A Bad Trade-In (Jeremiah 2)

 What is the best, most refreshing water you have ever had?

I know some of the best water I have ever had is an ice cold, bottled water or water from a cold fountain

Say you had a choice between cold, refreshing and satisfying bottled water or a glass of lukewarm tap water- which would you choose? (Maybe a bad analogy)

If you are like the Israelites or any other human being who has lived on the planet- we will often opt for the lukewarm tap water over the bottled water. It can be the same with God.

That’s what God calls our attention to in Jeremiah 2. The Israelites had access to cold bottled water but settled for the lukewarm tap water.

“I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown. Israel was holy to the LORD, the firstfruits of his harvest. All who ate of it incurred guilt; disaster came upon them”- Jeremiah 2:2-3

In the past, Israel experienced the favor and protection of God as they had total devotion, complete trust and ultimate delight in him when he rescued them out of Egypt. Loving God above all, they were drinking the best water available- not in the absence of trials (they followed him into a barren wasteland)-  but they still had the best there was to drink.

Then they gave it all up and forgot all about how God had delivered them from Egypt. 

“Has a nation changed its gods, [A]

even though they are no gods? [B]

But my people have changed their glory [A]

For that which does not profit [B]" 2:11

"They have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters [A]

And hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that hold no water [B]" 2:13

Would you trade in this new car for that old one? Would you take the lukewarm tap over the bottled water? Not only did Israel choose their sin over God, they traded it in

Back then, spring water was the freshest and best water available (like bottled water). Yet, they decided to dig their own well for water. A cistern would hold water, but it would be polluted, dirty and not as cold. Spring water was the better choice. Israel’s cistern could not even hold water. Israel had access to the unseen and living God, but they worshipped their own idols. These didn’t even represent real gods, just like a well that cannot retain any water. These idols were made by their hands with the intention to satisfy them, just like a cistern that was dug to hold water when spring water was readily available.

It goes even further-

“And now what do you gain by going to Egypt to drink the waters of the Nile? Or what do you gain by going to Assyria to drink the waters of the River [Euphrates]” - 2:18

Israel chose to trust in Egypt and Assyria, the superpowers of the day, for their safety and prosperity. Both of these are represented by their rivers- a source of water which Israel chose to drink from. People will often choose the world for their security, instead of taking shelter under God’s protection.

God’s only question to this is- why? (see verses 5-8, 14, 21, 29)

This is not something that just happened with Israel. It has been going on since the beginning, 

“[rejectors of God] exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images of mortal man and animals and reptiles. Therefore, God gave them over in the desires of their hearts... they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the creator” Rom 1:22, 25”

“Your evil will chastise you and your apostasy will reprove you. Know and see that is evil and bitter for you to forsake the Lord your God” - Jer 2:19

“You shall be put to shame by Egypt as you were put to shame by Assyria. From it too you will come away with your hands on your head” Jer 2:37

Notice that each time that people trade in something else for God, they experience the consequences of their own trade-in.  

Why do we trade in our sin for God? Because, we think it is better than God. The water of the Nile and the Euphrates may look and feel refreshing, at first. But it can never compare to the spring water God offers.

Choose God, not your sin. Don’t make a bad trade in- don’t be fooled by the old car, the tap water, the leaky cistern or idols. Don’t think the world will give you comfort. Make God the thing you love the most.


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