him and Him with us. Then we will never forsake Him for anything else.

© 2011 Werner Schreiber

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