Saturday, July 27, 2013

Jeremiah's Turning #1: Rude Wild Donkey Metaphors

Following the word “turn” (שוב) through Jeremiah’s prophecy.

“‘How can you say, “I am not defiled, I have not gone after the Baals”? Look at your way in the valley! Know what you have done! You are a swift young camel entangling her ways, a wild donkey accustomed to the wilderness, that sniffs the wind in her passion. In the time of her heat who can turn [שוב] her away? All who seek her will not become weary; in her month they will find her. Keep your feet from being unshod and your throat from thirst; but you said, “It is hopeless! No! For I have loved strangers, and after them I will walk.” As the thief is shamed when he is discovered, so the house of Israel is shamed; they, their kings, their princes and their priests and their prophets, who say to a tree, “You are my father,” and to a stone, “You gave me birth.” For they have turned their back to Me, and not their face; but in the time of their trouble they will say, “Arise and save us.” But where are your gods which you made for yourself? Let them arise, if they can save you in the time of your trouble; for according to the number of your cities are your gods, O Judah. Why do you contend with Me? You have all transgressed against Me,’ declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 2:23-29).

The “young camel” and “wild donkey” metaphors seem crude - certainly not the stuff of nice, polite daily devotions! Yet, this metaphor very accurately describes the popular philosophy of most people (sadly, even many who confess to follow Christ). “Follow your heart,” we’re told. Did you know the Bible calls this foolishness?

“Listen, my son, and be wise, and direct your heart in the way...he who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered” (Proverbs 23:19; 28:26).

To follow the impulse of the heart is to follow a billion things away from the Lord. “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12//16:25).

“For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin. But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully” (2 Corinthians 11:2-4). This is a sad commentary on a people who are supposed to “have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).

Wild animals following their base instincts with the tools of manipulation and logic (the fine-tuned product of macro-evolution) or created images of God redeemed and restored to that image? Which is it, Church?

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