Do not be like them

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‘I am not my own; I was bought with a price. Therefore, help me honour you now God’ (see 1 Corinthians 6:19,20).

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Bible passage: Jeremiah 10:1–25

Jeremiah 10

God and Idols
 1 Hear what the LORD says to you, people of Israel. 2 This is what the LORD says:

   “Do not learn the ways of the nations
   or be terrified by signs in the heavens,
   though the nations are terrified by them.
3 For the practices of the peoples are worthless;
   they cut a tree out of the forest,
   and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.
4 They adorn it with silver and gold;
   they fasten it with hammer and nails
   so it will not totter.
5 Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field,
   their idols cannot speak;
they must be carried
   because they cannot walk.
Do not fear them;
   they can do no harm
   nor can they do any good.”

 6 No one is like you, LORD;
   you are great,
   and your name is mighty in power.
7 Who should not fear you,
   King of the nations?
   This is your due.
Among all the wise leaders of the nations
   and in all their kingdoms,
   there is no one like you.

 8 They are all senseless and foolish;
   they are taught by worthless wooden idols.
9 Hammered silver is brought from Tarshish
   and gold from Uphaz.
What the craftsman and goldsmith have made
   is then dressed in blue and purple—
   all made by skilled workers.
10 But the LORD is the true God;
   he is the living God, the eternal King.
When he is angry, the earth trembles;
   the nations cannot endure his wrath.

 11 “Tell them this: ‘These gods, who did not make the heavens and the earth, will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.’”

 12 But God made the earth by his power;
   he founded the world by his wisdom
   and stretched out the heavens by his understanding.
13 When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar;
   he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth.
He sends lightning with the rain
   and brings out the wind from his storehouses.

 14 Everyone is senseless and without knowledge;
   every goldsmith is shamed by his idols.
The images he makes are a fraud;
   they have no breath in them.
15 They are worthless, the objects of mockery;
   when their judgment comes, they will perish.
16 He who is the Portion of Jacob is not like these,
   for he is the Maker of all things,
including Israel, the people of his inheritance—
   the LORD Almighty is his name.

Coming Destruction
 17 Gather up your belongings to leave the land,
   you who live under siege.
18 For this is what the LORD says:
   “At this time I will hurl out
   those who live in this land;
I will bring distress on them
   so that they may be captured.”

 19 Woe to me because of my injury!
   My wound is incurable!
Yet I said to myself,
   “This is my sickness, and I must endure it.”
20 My tent is destroyed;
   all its ropes are snapped.
My children are gone from me and are no more;
   no one is left now to pitch my tent
   or to set up my shelter.
21 The shepherds are senseless
   and do not inquire of the LORD;
so they do not prosper
   and all their flock is scattered.
22 Listen! The report is coming—
   a great commotion from the land of the north!
It will make the towns of Judah desolate,
   a haunt of jackals.

Jeremiah’s Prayer
 23 LORD, I know that people’s lives are not their own;
   it is not for them to direct their steps.
24 Discipline me, LORD, but only in due measure—
   not in your anger,
   or you will reduce me to nothing.
25 Pour out your wrath on the nations
   that do not acknowledge you,
   on the peoples who do not call on your name.
For they have devoured Jacob;
   they have devoured him completely
   and destroyed his homeland.

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Audio Bible passage

The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).


Ironic prayer
There is great irony in Jeremiah’s prayer (vs 23–25). His call that God would judge the nations that don’t acknowledge him fits best of all with his own people, because they themselves refuse to acknowledge God (9:6) and worship idol after idol (8:19).

The irony is greater because verses 1–16 compares the idols of the nations with the true God, who is the eternal King of the nations and the living God (vs 7,10), the Sustainer (vs 12,13) and Maker of all things (v 16). But because Judah and Israel have turned away from the true God, and not worshipped him as they ought, they are to be expelled from the land (vs 17–22).

Throw off our sin
The apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians, ‘Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things [sin] God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient’ (Ephesians 5:6,7). Because Jesus has borne God’s wrath in our place, it will not come on us; but don’t live like it ought to!

Where is the world pulling you into its idolatry? Money? Sex? Power? As Christians, we are not our own (v 23), we were bought with the most precious life in existence. Let’s throw off the sin that so easily entangles, and walk in the steps marked out for us (v 23).

Angus Moyes


Pray verse 24 over any area of your life where you are aware of compromise.

Deeper Bible study

How many different approaches can Jeremiah use to make the people understand and avoid the otherwise inevitable consequences of their corruption? In this chapter he concentrates on their idolatry by using the comparison method. The prophecy alternates between describing what the foreign idols are like and why they are not to be feared or worshipped (vs 2–5,8,9,11,14,15); and what God is like and why he is to be feared and worshipped (vs 6,7,10,12,13,16). The difference cannot be more clear. It is difficult to understand why anyone would prefer the first, but the ongoing picture of the desolation coming to Judah (vs 17–22) shows that Jeremiah has little confidence that his countrymen are about to leave their idolatry behind.

It is hard sometimes to understand the choices people make. Why would anyone choose to buy that car, that computer or those shoes, when all the evidence indicates that this other one is much cheaper and actually better or at least just as good? But they do! It is worth re-examining God’s picture, found in this chapter, and reinforcing our own commitment to following him. He is unique, powerful, sovereign over the whole world, fully deserving of everyone’s worship (vs 6,7). He is living and eternal, but also angered by corruption (v 10). He is the great Creator of earth and universe (vs 12,13) and he is also the great Relater, who called Israel into being (v 16). When we add the New Testament portrayal of Jesus, it is hard to understand how anyone would not realise how great God is and how worth following. If we don’t share Jeremiah’s incomprehension of how anyone can reject God’s call in the way that so many of his and our compatriots do, then we probably haven’t ourselves grasped just who God is!

Mary Evans

Me and my misconceptions

Misconceptions about God
By attacking and ridiculing idol worship, Jeremiah is attacking one of the major incorrect perceptions of God from his time.

What misconceptions are there in the present day?

• God does not care about suffering.

• Tolerance is the greatest human virtue.

• God sanctions violence.

• The crucifixion was an act of child abuse.

• God is unable to prevent suffering and evil.
• What’s true for you isn’t necessarily true for me. 

Misconceptions about God are often to blame for people not believing in the God of the Bible. When we hear the misconceptions others have of Christians and Jesus, we want to react by saying, ‘Well, I don’t believe that either!’

New positive images of God
Just as Jeremiah included positive statements about the greatness of God (vs 6,10,12,13,16), so we also need to pepper our challenges with declarations of God’s greatness and love. But to merely repeat biblical phrases runs the risk of seeming antiquated. We need new images for a new society.

Evangelistic satire?
Jeremiah is speaking to Israelites who ought to know better than to worship idols. I’m not convinced that satire is our best tool for convincing non-Christians of the greatness of God.

John Wilks

Bible in a year

Read the Bible in a year.

1 Kings 20,21

2 Corinthians 1


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  • Song: Let everything that has breath
  • Composer: Matt Redman
  • Copyright: Copyright © 1997 Thankyou Music
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God in my living (Everything)
Tim Hughes
Copyright © 2005 Thankyou Music
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  • Rachael Hampton | Friday, 25 May 2018

    The terrible sexual abuse that has emerged in recent years, and is now being compounded by revelations of domestic violence and spiritual abuse within churches leaves Christian communities unable to speak to the world of God’s judgement. This generation will only be convinced when they see that Christianity works, and we have a lot of ugliness to overcome. May we and our churches get into the world and demonstrate the outrageous love of our God so lavishly that conceptions are changed and questions are asked. Lynn it will be a big journey for David as he realises what has happened. May God speed the journey to full healing. All blessings Peter. You inspire me. Thanks Rob and Jack for your comments.

  • Sue Hanson | Friday, 25 May 2018

    politics ...Well yesterday i spent the morning with the prime minister and the evening with listening to the fact that the removing of anyone ie Christian groups or pro life people now not able to be within 150 metres from an abortion clinic. People had been allowed to hand out pamphlets of alternative ways they might like to think about, rather than destroying the child within them. The liberal party had tried to stop the bill going through but with other parties against them there is now a new law forbidding any interaction within this space. How apt we are looking at Jeremiah. I had a bible I wanted to give to one of our scripture teachers to hand to any student that didn't have a bible .. but she said sadly we cannot give out bibles or the door will be closed to teaching.So fellow W.L. people as we pray for each other in our trials we need to be calling on our God to intervene. We don't want war but there are no atheists in war trenches. Does the world only ever turn to God in extreme circumstances as in Jeremiah's time.

  • Angela Munday | Saturday, 26 May 2018

    God’s word is timeless and is written for our instruction; we know what God saw when He looked upon His chosen people because Jeremiah has told us. God is looking upon his people today..........

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Saturday, 26 May 2018

    We can't convince anyone of the greatness of God, only Holy Sprit can do that of course. I thank God for His patience with this country and pray 'the church' will rise up with an awareness that Jesus will be made known when we love one another as he loves us. The disciples were told to wait until they were clothed with power from on high. What are we waiting for. Eph 4:22-25 springs readily to mind. Perhaps we need a Jeremiah today to shake us out of our complacency.

  • Thelma Edwards | Saturday, 26 May 2018

    Verse 21 caught my attention this morning. " the shepherds are senseless and do not enquiry of the LORD; so they do not prosper and all their flock is scattered". I expect this is really relating to the priests being the shepherds but it seemed to have a much more personal application too. What would actual shepherds enquire of the Lord about? Maybe where to take their flock for good pasture, how to keep them safe, where the sweet water was, where to stop for the night? In other words, their everyday normal routines of life. I may not have intentionally turned my back on the Lord, denied Him, chosen to go my own way, but am I abiding in Him, connected to the vine and drawing my strength from Him, walking and talking with Him in my normal everyday life? Do I enquire of the Lord what I should do today, or what order to do things in, bring Him into my decision making, my enjoyments, my planning. Do I "practice the presence of Jesus" all the time or only when something big happens. Someone once said we should not pray about finding a parking place as God has far bigger things to deal with than that. I disagree - it's not the parking place that is important but my attitude of dependence on Him and me bringing Him actively into every situation large and small that counts. I believe the Lord is interested in the smallest of things in my life and that to 'enquire of the Lord' about them nurtures intimacy on a deep level so that I am more likely to think how He thinks, want what He wants, go where He wants me to go, and to react and respond expressing the fruit of the Spirit.

  • Iyabode Agbelusi | Saturday, 26 May 2018

    Thank you Thelma for your comments. I find them quite inspiring. Surely, seeking intimacy with the Lord in all things great and small is certainly His desire for us as His blood-bought children. Wanting to know His desire & letting the Holy Spirit direct my choices, desires & plans is His purpose for each of His children. Walking this way path of obedience will enable us to throw off the sin that so easily entangles & walk the steps marked out for us. Greetings to the Wordlive family.

  • Jack Russell | Saturday, 26 May 2018

    Angus - I'm not sure what your intention is with suggesting God's wrath will not come on us because Jesus bore it. Can you unpack that for us? Gilvin indeed there is a need for a Jeremiah - has there ever not been a need for men such as he? But will the people listen or will they say he should be nicer of someone of that ilk should appear. If Jesus cannot go about what he does without being accused of doing so in the power of Satan, what's to stop anyone else being treated similarly? It would be a brave man who doesn't let his choices and actions be determined by others when faced with fierce opposition that would take on such a role. It's much easier to talk about love and more likely to be received well. But Jesus didn't stop there - instead he spoke of a prophet being without honour only among his own people - and they tried to throw him off a cliff for doing that.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Saturday, 26 May 2018

    JACK Anyone still trying to make us operate to turn God from his wrath and beg for his mercy is in total denial of what Jesus has done. Remember the song In Christ alone! - who took on flesh, Fullness of God in helpless babe. This gift of love and righteousness, Scorned by the ones He came to save: Till on that cross as Jesus died, The wrath of God was satisfied - For every sin on Him was laid; Here in the death of Christ I live.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Saturday, 26 May 2018

    JACK I just looked on line and realised that better scholars than me have gone around in circles over this issue of the wrath of God. I didn't see a mention though of Eph 2 where Paul says we "were" objects of God's wrath. I once heard a sermon on Isaiah 54 and v9 'sworn not to be angry' as part of the new covenant. Thanks for bringing the subject up as it makes us think more deeply but it may well end up as one of those many issues where in the end we have to agree to disagree. Bless you for your comments.

  • Lynda Spencer | Saturday, 26 May 2018

    I'm in total agreement with you, THELMA! I wouldn't confine my communication with my husband to a half-hour slot each morning and evening, but I'm able to interact with him most of the time (as we are now retired) at all hours of each day and night. Sometimes our conversation is at a deep level, often we chat about inconsequential things, and often we just enjoy being together, with few if any words needing to be spoken. How much more important it is that our daily communion with the Lord should be a constant walking with Him, as you say 'practising the presence of Jesus', sometimes interacting at the deepest level, but always including Him in our daily activities and knowing, as we used to sing as children, He is only a prayer away! I ask myself the same question you raised - 'Am I abiding in Jesus?' I don't get it right all the time, but it is my desire to learn to fully abide, that fruit might be in evidence to His glory. Thank you everyone for pertinent comments. I always have plenty to chew over as I sign out and leave the WL page each day, even when I don't comment myself! God bless you all this day.

  • Mary Burgess | Saturday, 26 May 2018

    I rarely comment but blessings on all who read as well as those who regularly comment. I do enjoy and are challenged by your comments. Yesterday turned out my copy of The Practice of the presence of God by Brother Lawrence, which. I would thoroughly recommend to anyone and seems very relevant for today's comments. Brother Lawrence was a monk in the 17th century and was able to say he felt Gods presence just as much in the kitchen doing his duties as in the Church for the services. Wow, If only that were true for me, but that's my aim . Bless you all,

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