January 06, 2015

New Is Not Always Better

Jeremiah 2:4-13

“My people have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols.”

—  Jeremiah 2:11

Sometimes we discover that new is not always better. We seek out a new job, only to find that more hours and better pay do not satisfy in the way we had hoped. We long to leave our singleness behind, but then we learn that married life has difficulties too. We save for years to buy a new home, only to realize that the higher taxes and maintenance costs add pressure to our lives. We look forward to retirement, only to find that idle hours aren't the best use of our time.

After just two chapters in the Bible, the goodness of creation is replaced by the pain of something new: the human fall into sin. And much of the rest of the Bible portrays our struggle to return to paradise. Few resources help us understand that struggle as clearly as the words of Jeremiah 2. Sin, the prophet explains, involves turning our backs on God. Sin causes us to set up new idols in place of the living God. We no longer see the goodness of God but only the dry deserts and seasons of drought that come when our idols of wealth and pleasure fail to satisfy.

Change is not always good. Have things like sports or sex or work or possessions become "new gods" taking over your life? Look today for the "broken cisterns" in your life, and ask God to remove the novelties that keep you from seeing his glory.

Father, forgive my rebellion. Take away my idols. Keep me from wandering and exchanging you for so much less. Capture my attention with your glory and love, through Jesus. Amen.

About the author — Joel Vande Werken

Joel Vande Werken has been a pastor since 2007, serving churches in Sussex, New Jersey, and in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Brandie, have five young children.

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