By the time Jeremiah became a prophet, the people of Israel had occupied the land of Canaan for about 800 years. Those years were generally characterized by a continuing rejection of God. Time and again the people turned from God and embraced the gods of the world.
Through Jeremiah, God called His people to return and worship Him as the One True God: “Tell them everything I command you; do not omit a word. Perhaps they will listen and each will turn from his evil way” (Jeremiah 26:2-3). His words reflect the heart of a Father longing to be reunited with His children. We can almost feel God’s heart breaking as He tells Jeremiah how far His children have fallen.
“For they have forsaken Me and made this a place of foreign gods; they have burned sacrifices in it to gods that neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah ever knew. They have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as offerings to Baal – something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter My mind.”
When God led the Israelites out of Egypt, He warned them about following the practices of the local people; “You must not do as they do in the land of Canaan” (Leviticus 18:3). The Canaanite values were evil and in conflict with the way God was calling His children to live. In fact, anytime we seek to follow the path of God, we soon discover the values of the world are often in conflict with the values God calls us to hold.
God’s chosen people not only turned their backs, but they even became involved in a local form of “worship” that included sacrificing their own children. It’s almost as if God was shaking His head in sad disbelief: “How could they have drifted so far away?” Of course, we must wonder if God is still shaking His head today.
Through faith in Jesus Christ, we have become children of God and can enjoy the blessings of a restored relationship with our Heavenly Father. We have also been given the ability to be blessed through relationships in our family and among our friends. And yet, how often do we sacrifice these blessings to the gods of this world? How often do we follow the practices of the world – with its “rules” for value and importance – and watch as our children are sacrificed in the fire of materialism? How often do we sacrifice loving relationships on the altar of selfish pride or lustful pleasure?
Our Heavenly Father calls us to sacrifice. But His call is to a complete sacrifice of worship to Him; “Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God” (Romans 12:1). This sacrifice involves the continual releasing of our will until we are “poured out as a drink offering” (2 Timothy 4:6). Let’s bring Him our very best and worship Him with a pure and complete devotion. Let’s evaluate our actions today and carefully consider what, and to whom, we sacrifice.
Have a Christ Centered Day!
God’s Daily Word Ministries
**** Reading Plan ****
Jan 31 Exodus 12:14-13:16; Matthew 20:29-21:22; Psalm 25:12-22; Proverbs 6:12-15