Two Evils and a Banquet

“Two Evils and a Banquet”

Jeremiah 2:4-13                   Luke 14:1, 7-14


          Through personal experience or observation everyone is aware of the joy of marriage.  We can probably say the same about the unpleasantness of divorce…and all that leads to it.

Jeremiah is telling us the story of a very unpleasant divorce.  All of chapter two of Jeremiah is just like the courtroom activities that make up a divorce hearing today.

Just before the hearing began God had gone through the photos of the wedding to his bride Israel.  He remembered how the bride adored him when they were first married.

But…God is now on the witness stand…in agony…the kind of agony that comes from broken love.  God remembers the faithfulness of Israel.

The children of Israel gave their hearts to God when they were married.  They rejoiced in the romance of redemption.

The proof of Israel’s love was that she followed God wherever he led…through the desert…through a land not sown.  His bride submitted to the guidance of her spouse.  Israel was young and in love and all she wanted was to be close to her husband.  Barren wilderness was the bridal suite…but Israel followed God from there to the Promised Land.

God was a faithful husband.  He kept his wedding vows.  God had passion for his bride.  He took her to love and cherish…treated her with honor and respect…setting her apart as holy.

God protected his bride.  If anyone threatened Israel or encroached on her territory…God treated it as an attack on his own person.  Ask the Egyptians or the Philistines.

God provided for his bride.  He gave Israel a beautiful home.  There was plenty of food in the pantry and in the fridge.

But…now it’s time to wake up and smell the burnt toast.  The honeymoon is over. How could this be?  It was such a beautiful wedding.  The honeymoon was so wonderful.  The bride was so devoted.  The husband was so faithful.  Where did it all go wrong?

God told the court that he did not leave his people.  They dumped him.  Why would anyone ever move away from God?  There is no explanation…nor excuse.  God’s bride separated from her husband for no apparent reason.

That would reinforce the old saying…If God does not seem as close as he used to…who moved?  Who moved in our lives?  Who moved in the lives of those we call leaders?  Who moved in the lives of those who shape our businesses… institutions…church…and government?

God claimed to be the one who was wronged.  God was the plaintiff.  He told the court that his bride followed worthless idols and became worthless herself.  This was the only legitimate grounds for divorce…adultery.  In this case it’s spiritual adultery.

The marriage was dying because of neglect.  God’s people no longer sought God.  They no longer asked, “Where is the Lord?”  They no longer told the mighty stories of salvation.  They forgot the love that had saved them.

Is God’s testimony familiar?  Do we express thanks daily for God’s gift…unearned gift… of salvation in Jesus Christ?  Do we share with others the stories of God’s saving acts in history and in our lives?

Few of us intend to fall into sin.  But it is only after falling that we realize we have drifted away from God’s love…moved toward divorce.

God’s people had swapped the glorious gift of his divine presence for idols made of wood and stone.  By taking up these dead idols Israel had bartered away the living God.  Think about that…the pagans never left their dead gods of wood and stone…but the Israelites left their living God.  What idols today get in the way of our living God?  Power?  Prestige? Stuff?  Money?  The isolated comfort of a lazy chair? A football team?  Some man or woman we see on a screen?

God was seeking the divorce because his bride had pursued two evils.  She had forsaken her loving spouse.  She had taken up with others.

Here’s the good news.  It’s called reconciliation.  God gave to his you and me…the opportunity to renew the vows and the relationship…with complete forgiveness.

As with many reconciliations there is a great celebration…a feast.  We are invited to that banquet by the host…our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

It’s a moveable feast.  It’s wherever you are…because that’s where Jesus is, also.

Though you may sit in a humble seat you have a place of honor at the feast.

It is a bountiful feast…the table set with love…with forgiveness…with healing…with comfort.

Let us take our humble yet honored seat …forsake those other idols…whatever or whomever they might be…and renew our vow to God.  Let us rejoice and celebrate in his willingness and desire for us to return to him….the spouse who provides and protects…and has promised to love us always…to be with us always.

Leave a Reply