Don’t Baal on God

April 3, 2020 at 9:04 am | Posted in Jeremiah | 2 Comments
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Thus saith the LORD, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain?

Jeremiah 2:5

Do you know someone who used to attend church faithfully, but doesn’t anymore? What are some of the reasons that you’ve heard as to why they walked away from church? Perhaps their feelings were hurt by the real or perceived bad behavior of a church member or leader. Perhaps they identified hypocrisy in the church. Maybe they felt like they “just weren’t getting anything out of it.” Maybe they got involved in other activities and didn’t have time. It could be that their underlying motivation for coming to church was that they believed it was good for their children, but then, one day, their kids got too old for youth group.

We tend to give people a pass on these issues: “Well, they got of church, but that doesn’t mean they left God.” The Bible sure doesn’t look at it that way. Jeremiah 2:5 is a scalding rebuke, and it’s in the form of a rhetorical question because no one could actually give a satisfactory answer to the question, “What iniquity did your fathers ever find in God Himself?” And, by extension, “What iniquity can YOU claim to have found in Him?”

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

James 1:17

There are no imperfections in God’s character, in His will, or in His Word, and there is no “dark side” to God’s nature. He is immutable, so He does not turn from evil, because He never has and never could or can turn TO evil. It is logically impossible for God to sin. Therefore, while you might find a universe of faults with any and every church member, pastor, teacher, or leader you encounter, God has demolished this is a reason for walking away from HIM – and therefore from walking away from His covenant people.

The idea in the use of the term “walking” is not really physical footsteps; it is the idea of “following after” someone or something, the way Jesus recruited disciples by saying “Follow Me.” He didn’t mean just going to the same location He was going to in Judea (although in His earthly ministry that would have been part of it). He meant following His teaching and example – obeying Him and worshiping Him with attention and emulation.

God had Jeremiah tell the leaders in Jerusalem that they and their fathers (their ancestors) had a long history of “following” – of walking after – “vanity,” a play on the Hebrew word for “vain” (habal) and the similar sounding word for the false god Baal (bahal). In other words, they “Baaled (bailed) on God,” who HAD helped them, and was the the only one who COULD help them, because the other god is not even real – he’s vanity. He’s emptiness masquerading as fullness.

Jesus, during His earthly ministry, was always “full,” because His “meat” was to do the will of His Father – the will of God.

In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

John 4:31-34

The surest way to become empty is to follow after emptiness. If we become silly, vain, ineffective, then we will only have ourselves to blame, because God Himself is an endless source of satisfaction, purpose, joy, meaning, and fulfillment in this life and the next.


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  1. […] went from a general reading of the complaint by God against His people to a more specific zeroing-in on the details of their crimes. For my people have committed two evils; they have […]

  2. […] Backsliding seems to imply “moving away from,” without “turning away from,” and this is another description of what angers and grieves God: paying homage to Him in appearance only – and even with our words and our posture – while slyly “walking away” from Him and walking after vanity. […]

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