They are well-fed, lusty stallions,
each neighing for another man’s wife.
Jeremiah 5:8 (NIV)
Wendy and I have been listening to a really great podcast of late that explores the Bible from the perspective of the original Hebrew language. I know it doesn’t sound like everyone’s cup of tea, but it is actually very fascinating.
There was something that was mentioned in the very first episode of that podcast that has stuck with me ever since I heard it. After creating the universe in six days, God rests on the seventh. The commentator pointed out that God rested, not because He was tired, but because “God knows when to say ‘enough.'”
The point is that the problems of humanity, beginning with Adam and Eve’s original bite of the forbidden fruit, are really about appetite control. We don’t know when to say “enough.”
I have a natural appetite for food for survival, but when I don’t know when to say “enough” it turns into gluttony.
I have a natural appetite for sex for procreation and intimacy, but when I don’t know when to say “enough” it turns into destructive lust.
I have a natural appetite for the things I need to survive, but when I don’t know when to say “enough” it turns into greed.
I have a natural appetite for justice, but when I don’t know when to say “enough” it turns into wrath.
I have an appetite for rest, but when I don’t know when to say “enough” it turns into sloth.
I was designed to live in harmony and community with others, but when I don’t know when to say “enough” I become envious of them, their possessions, and/or their lives.
I am made in the image of God and designed to live in communion with God, but when I don’t know when to say “enough” my pride leads to me wanting to be my own god.
In today’s chapter, Jeremiah describes his idolatrous people as “lusty stallions” (btw: Am I the only one who immediately thought of Bill and Ted?) in reference to the overtly sexual nature and practices of many of the pagan gods his people didn’t want to give up. The metaphor points to humans being driven by their appetites like an animal in heat, instead of controlling them. Instead of being able to say “enough.”
In the quiet this morning, I was reminded of the “fruits of the Spirit” – the qualities that are supposed to be increasingly evident in my life as I follow the path of Jesus. The list of character qualities begins with the preeminent love and it’s anchored with the quality of self-control. In other words, as I grow in my relationship with Jesus (the Alpha through whom everything was created), I should increasingly exhibit the very quality He expressed from the beginning of creation on the seventh day: knowing when to say “enough.”
And with that thought, I believe I’ve written enough this morning.
Have a great day, my friend.
If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.