The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Jeremiah 24

Jer 24:7

I WILL GIVE THEM A HEART TO KNOW ME, THAT I AM THE LORD: Or "Yahweh". But this does not simply mean that the righteous or the favored will be led by God to know that there IS a God. Any man possessed of reason may know that there is a Supreme Being, who created all things and preserves the universe in existence. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the evidence of divine skill and power are so abundant that "God's invisible qualities... have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse" (Rom 1:20). No, the knowledge intended here is much deeper than that which comes from observation, and only affects the intellect. To know that there is a God is a first step, which many men have taken. The verse goes beyond that, to promise that the favored ones shall know that God to be... Yahweh. He leads men to see that the God revealed in Scripture, and manifested in the person of the Lord Jesus, is the God who made heaven and earth.

Man fashions for himself a "god" after his own liking; perhaps out of wood or stone, or perhaps out of his own consciousness, or his cultured thought, a deity made to order, who will not be too severe with his iniquities or deal out strict justice to the wicked. He rejects God as He is, and develops other "gods" as he thinks they ought to be, and he says concerning these works of his own imagination, "These are your gods, O Israel."

But those who are truly instructed by God's word learn that Yahweh is God, and beside Him there is none else. The God of heaven and earth is the God of the Bible, a God whose attributes are completely balanced, mercy attended by justice, love accompanied by holiness, grace manifested in truth, and power linked with tenderness. He is not a God who overlooks sin, much less is pleased with it, as the gods of the heathen are supposed to be, but a God who cannot look upon iniquity, and will by no means spare the guilty. This is the great quarrel between the philosopher and the Bible believer. The philosopher says, "MY god must be of such a character as I now dogmatically declare him to be"; but the believer replies, "No, our business is not to invent a god, but to obey the One who is revealed in the Scriptures of truth."

The God of the Bible is love, of course; but He is also possessed of justice and severity; He is merciful and gracious, but He is also stern and terrible towards evil; therefore unrepentant hearts say, "We cannot accept such a God as this," and they call him cruel. In doing so they make themselves idolaters -- even if they set up no graven images -- for they set up another god and forsake the true God.

The Lord teaches his people that he is Yahweh, who brought Israel up out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage: the Yahweh who smote Pharaoh with plagues, and drowned his army in the Red Sea, the Yahweh who led his people through the wilderness, but cast out their enemies from before them with a strong hand and an outstretched arm; the Yahweh who redeemed His people, but chastened them for their iniquities and took vengeance upon their idolatries. The God of Sinai is exactly the same God as the God of Jesus. 'I am Yahweh your God, and I stand alone.' When man is content to believe in this God as He has revealed Himself, and no longer goes about to fashion a deity for himself according to his own desires and notions, then he is well on his way to the Kingdom of God.

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