The citizens of Jerusalem in Jeremiah’s day had turned from God. They denied the evidence all around them of God’s sovereignty and his majesty, but more importantly, the clear evidence of His love. They lost perspective and 03 know godadopted the conviction that Satan promoted with Adam and Eve in the Garden. They believed that God was keeping good things from them and that He didn’t really care about them but only wanted their praise and worship to salve His own ego. They no longer knew God. They knew about God but they had no relationship with Him anymore. Jeremiah put it this way in Jeremiah 5:23, “But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart; they have turned aside and gone away.”

Jeremiah 5:24 continues that idea. It says, “They do not say in their hearts, ‘Let us fear the LORD our God, who gives the rain in its season, the autumn rain and the spring rain, and keeps for us the weeks appointed for the harvest.’ Notice that God is presented by Jeremiah as the protector of His people. He keeps the oceans from destroying them. He set boundaries. He’s the provider for His people. He gives all good things to them. He loves us and only wants what’s best for us all. Unfortunately, we don’t know Him as well as we should.

In 1996 U.S. astronaut Shannon Lucid spent 188 days in space along with two cosmonauts from the former Soviet Union. One night after supper she and the two cosmonauts began talking about their childhoods and what life was like for them during the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. Lucid and the cosmonauts surprised each other. She told them she had grown up fearful of the Soviet Union, and most American adults would have felt the same way. But the cosmonauts said they had been equally afraid of the United States. What? Afraid of the United States? The idea that Russians would think we wanted to destroy them is incredible to Americans. These Russian cosmonauts resemble those who do not know God. They think that God wants to harm them, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Although there is a spiritual cold war going on, in which those who do not know Christ are indeed God’s enemies because of their sins, they are not enemies that God wants to destroy. They are enemies that God dearly wants to make his friends.[1]

[1] Craig Brian Larson, 750 Engaging Illustrations for Preachers, Teachers & Writers (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2002), 173–174.