As you quiet yourself for this brief time, be willing to be open to God in whatever way that may take place.
10 Hear the word that the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel. 2 Thus says the Lord:
Do not learn the way of the nations
or be dismayed at the signs of the heavens,
for the nations are dismayed at them.
3 For the customs of the peoples are false:
a tree from the forest is cut down
and worked with an ax by the hands of an artisan;
4 they deck it with silver and gold;
they fasten it with hammers and nails
so that it cannot move.
5 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,
nor is it in them to do good.
6 There is none like you, O Lord;
you are great, and your name is great in might.
7 Who would not fear you, O King of the nations?
For that is your due;
among all the wise ones of the nations
and in all their kingdoms
there is no one like you.
8 They are both stupid and foolish;
the instruction given by idols
is no better than wood!
9 Beaten silver is brought from Tarshish
and gold from Uphaz.
They are the work of the artisan and of the hands of the goldsmith;
their clothing is blue and purple;
they are all the product of skilled workers.
10 But the Lord is the true God;
he is the living God and the everlasting King.
At his wrath the earth quakes,
and the nations cannot endure his indignation.
11 Thus shall you say to them: The gods who did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens.
12 It is he who made the earth by his power,
who established the world by his wisdom
and by his understanding stretched out the heavens.
13 When he utters his voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens,
and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth.
He makes lightning for the rain
and brings out the wind from his storehouses.
14 Everyone is stupid and without knowledge;
goldsmiths are all put to shame by their idols,
for their images are false,
and there is no breath in them.
15 They are worthless, a work of delusion;
at the time of their punishment they shall perish.
16 The portion of Jacob is not like these,
for he is the one who formed all things,
and Israel is the tribe of his inheritance;
the Lord of hosts is his name.
What gorgeous, poetic words! Jeremiah is privileged that the Lord chose him to utter these words. At the same time, Jeremiah is taking a great risk – saying words of truth that might make his hearers angry. Serving as God’s prophet is not easy.
I enjoy walking in my neighborhood early in the morning, just as the sun begins to provide a bit of light. As I walk, I pray for the people who live in the pretty, hundred-year-old homes. I thank God for the lush gardens and shady trees. One morning, during my reverie, a thought poked itself into my mind – “they shall perish.” What shall perish? “All of these people and their pets. All of these trees, flowers, and plants. All of these homes.” What a horrible thought! But it’s true.
Age after age, on this earth, human beings build majestic structures to commemorate their own greatness. Age after age, on this earth, human beings attempt to leave a legacy so that the people to come will know their names. In our effort to be great, we create many idols. All idols are “like scarecrows in a cucumber field.” (What a great phrase!) They can do nothing. Nothing! They have no abilities, and they shall all die. But our God can do anything. And our God will never die! All idols are works of delusion. And all things of this world will die.
Loving and powerful God, you are truly my only hope. You know me so well. You are always hovering around me, waiting for me to recognize you. I want to see you, to hear you, to know you, and to praise you. Help me to acknowledge your greatness. Amen.
Go with God!