Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob and all the families of the house of Israel. Thus says the Lord:
“What injustice have your fathers found in Me, That they have gone far from Me, Have followed idols, And have become idolaters? Neither did they say, ‘Where is the Lord, Who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, Who led us through the wilderness, Through a land of deserts and pits, Through a land of drought and the shadow of death, Through a land that no one crossed And where no one dwelt?’ I brought you into a bountiful country, To eat its fruit and its goodness. But when you entered, you defiled My land And made My heritage an abomination.
The priests did not say, ‘Where is the Lord?’ And those who handle the law did not know Me; The rulers also transgressed against Me; The prophets prophesied by Baal, And walked after things that do not profit. (Jer 2:4-8)
The first part of this poem speaks like a wounded lover that has been left for another. Israel has left God and gone after idols. They have become what they follow. Bruggemann, in his commentary on Jeremiah, says, “Loyalty one has toward any god is decisive for the shaping of human life. We become like the god we serve. Pursue a bubble and become a bubble. The object of love determines the quality of love.” (Bruggemann, 1998)
Having lost their first love, they have taken what was given to them and destroyed it by their wanton lack of respect. Because their action will allow Babylon to enter the land, take what they want and destroy the rest. Even the social, civil, and religious leadership has gone after idols and refuses to stop the rot.
We have faired no better today. America worships sex, money, and power, following a pseudo-Christianity, we destroy the earth in which we live, the very creation that God said was very good.
Walter Bruggemann. A Commentary on Jeremiah: Exile and Homecoming. Eerdmans Publishing, MI. 1998.