Horny Camel

How can you say, “I am not defiled,
I have not gone after the Baals”?
Look at your way in the valley;
know what you have done—
a restive young camel interlacing her tracks,
a wild ass at home in the wilderness,
in her heat sniffing the wind!
Who can restrain her lust?
None who seek her need weary themselves;
in her month they will find her.
Keep your feet from going unshod
and your throat from thirst.
But you said, “It is hopeless,
for I have loved strangers,
and after them I will go.”
As a thief is shamed when caught,
so the house of Israel shall be shamed—
they, their kings, their officials,
their priests, and their prophets,
who say to a tree, “You are my father,”
and to a stone, “You gave me birth.”
For they have turned their backs to me,
and not their faces.
But in the time of their trouble they say,
“Come and save us!”
But where are your gods
that you made for yourself?
Let them come, if they can save you,
in your time of trouble;
for you have as many gods
as you have towns, O Judah.
Why do you complain against me?
You have all rebelled against me,
says the LORD. (Jeremiah 2:23-29)

God compares his people to animals governed by their instincts, but the animals look more reasonable than his people do. First, the people try to pretend that they haven’t forsaken God, even when the evidence is obvious. Then they claim that they can’t help themselves, that they are helpless to their love for “strangers.” The “strangers” are the gods they have turned to instead of Yahweh.

People sometimes ignore friends who have stood by them in the past, who have been there for them during previous crises. Instead, they turn to those who are actually leading them astray. But then, as soon as soon as the bottom drops out, as soon as they become desperate, they turn back again to those they had scorned. God asks his people, so why turn to me now?

God is quickly blamed for the problems they caused themselves. They depended on what was undependable and so they suffered the consequences. Nevertheless, like the father with his prodigal son, God is willing to forgive. All they need do is ask.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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