Reading: Jeremiah 2
What is the effect of saying that life evolved from eternally existent matter? Said another way: What is the outcome of believing that matter always was, and that, in chance, it just so happens that life started and became increasingly stronger and more organized through mutation (a statistical impossibility), until finally, chance has it, we are here? Jeremiah 2 answers this question, so to speak.
Before we believers twist our elbows patting ourselves on the back as we contemplate the previous questions, let me ask another question Jeremiah speaks to, more directly. What is the result of God's people having turned from a life of God-dependence expressed by abiding in the vine, to a life of self-dependence demonstrated in prayerlessness, or exposed by how we spend our money and time?
They say to wood, “You are my father,” and to stone, “You gave me birth.” They have turned their backs to me and not their faces; yet when they are in trouble, they say, “Come and save us!”...Where then are the gods you made for yourselves? Let them come if they can save you when you are in trouble! For you have as many gods as you have towns, O Judah. (Jeremiah 2:27-28)
Judah had forsaken God and turned to worthless idols. When Judah said to an idol, “You are my father,” or, “You gave me birth,” they were saying it to something made of wood or stone. The evolutionist does this with the earth, or matter. “We came from matter and chance.” In other words, “You gave me birth.” And the evolutionist and the religious idolater are both guilty of the same hypocrisy: “yet when they are in trouble, they say, 'Come and save us!'” The implication is that the answer will be, “Lots of luck!” (See also Proverbs 1:28.)
This text, however is not about the evolutionist, or the materialist (though the application may well fit). It is about Judah, and by implication, about the professed Christian who is not trusting God, not living a God-dependent life. It is about the person who claims to be Christian, and yet is really trusting in idols.
11Has a nation ever changed its gods? (Yet they are not gods at all.) But my people have exchanged their Glory for worthless idols. 12Be appalled at this, O heavens, and shudder with great horror," declares the LORD. 13"My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water. (Jeremiah 2:11-13)
By turning to idols, and not trusting God, we commit two sins: 1) We are forsaking God, the source of life (“the spring of living water”); 2) We make our own gods as we turn to self-dug cisterns, to self-made or man-made sources of life-sustaining water. In effect, we are like an electric appliance that (imagine it is animated) unplugs itself from a real electrical outlet, and keeps plugging itself into outlets that are not connected to electric sources, but we expect them to keep us powered. We have some sort of battery life, but we are not really living, we are dying. (For more on this read, If Living Grows Out of Life, then Dying Grows Out of Death.)
We do this because at some level we think God is unfair, or unrealistic, or doesn't understand. His way of directing our lives seems to be so limiting that it can't possibly lead to life. We have a better idea! Or so we think. (Jeremiah 2:20) We think of God's ways as a yoke or bondage. What is the outcome of all this?
“They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves.” (Jeremiah 2:5)
The word translated “worthless” appears twice in this sentence and it is a word the reader of the Hebrew Bible would have been familiar with. A word that has been known from Genesis 4:2. “Hebel” or Abel, as we know him, was the son of Adam and Eve, and the brother Cain killed. His life was “Hebel,” it was but a breath, a vapor. We read this word often in the book of Ecclesiastes when we read that life under the sun, or life considered apart from the existence and fear of God, is vanity (Hebel), it is but a vapor and therefore is meaningless. Like the morning mist, like Abel's life, it is here but a moment, and disappears.
When we live our lives trusting in and dependent on anything but the eternal God, we are following vaporous idols (they will soon disappear.) Doing so our own lives become like that same vapor...we too become meaningless, and short-lived. Only when we build our lives on the solid foundation of the Word of the Eternal God can we endure forever. (See 1 Peter 1:23-25.)
What are you trusting in? What is your life built on? You may say, “I trusted in Jesus,” (once a long time ago), but are you living life trusting in Christ? Are you abiding in the vine? Or are you plugging yourself into outlets that don't have life to offer? In Him is life. Anything else we turn to for life can only deceive us. Prayer, Bible-reading, and study are all good things. But they are not living. They are not good deeds. When understood properly, they are plugging into the source of life, Christ, so that we might go live. They are actions that grow out of a complete dependence on Christ in order to do anything good. We turn to Him for life and strength, and empowering by His Spirit to do what He has called us to do.
Love the Gospel, Live the Gospel, Advance the Gospel,