“And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah has not turned to Me with her whole heart, but in pretense,” says the Lord.” – Jeremiah 3:10
The ten northern tribes of Israel were now under Assyrian rule as a result of their sin of turning away from God. They were God’s chosen people yet turned their back on Him by not recognizing Him in their lives anymore. They thought they were doing well and drifted from His providence and loving care. And here, the prophet Jeremiah is now speaking God’s word to the southern tribe…Judah. He is telling the people that they have the opportunity to repent and to look at what happened to the northern tribe as an example and if they did not, judgment would once again come to God’s chosen.
At this time Judah was experiencing growth economically and doing well politically and as a result, they thought everything was fine. They were prospering physically but dying spiritually. They knew of the true God yet worshiped other gods in His place because their hearts were carried away by their desires. The people became arrogant thought since they were God’s chosen people, they could do whatever and live however they wanted. After all, how could a loving God ever bring judgment on anyone and send anyone to hell, right? This was their attitude and heart. So, they became arrogant and thought that what happened to the northern tribe would never happen to them.
A couple of weeks ago now, Pastor Dale Goddard of Calvary Chapel Golden Springs was teaching at a men’s study. He was teaching out of Revelation and talking about warnings. He said he liked warnings in his life. I agree with him, I like warnings too. They keep me focused, attentive and prepared. Think about it for a moment. For those who have alarms on their houses, they are used as advance warning systems for trouble and help keep safe from physical harm. God’s Word is used in the same way. Yes, it brings peace, hope and love but also brings warnings in advance and opportunities to prepare.
Warnings are good and they are there to cause us pause, to think and change direction when needed. This is what God was trying to do with Judah through the prophet Jeremiah… but they were not listening! The people had outwardly put away their idols in cooperation with King Josiah but it was only in pretense. The Bible tells us that God was “near to their mouth but far from their minds.” The Bible also says “from the abundance of the heart, the mouth shall speak.” God was not in their hearts or in their mouth, it was only near it. In other words, there was an appearance of a changed heart outwardly yet no change of heart inwardly.
What about your life? Where does it fit in this picture? Do you worship God in truth or in pretense? Is He near your mouth but far from your heart? Do you run to Him daily or just when you think you need Him? There are some great lessons and warnings to from the Bible but you have to spend time reading it to know. Otherwise you will be carried away by everything that sounds good, even though it is not truth.
“…Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.” – Ephesians 4:14-16