Through Jeremiah God explains to his people how their relationship got into such a mess that even his patience has run its course:
—God’s Decree— “charging you and your children and your grandchildren. Look around. Have you ever seen anything quite like this? Sail to the western islands and look. Travel to the Kedar wilderness and look. Look closely. Has this ever happened before, that a nation has traded in its gods for gods that aren’t even close to gods? But my people have traded my Glory for empty god-dreams and silly god-schemes.
`“Stand in shock, heavens, at what you see! Throw up your hands in disbelief—this can’t be!” God’s Decree. “My people have committed a compound sin: they’ve walked out on me, the fountain of fresh flowing waters, and then dug cisterns—cisterns that leak, cisterns that are no better than sieves.”
~Jeremiah 2: 11-13 The Message
My son who studies such things explained to me recently that, historically, people who worshipped many gods didn’t throw one away and replace them with a better god, they added to their deity collection. In this passage God is saying to his people, in essence, you have respected me less than the tribes around you who worship idols. You traded me in. To make matters worse God says that his people have adopted false strategies by putting their hope in other countries, leaders and material possessions to keep them safe. I believe that our conscious contact with God through the practice of spiritual disciplines provides us with wisdom, insight and healing that cannot be found anywhere else. But we, like the Israelites of old, keep looking in all the wrong places to find our sense of well-being and our wholeness.
What about you? What have you pursued in the hope that it would make you whole and well? There are many tools and treatments and such that help us recover our lives, but to reject hope in a power greater than ourselves and try to handle life on our own, independent of spiritual pursuits, may fall under the category of false strategy.