Commentary by Walter Albritton


July 22, 2007


Jeremiah Reminds Us to Put Our Trust in God Alone


Jeremiah 7:11-15; 2 Kings 23:36-37


Key Verse: Because you have done all these things, . . . I will cast you out of my sight. – Jeremiah 7:13,15  


This teaching from the Prophet Jeremiah underscores the timeless truth that God is our refuge. There is no other. But like the Judahites of old, we often assume our security is in things other than the Lord God.

Stan Purdum suggests that we try to dodge God. We vainly think we can keep God at a distance rather than face God directly. But like people in every age “we sometimes use the symbols of God to keep God at a distance.” We do well to reflect on Purdum’s words and search our own souls. Symbols cannot save us. Only God can save us from our sins. Are we indeed trusting more in “symbols of God” rather than God Himself?

Are we guilty of taking refuge in the idea that America is a “Christian nation” which God favors over other nations? I am proud to be an American. I am thankful that God allowed me to be born in Alabama. But I need to remember always that being an American does not win me any brownie points with God. What pleases God is righteous living no matter what one’s nationality.

I am proud of the Christian heritage that is a strong element of our nation’s history. I am proud that the words “under God” are a part of our Pledge of Allegiance. I am proud that the words “In God We Trust” are still printed on our money. I am proud that the song “God Bless America” is so popular in our nation. In fact our congregation sings it almost every Sunday in worship. But singing about a symbol is not the same as trusting God.

We have quite a collection of things that are merely symbols of God. Symbols do not please God. What pleases God is for each of us to live our daily lives “under God.” For Christians that means to live “under” the Lordship of Jesus Christ. God is not impressed by words on a dollar bill; he is impressed when we use our dollars to honor him.

There is no doubt that God has richly “blessed” America. He continues to bless this, our native land, the land that we love. I have traveled widely across the world but there is for me no place like America, “my home sweet home.”

But when I ask God to “stand beside” and “guide” America, I know that he wants more than patriotism from me and my fellows. He will settle for nothing less than righteous living. And unless we are committed first and foremost to God alone, we cannot expect him to stand beside us and guide our nation.

It is simply not enough to be proud Americans; God wants us to be totally committed to keeping his commandments and walking before him in holiness of life. One day soon I will not need my home sweet home in Alabama. Then all that will matter is that God is willing to receive me into my eternal home.

We are more sophisticated than the ancient peoples who threw some of their best grain in the river to appease the angry rain gods. We more wisely pray to the Lord God for rain when our land is ravaged by the recent drought.

We rightly rejoice when God gives us rain. At the same time we should remember the words of Jesus – that God ”gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). Even as we give thanks for much needed rain we must remember that even pagans are thankful for rain. What God wants, as Jesus makes clear, is that we should “love our enemies” and live as true children of our heavenly Father.  

 Jeremiah boldly insisted that the Judahites admit that their hypocrisy was an abomination to God.  They were continually breaking God’s commandments but faithfully going to the Temple for worship. Ritual was important; righteousness was not. Jeremiah warned them that because of their abominable sins, the judgment of God would fall upon them.

The prophet’s words seem harsh to our tender ears: “Because you have done all these things, . . . I will cast you out of my sight.” We may suppose God thought like that in the Old Testament days, but not any more for we are under grace not law. Indeed we are under grace. God loved us so much he sent his Son to die for our sins. He has opened for us the way to heaven through repentance and faith in the Son who died for us.

Even so, we should not forget the several warnings of Jesus that one day a time of separation will come. The righteous will go one way – to eternal fellowship with God; the unrighteous another way – to eternal separation from the presence of God (read Matthew 25 again).

Thank God we are saved by grace, not by our nationality or our achievements. But we are saved not primarily so we can go to heaven; we are saved so we can serve God through righteous living. As you examine the hypocrisy of your life, rejoice that God is ready to hear your prayers of repentance. He is ready to give you the grace to renounce sin and live in obedience to his commands.

If you break God’s commandments during the week and go to church every Sunday, your worship is a farce. Worship becomes genuine, and pleasing to God, only when you break with sin, turn to God, and fine the grace to live a new life by trusting Jesus. Hypocrisy is an abomination to God.

Reflect on the words of Isaac Watts as you seek the deeper meaning of trusting God alone as your refuge:


O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come,

Our shelter from the stormy blast, and our eternal home!

Under the shadow of thy throne, still may we dwell secure;

Sufficient is thine arm alone, and our defense is sure.


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