Jeremiah 10:1-16, NLT
“This is what the Lord says: ‘Do not act like the other nations, who try to read their future in the stars. Do not be afraid of their predictions, even though other nations are terrified by them.” Jeremiah 10:2, NLT
The human heart is idolatrous. In the ancient world people worship idols made of wood, silver or gold and they prayed to the idols for their provisions and protection. As human beings prospered materially, they prayed for health, wealth and prosperity. In the modern world, the idols we worship are comfort, pleasure, money, sex and power. To lead human beings out of idolatry, God led the Jews out of Egypt into the Promised Land to be His show piece to the world of what it means to be a special people of God:
“What other nation on earth is like your people Israel? What other nation, O God, have you redeemed from slavery to be your own people? You made a great name for yourself when you redeemed your people from Egypt. You performed awesome miracles and drove out the nations and gods that stood in their way. You made Israel your very own people forever, and you, O Lord, became their God.”1
The Jews were to show the world that they worship a God that is way beyond the idols of human imagination. They were not to act like the other nations or to be afraid of their predictions of the future:
“This is what the Lord says: ‘Do not act like the other nations, who try to read their future in the stars. Do not be afraid of their predictions, even though other nations are terrified by them.”2
They were not to be afraid of the idols of the nations around them which cannot harm them nor do them any good. These gods are like helpless scarecrows in a cucumber field who cannot speak and need to be carried as they cannot walk. There is no one like God who is great and whose name is full of power.3 The Jews were to be a shining example of a people who are living by God’s instruction manual for the abundant life:
“If you obey the commands of the Lord your God and walk in His ways, the Lord will establish you as his holy people as he swore he would do. Then all the nations of the world will see that you are a people claimed by the Lord, and they will stand in awe of you.”4
Unfortunately, like Adam, they became gluttons for power instead of being stewards of God’s creative power. They became conformists instead of transformers. And so they had to be led into exile in Babylon. Like the Jews, we too fall into idolatry and turn away from God when we adopt a comfortable, materialistic and successful lifestyle. And we need God to turn us back to Him.5 This is the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”6
The Good News is that the Kingdom of God is in our hearts when we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and King. It is only by faith in the revelation and evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ that God can set us free from our addiction to sin by changing our stony and idolatrous hearts. Our faith journey is to let our hearts be flooded with light so that we can understand the confident hope of being the holy people of God. Then we will grow in understanding of the incredible greatness of the power of Christ’s resurrection to transform our minds and hearts.7
When the gospel of Jesus Christ is rooted deeply in our hearts and minds, there will be a radical difference in the way we think about our meaning and purpose in life as well as about suffering and death. N.T. Wright makes the point that the true Good News for every person in the whole world is that Jesus is our King. When this Good News influences how we think, make personal decisions, endure hardships or navigate conflict, our worries and problems can become part of the tapestry of God’s work to recreate his beautiful world as we pray and lend our energies to his good purposes to flood all of creation.8 Only then can we be transformers instead of conformists as we live in the power of the Cross:
“Oh, to see my name
Written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death,
Life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.
This, the power of the cross:
Son of God, slain for us.
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the cross.”9
Lord, help me to be Your transformer in the world as You reign in my heart.
- What are the idols in my heart that blinds me to God’s grace?
- Am I living as a conformist or a transformer?
- How does my living show that Jesus is King in my heart?
Song of Praise:
The Power of the Cross
- 2 Samuel 7:23-24, NLT
- Jeremiah 10:2, NLT
- Jeremiah 10:5-6, NLT
- Deuteronomy 28:9-10, NLT
- Psalms 80:3, NLT
- John 3:16, ESV
- Ephesians 1:18-20, NLT.
- N.T. Wright, Simply Good News.
- The Power Of The Cross, Stuart Townend