We look at our land and our accomplishments and believe we are an amazing people. That’s a mistake.
Judah thought the same. By 722 B.C., the northern kingdom of Israel had been taken into captivity by the Assyrians. Judah was entering its most prosperous time. Instead of following God, however, Judah deliberately chased after every form of immorality and idolatry available to them.
God sent Jeremiah to tell Judah it was on a path to destruction. It had chased after vanity and had become empty itself (Jeremiah 2:5). The nation, which had served God in its past, thought it knew a better way. That way was not better at all.
The nation had its political and religious rulers to blame for its lack of direction. The nation’s rulers did not appeal to heaven for guidance (Jeremiah 2:8). The very people who should have used their example to steer the people toward righteousness were themselves polluted by sin and their example destroyed.
Ignorant of the scriptures, careless about God’s law and lulled into spiritual unconsciousness, Judah began a headlong pursuit toward national suicide . But, Judah had enslaved itself to sin long before Babylon ever took the nation into captivity.
God told Judah through his prophet, “Although you wash yourselves with lye and use much soap, the stain of your iniquity is before me,” (Jeremiah 2:22). Sin can be disguised, but cannot be hidden.
History only repeats itself because people never learn its lessons. Judah’s story is relevant to us. Our leaders are more influenced by gain than by God. They give lip service to the Creator and then turn to chase what really matters to them. Judah tried the same and failed spectacularly. How can we imitate them and succeed?
We may try to wash our iniquity away with soap, but it is still in front of the God who knows and sees it. Much of our land is already in bondage. We just don’t see the chains. We must turn and obey God’s word before we suffer the same fate as Judah.