We all have our favorites in the Bible. One of mine is Jeremiah. God called him to be a prophet when he was very young. Jeremiah doubted his competence, and God had to assure him that he would be with him every step of the way. Jeremiah was a special prophet who asked thought provoking questions and gave soul stirring inquiries to his people. He lived at a time when people were more influenced by their culture than by their God. One of the questions Jeremiah asked needs to be asked today. He began one of his sermons with a description of some of the terrible things that were going on.
The people had lost their willingness to stay committed in friendships, business arrangements, marriage, and in even in their relationship with God. Because they had forgotten God, it affected every other area of their lives. Jeremiah writes that “disaster overtook them” (Jer. 2:3).
What a disaster! When they forgot God, they lost his presence in their lives. They lost his protection and provision. They had no idea how bitter their way would become. When they lost their commitment to marriage, they lost the love and integrity of a committed spouse. They lost their ability to be forgiven and to forgive each other. They were hurt, and they hurt each other. How did this happen? The prophet says it began because they stopped asking the most important question in life.
Jer 2:6 They did not ask, 'Where is the LORD, who brought us up out of Egypt and led us through the barren wilderness, through a land of deserts and rifts, a land of drought and darkness, a land where no one travels and no one lives?' 7 I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable. 8 The priests did not ask,’ Where is the LORD?’ Those who deal with the law did not know me; the leaders rebelled against me. The prophets prophesied by Baal, following worthless idols.
Our worth and identity come from God. When we abandon him, we lose our value. We start looking to others to provide our value. We depend on others’ approval for our identity. Our ability to distinguish right from wrong comes from God. When we lose that, we look to the culture to tell us how to live. Political correctness is an example of that. Our ability to forgive others and show compassion comes from God. When we lose this, we become bitter and resentful.
Jeremiah says, “They did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord, who brought us up out of Egypt?’” In other words, they lost their spiritual roots. When you stop making God the very center of your life, you are headed for trouble. When you lose sight of what God did for you—you are traveling the wrong road. When you stop talking to God and stop running everything by him before you make your decisions, you are already chasing worthless idols. Let us begin each day by asking, “Where is the Lord in my family, my job, my church, and my life?”