Tuesday, September 1, 2015

A Look at Betrayal

I swore I wouldn't venture into this topic.  Then God showed me something that I think He wants shared.  Like you, I am sick of hearing about Ashley Madison and the exposure of rampant sin across our nation.  Only three zip codes in the whole United States did not have someone signed up on this website.  That proves that this is not just a personal issue with the likes of a few famous people, but a whole-scale national issue.  We have strayed. Far.

While studying the book of Jeremiah (what a book for the times!) God reminded me of the figurative imagery He used over and over in this book.  He calls Israel His wife, and throughout the book, tells them that their repeated idolatry looks like betrayal in marriage.  In "The Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook" by Daniel Hays and Scott Duvall, it says, "idolatry against God, Jeremiah proclaims vividly, is a betrayal of the relationship between God and His people (i.e., the covenant), much like the betrayal of a marriage that occurs in acts of adultery."

Later, Jeremiah takes the image one step further and says that the wife has not just betrayed, but become the harlot, because she doesn't even blush at sin anymore. The above mentioned book says, "the people are chasing after other gods just like a married harlot chases after lovers in a total abandonment of her marriage (and causing pain and embarrassment to the husband.)"

I think when God exposed the Ashley Madison list, He is in essence saying that the list reflects not just the nation, but the church specifically...those that are in covenant with Him.  Have we strayed from His heartbeat?  Do we seek false and cheap imitations of the pure Love He offers?

The above book says, "What do we idolize and worship instead of God?  Wealth?  Success?  Fame?  Do we live for ourselves during the week, ignoring the call to stand for social justice, and then assume that attendance in church on Sunday will make it all okay?  Have we let our rituals (how we do church) replace our relationship with God?  Perhaps we need to listen carefully to the indictments of Jeremiah."

The word I can't get out of my head is repentance.  We as God's people must repent.

The beautiful thing about the book of Jeremiah is that it doesn't leave us in an anguished state.  Yes, the Prophet calls out the sin.  Yes, he proclaims God's desire for repentance.  Yes, there is judgment.  But, the book ends in forgiveness and restoration.  Our just God is always our merciful God.  He is never one without the other.  He is always and completely both at the same time.

There is restoration available.  But, first, repentance.

"So just as Jeremiah slaps us in the face with the seriousness of sin, so he also offers us the solution, pointing us to Jesus, who forgives us of all our sin."

A question for our souls today:  Have we betrayed our first love?

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