September 30, 2015

Sermon Preparation

Jeremiah 3: 6-14

6During the reign of King Josiah, the LORD said to me, “Have you seen what fickle Israel has done? Like a wife who commits adultery, Israel has worshiped other gods on every hill and under every green tree.

7I thought, ‘After she has done all this, she will return to me.’ But she did not return, and her faithless sister Judah saw this.

8She saw that I divorced faithless Israel because of her adultery. But that treacherous sister Judah had no fear, and now she, too, has left me and given herself to prostitution.

9Israel treated it all so lightly—she thought nothing of committing adultery by worshiping idols made of wood and stone. So now the land has been polluted.

10But despite all this, her faithless sister Judah has never sincerely returned to me. She has only pretended to be sorry. I, the LORD, have spoken!”

11Then the LORD said to me, “Even faithless Israel is less guilty than treacherous Judah!

12Therefore, go and give this message to Israel. This is what the LORD says:

“O Israel, my faithless people,

come home to me again,

for I am merciful.

I will not be angry with you forever.

13Only acknowledge your guilt.

Admit that you rebelled against the LORD your God

and committed adultery against him

by worshiping idols under every green tree.

Confess that you refused to listen to my voice.

I, the LORD, have spoken!

14“Return home, you wayward children,”

says the LORD,

“for I am your master.

I will bring you back to the land of Israel—

one from this town and two from that family—

from wherever you are scattered.

Idolatry in the Old Testament sometimes involved fertility cults. A fertility cult might make use of "priests" and "priestesses." It isn't hard to see why God made the connection between his people's idolatry and adultery. It is harder for us to see the connection between idolatry and adultery against God in our experience - except when sexuality is an idol in our culture. We get bombarded with a lot of air-brushed visuals. Our culture is very sexualized. The imagery of the marriage between Christ and his bride the church helps. If we are betrothed to Christ and awaiting the consummation of our marriage when he returns for us, then the way our culture flaunts sexuality and insists that "physical needs must be met" tempts us into adultery from Christ. Sex is just one idol in our culture. Any idolatry can be considered adultery.