We all have needs. As human beings, each one of us has some deep hunger for love, intimacy, attention, affirmation, and encouragement. When these needs are met within gracious and loving relationships, especially in the marital bond, then there is genuine happiness and flourishing. But when our deep wants go unmet over a stretch of time, smiles are replaced with furrowed brows and confident strides give way to slumped shoulders.
We feel deeply and are moved at the visceral level of our being because we are made in the image and likeness of God – a God who himself feels and has great emotion. Perhaps we too often think of God as some disembodied ethereal brain who has no feeling. I would hope that today’s Old Testament lesson would put a collar on such notions. God entered into a loving covenant relationship with Israel. Yet, over time, the Jews looked for their relational, emotional, and spiritual needs to be met in other gods other than the One true God. And it pained God.
God felt quite deeply about this turning away from him. The Lord responded to his people like a jilted lover who is agonized by their acting the part of a whore – looking for their needs to be satisfied elsewhere. It seems to me that God is so profoundly hurt because he knows that our deepest and greatest needs can only really be met through him. We unequivocally need God.
To put it in the stark terms of Jeremiah’s prophecy: Are we playing the part of a whore, running after all kinds of other relationships and things that we wrongheadedly believe will meet the needs of our lives? Do we sell ourselves to others in order to make a living? Have we sought other lovers and forsaken our first love of Jesus? It behooves us all to connect with our longings and needs, and allow the God who delights to meet those needs into the core of our being.
Jealous God, you are zealous for your presence to be known in the lives of all your creatures. Help me to know the deepest needs of my life. May I find in you the desire of my heart and let you fill me with your infinite grace, love, mercy, and attention so that I will know true peace and joy, to the glory of Jesus Christ. Amen.