Two Sins

Read: Jeremiah 2:1-13

I am with you, declares the LORD, to deliver you. (v.19)

My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. (v. 13)

In my role as a pastor, people regularly ask me, “Is this a sin?” If you have to ask, the answer is probably yes. Why do we ask the question in the first place? Two reasons: We want to know what we can get away with; and we want to know if we will be judged. This betrays a deep misunderstanding of God. We often think of God either as a businessman who provides services in exchange for good behavior, or we think of him as a dictator who taxes the things we desire. We reduce God either to a means of or barrier to getting what we want.

In the prophecies of Jeremiah, God described himself as a loving parent and devoted partner. He freely offered everything his people could ever want or need. According to God, sin was not a list of forbidden behaviors. Sin was going anywhere else to get what only God could give. The true sin, said God, was forsaking the true source of all good things; and seeking satisfaction in “broken cisterns”—places that could never satisfy.

What are your broken cisterns? What are the habits, ambitions, and relationships that never seem to satisfy? Try going to God with your greatest needs and deepest desires. Trust him to fill your life with good things and your heart with his love. —Ben Van Arragon

As you pray, ask God for his living water, offered freely through Jesus Christ.

About the Author

Ben Van Arragon is a pastor, husband, and father of two teenage daughters. He has served the First Christian Reformed Church of Detroit since 2008. He writes and produces video teaching on the Bible and Reformed creeds and confessions. His writing for Words of Hope includes series on Jeremiah, Exodus, and Work and Rest.

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