Jeremiah 2: 9-37: Counterfeits seem better than the original
The world today is full of counterfeit stuff. Every good thing that comes out into the public domain is rapidly followed by similar items. Rarely is the copy better than the original. The most populous country in the world had a mil scar some years back. The temptation to make money was so great that babies who were fed the counterfeit milk products died. They paid the ultimate price.
It is no less urgent to avoid the counterfeit in the spiritual world. At a recent talk that I gave, someone challenged me by saying that religion was just a creation of man. The external forms may be different but the inner spiritual self is what matters, he said. As such, all ways to God were valid, as long as the “believer” was sincere.
I answered that analogy by suggesting that if the inner self was what mattered, it was of the utmost importance to ensure that what we believed was true. Any counterfeit would destroy us spiritually. Truth has to be mutually exclusive. A belief in a creator God was totally different to a belief in a universal ‘consciousness”. It was illogical to suggest that they represented the same thing.
It was like saying that it did not matter what milk was being given to the babies, as long as the person giving the milk was sincere. That sounds so silly to say, but so is the statement that all religions lead to the same God, even though the beliefs totally contradict each other.
God gave us the truth. As Christians we have the word of God to guide us. Yet we ignore the obvious statements of the Bible and try to accommodate all manner of teaching. Many church leaders and members are even reluctant to accept the plain teaching that Jesus is the only Way (John 14:6).
In Jeremiah’s time, God told him to indicate to His people (Israel) that ambivalence on this issue was not acceptable to Him to His people. The message is for us today.
1. God’s absolute truth is replaced by what man thought was true (v. 11). Israel had changed Gods. Most likely they thought they could add to what God has spoken or done. Do we add to the gospel today? Do we deny that Jesus is the only way? We may not say it, but our silence may speak to what we believe. Do we chase after things of this world? What are our other ‘gods”? (v.11a).
2. Israel had committed two evils against God (v. 13). They forsook God and made cisterns (”gods”) for themselves. Are we doing the same today? If you are looking to the world for ways to make a better life, make more money, advance up the corporate ladder etc, then you are trading dependence on God for the tools (“gods”) of the world. It may appear that we are doing nothing wrong, but it is still sin (v. 19 – a rebellious stance against God).
3. Israel denied they were ignoring God (v.23). Today, we often rationalize and mislead ourselves by saying that we still believe God and the Bible, even though our actions indicate otherwise. In the difficult times, our intellectualism and efforts will not be sufficient to help (v.23-28). And that is why God may allow difficulties to assail us, because that is when we will really seek the truth and stick with it.
We need the fear of God to be in us (v. 19). Otherwise we will end up doing everything on our own strength and agenda. The “fear” of God is not to be afraid of Him but to reverence Him to such an extent that we fully rely on Him and earnestly seek to do His will. There is no better way to live life. And avoid any indictment of our spiritual walk when we do meet Jesus face to face. It will happen.
Dr Joshua Thambiraj accepted Jesus as Saviour in medical school. He has a passion for preaching and teaching, and to share God’s word with those who do not know Christ. He holds a postgraduate theology degree and was ordained in 2002 and consecrated bishop in 2009 . He blogs at the Sword and Scalpel Reflections.