God Must be Number One

It has been written that President Calvin Coolidge came home from church one Sunday and his wife asked, “What did the preacher preach about?” The President replied in his usual concise manner, “Sin.” Then Mrs. Coolidge asked, “What did he say about … More



God’s people continued to sin even though they had the law, the prophets of God, and history filled with God’s miracles. Because of the people’s sin God would give the city of Jerusalem (His mountain in the land) and the wealth of its inhabitants as plunder Jer. 15:13; 20:5) to the invaders. It is easy for us to condemn them but why do we cherish sin even though we understand the eternal consequences. So deep is our tendency to sin that only God’s redemption can deliver us. In this chapter we see how Jeremiah was against the sins of his people and named them:

  1. Idolatry (vv. 1-4) - In Jeremiah’s day the people of Judah were permeated with idolatry. It was as if their sin was engraved on their hearts with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond (v. 1). Their sin, however, showed up on the horns of their idolatrous altars (v. 2).
  2. Unbelief (vv. 5-10) - The leaders of Judah were prone to trust in the flesh instead of depending on the power of God. The heart of every problem is the problem of the heart. “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (v. 9)
  3. Greed (v. 11) - The rich exploited the poor and the courts did nothing about it. “for from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness.” (Jer. 6:13).
  4. Forsaking the Lord (vv. 12-13) - Though the previous generations (fathers) had abandoned the true God to follow other gods, the present generation behaved even more wickedly.
  5. Rejecting God’s servant (vv. 14-18) - The people called Jeremiah a false prophet and kept asking when all of his predictions would come true. Because they refused to accept his message, he asked God to bring the full measure of judgment against them (v. 18).



There were many false gods in Jeremiah’s day, but there are many false gods in our day such as money, possessions, fame, power, pleasure, etc. I need to be on guard about what I love and trust more than the living God? God must be number one.

Jeremiah 17:1-18 (English Standard Version)

"The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron; with a point of diamond it is engraved on the tablet of their heart, and on the horns of their altars, while their children remember their altars and their Asherim, beside every green tree and on the high hills, on the mountains in the open country. Your wealth and all your treasures I will give for spoil as the price of your high places for sin throughout all your territory. You shall loosen your hand from your heritage that I gave to you, and I will make you serve your enemies in a land that you do not know, for in my anger a fire is kindled that shall burn forever." Thus says the LORD: "Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit." The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? "I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds." Like the partridge that gathers a brood that she did not hatch, so is he who gets riches but not by justice; in the midst of his days they will leave him, and at his end he will be a fool. A glorious throne set on high from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary. O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who forsake you shall be put to shame; those who turn away from you shall be written in the earth, for they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living water. Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise. Behold, they say to me, "Where is the word of the LORD? Let it come!" I have not run away from being your shepherd, nor have I desired the day of sickness. You know what came out of my lips; it was before your face. Be not a terror to me; you are my refuge in the day of disaster. Let those be put to shame who persecute me, but let me not be put to shame; let them be dismayed, but let me not be dismayed; bring upon them the day of disaster; destroy them with double destruction!

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