As part of my devotional reading this morning I read Jeremiah 10. Jeremiah, the Old Testament prophet of doom and gloom. The prophet we get the word 'jeremiad' from, or "a prolonged lamentation or mournful complaint," although in all fairness that is due to his being the author of Lamentations, and not the book bearing his own name.
There is a lot in the book of Jeremiah that sounds harsh, particularly the repeated prophecy of judgment against God's people for their lack of faithfulness and their unwillingness to repent.
But there is also a lot of God's goodness to be found in Jeremiah, and chapter 10 is a prime example. Chapter 10 contrasts the Living God with false gods, with idols. Here is the example from this morning that just seems to stay with me today.
In verse 5 Jeremiah says this about the idols of the people:
"Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field, and they cannot speak; they have to be carried, for they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, neither is it in them to do any good."
Verse 5 gives us a picture of something that is completely without any power or ability of its own. At best, it is made to do whatever we might make it to do. Carry it over here. Pose it like this. Give it our undivided attention.
And in return it gives us…what?
Nothing. That's what.
Then verses 6 and 7 say this:
"There is none like you, O Lord; you are great, and your name is great in might. Who would not fear you, O King of the nations? For this is your due, for among all the wise ones of the nations and in all their kingdoms there is none like you."
Jeremiah reminds us that there absolutely no equals to God. He reminds us that no one, nowhere, comes even close.
In contrast to a scarecrow in a cucumber field we have One who is totally unique and without equal. One who is great in every possible way. One who is the only One deserving of our worship.
I have never bowed down to a scarecrow in a cucumber field, but many are the times that I have pursued something with the attention, the devotion, that I should have given to God. Some of those things have been things that were very clearly wrong. In others it wasn't the thing itself that was wrong but the devotion I had towards it.
God is gracious and merciful. And today I thank him for the way He speaks through Jeremiah, reminding me to look out for the idols of my life and to turn again to the only One who deserves my worship.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.