Home > Jeremiah Was a Dragon-Man > Jeremiah Was A Dragon Man: “Do I look pretty?” She asked the log.*

Jeremiah Was A Dragon Man: “Do I look pretty?” She asked the log.*

One thing Jeremiah does consistently throughout his prophesying is explain in numerous ways the absurdity of following gods that are not gods. We’ve already heard Jeremiah say in chapter 2:
Has a nation changed its gods, even though they are no gods?
But where are your gods that you made for yourself? Let them arise, if they can save you, in your time of trouble; for as many as your cities are your gods, O Judah.

We also saw in my last blog post how these gods, constructed with human hands, have no ability to sustain and enrich life.**

Now Jeremiah is revealing something else about the nature of these gods that are no gods:

And you, O desolate one,
What do you mean that you dress in scarlet,
that you adorn yourself with ornaments of gold,
that you enlarge your eyes with paint?
In vain you beautify yourself.
Your lovers despise you;
they seek your life(4.30).

These “lovers” are the false gods of Israel and Judah. Jeremiah (along with many other prophets) often uses terms like “lover” to describe the other gods of the Hebrews because he uses the marriage metaphor so often to describe YHWH’s relationship with Israel. So, this passage isn’t meant to describe merely a sexual relationship with the opposite sex; however, I suspect there are multifold implications present, as the worship of some of the gods included cult prostitution and with Babylon’s impending hostile takeover, intermarrying with those who sought other gods was an ever present danger. At any rate, what struck me about the nature of these other gods is what they require of their followers.

In the context of this prophecy, “every city takes to flight;… all the cities are forsaken, and no man dwells in them” (29), and Israel and Judah are still trying to bring pleasure to the very lovers that have brought them to this state. Even though these gods have been formed by human hands out of wood and stone and have no more power than a tree and a rock, people are still dressing up, hiding their imperfections, and trying to appear as beautiful as possible to be accepted by their lovers, hoping somehow these powerless things which care not for Judah will save Judah.

Their gods are not unlike our gods. We look to our gods to bring us salvation from what has broken us in our lives. We want them to provide for our sense of self-worth, for our contentment, for our happiness, for our wholeness, and heal us from brokenness. We make up these gods, they have no more power than a rock or tree to do what we want them too, but we still hope that if we can just be enough they will be for us what we need them to be. If we just wear the right clothing then maybe the opposite sex will notice us and we will feel desired. If we do well enough at our jobs others will appreciate us enough that we will feel worthwhile. If we hide this or that from others (and maybe ourselves), then we will feel good enough as a person. If we can seem more awesome, then that right person will come in and make us whole. If we drink enough, watch enough tv, have enough sex, play enough video games, then, maybe then we can be truly happy. It’s the same thing the Hebrews did – put up a façade in order to please gods who have neither the ability nor desire to help us, only the capacity to distract and destroy.

My God (and perhaps yours), is completely unlike this. The last thing YHWH wants is a façade. He doesn’t want us dressing up and pretending. He doesn’t want us to hide our sins, flaws, and imperfections. He is looking for an honest heart which acknowledges all of its evils and wrongdoings. YHWH is longing for you to be you, not for you to feel like you have to pretend to be someone else in order to receive the salvation, redemption, and restoration that you need. It is true that YHWH does want us to please Him, but He is not looking for us to please Him so He will accept us, take us back, and restore our lives. Our God wants us to please Him because we, in the middle of our sin, were taken back by him, healed, made whole, and accepted back into relationship with the perfect Father and Bridegroom who longs to be our constant source of life as it is meant to be.***

* The log did not respond.
** Broken Cisterns compared to the fountain of living water
*** See Jeremiah 3:11-4:4

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