Pastor's Message - 2018 August Newsletter

Pastor Randy Gibbs


Jeremiah 2:5-13 5 This is what the LORD says: "What fault did your fathers find in me, that they strayed so far from me? They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves. 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. 9 "Therefore I bring charges against you again," declares the LORD. "And I will bring charges against your children's children. 10 Cross over to the coasts of Kittim and look, send to Kedar and observe closely; see if there has ever been anything like this: 11 Has a nation ever changed its gods? (Yet they are not gods at all.) But my people have exchanged their Glory for worthless idols. 12 Be appalled at this, O heavens, and shudder with great horror," declares the LORD. 13 "My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.


Jeremiah tells us that there was a time & place when God was upset; when God called upon the heavens to be shocked, appalled, and utterly desolate. Can you believe there was ever such time or such place; such a God?


God is upset because the people had strayed. God's own people had turned away, turned away from God! They had gone after worthless things. Things that seemed important were not important. Things that seemed to matter, didn't matter at all. These people wasted time and energy going after these things. In the process they wasted a lot of themselves. Could it be that in the end pursuing worthless things only makes you worthless? Why would people do that? Why would they stray from God to go after worthless things? Didn't they know better?


Maybe they forgot all that God had done for them. You know, things happen. Life can get crazy at times. Maybe they just forgot that God had brought them out from the land of Egypt. Or that God had rescued them from years of bondage, or had redeemed them from slavery in foreign land.


It probably slipped their minds that God had done for them, what they could never do for themselves. We know how easily that can happen. They just overlooked all the ways God led them through wilderness; through those times of darkness and doubt; confusion and uncertainty. It just got by them, all the ways God had sustained them in barren desert where nothing lives for long. Perhaps it slipped their minds that it was God who had walked with them through the valley of the shadow of death. They probably just forgot, that's all.


Still, it’s hard to imagine, isn't it? Turning away from God when God given them so much? Turning away when God loved them so deeply, and had provided so much for them? It is hard to imagine forgetting about the God who had brought them to plentiful land, a place and a life full of potential, possibility and goodness? Hard to get our minds around forgetting about the God who had blessed them beyond measure, giving them abilities, talents, comforts, luxuries, peace and prosperity (things no one really deserves. Things no one can earn). They had been given so much but had strayed so far from the God who had blessed them. Hard to imagine, isn't it? You'd think they'd have known better.


But the people have gone and the priests have gone and the rulers have gone; everyone has gone ... after things that are worthless, and have become worthless themselves. God watches, becomes upset. One wonders if this has ever happened before; or will again. Has a nation changed its gods, even though to what they have turned are no gods? But my people, the Lord says, have exchanged their glory for something that does not profit. As God's children, they had everything. As those who have forsaken God, they now have nothing. And they don't even know it!


Could there really be such a time, such a place, such a people? No wonder heavens are appalled, shocked and utterly desolate. It is unbelievable that God's own people would get so caught up what they are doing; what they thought important; what they thought they needed; that they forgot all about who they were; whose they were. It is amazing that people loved by God, called by God, blessed by God, would go after their own whims, desires, and interests; Would go after their own wants. It is astounding that those made in God's own image, would wrap themselves in images of their own making. It is incomprehensible that those created to glorify God, instead glorify and gratify themselves. It is inconceivable that people given infinite worth by God, would venture far and wide after worthless things and give themselves body and soul to things that have no value.


Could there really be such a time, such a place, such a people? No wonder God is upset and calls what they have done evil. They have turned away. They have forsaken God. They have turned from the fountain of living water; the sure, reliable, abundant source of true life. They have instead tried to build cisterns for themselves. God calls this second thing evil because these cisterns cannot sustain the life of this people. The cisterns they built cannot hold water of life. The works of their own hands are inadequate. People cannot survive on own. They cannot survive apart from God.


What do you suppose will happen to a people like that? To people like us? Where will we go to get living water, the water of life, if not at the well we have made for ourselves? Surely only at the well that God provides.


As Jesus said to the Samaritan women at the well, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water." Jesus tells her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty forever. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." John 4:13


For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." Revelation 7:17


And he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. Revelation 21:6

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