Last week was an amazing week with you, my sisters who are in this journey of having the stone idols removed from our hearts. We have WONDERFUL new sisters joining us — each a treasure in her own unique way. God is on the move and I have a sense of the holy happening in our hearts. I want to recap what happened to Cyndi last week, because it fits perfectly into where the Lord is taking us this week in Jeremiah 2. In the beginning of Jeremiah 2, which we looked at last week, God describes how once Israel was a devoted bride who would follow her husband anywhere. I asked you to recall if you had ever been that kind of bride to your earthly or to your spiritual husband. Cyndi lamented she had never been that kind of a bride, but had always wanted to be in control. (I have found that the people who are most responsive to criticism are the people who have stopped lying to themselves — therefore when the Spirit points something out, they are already realizing it is true.) Cyndi saw the blackness in her heart and was willing to undergo surgery. She put it like this, referring to Lewis’s picture of Aslan taking the scales off of Eustace in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader:
I have to share with you friends that God is breaking my heart for my pride and self-reliance. I have always known is was wrong but never FELT in my HEART its blackness the way I am feeling it right now. I am sure it is your sweet prayers that have opened my heart to feel this for what it is. A very strong layer is being ripped off by our dear aslan, but his claws are so sharp and it hurts so much to know how much i have hurt my dear husbands heart!
Aslan’s claws are painful, but oh, we can trust Him. To prepare for our icebreaker, read this account from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
“Then the lion said… “You will have to let me undress you.” I was afraid of his claws, but I can tell you, I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it…. That very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’d ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off.”
1. Where, like Eustace, are you “pretty near desperate now” to have your scales removed?
2. In what ways has it hurt to have your scales removed?
3. Where, like Eustace, have you “felt the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off?”
I wrote to one of our dear friends who is a cardiologist. Steve had led Vince to the Lord, so Vince was one who spoke at Steve’s funeral. He said:”I could fix other peoples’ hearts, but not my own.” I asked Vince if my metaphor was true to cardiovascular surgery — is there such a thing as stones that cause trouble in our hearts and must be surgically removed? He wrote that there was and sent this wonderful link to a 22 second video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQJv-vuJ7os&NR=1&feature=fvwp
Vince said the above portrays an”endarterectomy,” a procedure when the CV surgeon opens up an artery that is partially blocked with cholesteral plaque and removes it. A person with blocked arteries should welcome an endarterectomy so he might live — and we should welcome the stonecutter’s knife so that we might live! The pain is temporary and then new and abundant life will flow, like streams of living water.
This Week’s Bible Study: Jeremiah 2:4-14
3. What question does God ask His people in Jeremiah 2:5a (a means the first part of the verse)?
4. What happens to people who go after worthless idols according to Jeremiah 2:5b?
5. In Jeremiah 2:6-7
A. What miracles and blessings have the Israelites forgotten, according to verses 6-7?
B. Name one way God is working in your life that you do not want to forget.
6. Again and again in Scripture, God recounts his pain at being forgotten. Underline or mark the phrases in the following that show not being remembered or being forgotten:
How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness
and grieved him in the desert!
They tested God again and again
and provoked the Holy One of Israel.
They did not remember his power
or the day when he redeemed them from the foe…
She decked herself with her earrings and jewelry,
and went after her lovers;
but Me she forgot,” says the LORD.
Hosea 2:13 (NKJV)
Can a virgin forget her ornaments
Or a bride her attire?
Yet my people have forgotten me
Days without number.
7. What did the priests and the shepherds of the people forget according to Jeremiah 2:8?
8. What truth about idols does God repeat in Jeremiah 2:11b?
9. Meditate (and memorize) Jeremiah 2:13-14 and explain the two evils God’s people have committed:
W. H. Thomson, the 19th century classical Cambridge scholar comments:
The best cisterns, even those in solid rock, are strangely liable to crack…the water collected from clay roofs or from marly soil has the colour of weak soapsuds, the taste of the earth or the stable, is full of worms, and in the hour of greatest need it utterly fails.
We forsake the Living Water and turn to wormy dirty water. We may be turning from God to destructive things to soothe our soul, such as drugs or immoral sex – but often what we do as believers is to turn from God to a good thing, making it an ultimate thing, a counterfeit god. We make food, family, friends, ministry, or another gift the source of comfort, security, and identity – and in so doing, we destroy the gift and our own lives.
10 Reflect on how we turn good gifts into “broken cisterns” when we substitute them for God, the fountain of living waters. Consider these two examples:
- Why is food a good gift and for what purposes did God give it to us?
- If we abuse it and run to it instead of to God when we are sad or stressed, how can it become harmful, like a broken cistern?
- In moments of temptation, what truth can you speak to your soul?
- What would be some red flags that you might be making your children idols in your life?
- When you are tempted to cling too tightly, to despair over their lack of perfection, what truth might you speak to your soul?
Pastor Kevin Cawley of Redeemer Fellowship in Kansas City says:
God is the only being who can satisfy the human soul. If you do not find your satisfaction in the God of the Bible, you will not find it anywhere. But if you find your satisfaction in the person and presence of the God of the Bible, you find your appropriate and proportional satisfaction everywhere.
11. If The Stonecutter is whittling away at an idol, at a good thing you made an ultimate thing, share a way you are beginning to enjoy that gift (food, family, facebook) in a way you had not before.
MEETING OUR BLOGGERS (During this study we’re meeting those who have been regulars for several months or more.)
Tracy is often one of the first to do her lesson, and often does it from beginning to end thoroughly. I didn’t realize until recently that Tracy attended my church in Nebraska for a short time after we joined. She remembers the day we joined. My daughter Sally then told me she knew Tracy — and that when Sally was going through one of the most painful times in her life that she met Tracy, found they shared a love of God, music, and art. Tracy made her some special music CD’s to bring comfort. Tracy is one of our quieter members. She would be the one in a Bible study who would listen carefully to others, would seldom speak, but when she did, you would listen!
This is beautiful Tracy!
I came to Christ when I started attending Trinity Presbyterian in Kearney, NE when I was in high school. Before then I had not heard Scripture-based teaching and it opened my mind and heart to Christ’s love and sacrifice for me. My passions include singing, writing and fellowship with other believers. I am currently on hiatus from college, but plan on majoring in journalism/mass media when I return. Whatever I do, I pray that God will use my life for His glory.
Realizing that Christ is helping me replace my heart of stone with one of flesh has changed the way I deal with idols. This may seem like a simple truth; however, it is often the small, perhaps overlooked truths that can impact our hearts the most! I can sense Christ’s presence in new and exciting ways.
12. Could you bless Tracy in some way this week? Repeat something she has shared — or tell how you see Jesus in her — or a way she has blessed you.
 W. H. Thomson, The Land and The Book, (Harper, 1886) p. 287.