No Substitutes

Read: Jeremiah 10:1-7

There is none like you, O Lord. (v. 6)

The film Citizen Kane opens with the death of its title character. Charles Foster Kane spent his life acquiring everything a person could want. Yet on his deathbed he only wants one thing: “Rosebud.” It turns out that one thing is not really a thing. “Rosebud” is a symbol of something Kane lost long ago: true security.

In Jeremiah 10, the Lord God warned his people against adopting “the way of the nations” (v. 1). In the Old Testament, the term “the nations” referred to all people groups that did not acknowledge Yahweh. The one thing every “nation” had in common was that they settled for God-substitutes. These substitutes were, of course, material things, which meant they were impermanent, unreliable, and empty. God forbade his people from worshiping material things not because he is insecure, but because his people needed a secure foundation. There was simply no substitute for the presence and power, the provision and protection of the creator and ruler of the universe.

As God’s people today, we are surrounded by “nations” of our own: those who worship wealth, beauty, influence, and allure. We are tempted to place our hope in created things that cannot last and cannot save us. God warns us against such empty hope. He instead urges us to stop settling for substitutes and find our security in him. —Ben Van Arragon

As you pray, set aside your substitutes and find your security in God.

About the Author

Ben Van Arragon

Ben Van Arragon is the Minister of Worship and Leadership at Plymouth Heights Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He preaches and teaches the Bible in church, online, and anywhere else he has the opportunity.