Jeremiah 4:30, “And you, O desolate one, what do you mean that you dress in scarlet, that you adorn yourself with ornaments of gold, that you enlarge your eyes with paint? In vain do you beautify yourself. Your lovers despise you; they seek your life.”

Every god except the One True God of scripture despises those who worship it. That’s what we see here–and other places–throughout scripture. It is not as though YHWH is the jealous imposter who wants to rip his people out of the loving embrace of Baal (or Allah or Ancestors or the the Hindu deities)….rather, He calls in love for His wayward people to leave the deceptive grasp of “lovers” who actually hate them and will turn on them when finally given the chance.

There is and can be no love outside of the Triune God, period. The love that unbelievers know and enjoy now is a gift of grace from the God who is eternal and infinite self-giving love within Himself. Trying to have “love” without the Triune God is like trying to catch and keep a single flame in a jar when the fuel of the fire has been removed….or like trying to maintain a musical note when the voice has ceased to sing… It cannot be done.

If we are seeking love and all of its fruits (welcome, acceptance, strength, security, joy, etc) apart from communion with the Father in the Son by the Spirit, we will–in the end–find that the person (or ideal or concept or goal or ambition or hope) to which we have given ourselves is devoid and incapable of love…..our “lover” will turn to a cold, smiling maniquinn in our arms….

And Jeremiah goes further than that because behind every “lover” (whether a person or a thing or an idea) that is not the True God is–ultimately–the malevolence of Satan (Eph.2:1-2). Not only do false gods not love us, they–at the last–turn to despise us.

In this text, then, YHWH calls His people not to attempt vain “beautification” in order to win the approval of monsters masked as lovers. The “beauty” they wrap themselves in will be no better than spider’s web (Is. 59:6), and the “lovers” they court will murder them.

The only hope for God’s people then and in all ages is to turn in desperation to YHWH Himself, who will make His people beautiful with His love (Is 60:9, Eph.5:25-27), who will clothe them in garments of salvation, and cover them with the robe of righteousness (Is.61:10), and  rejoice over them as a bridegroom rejoices over the bride (Is.62:5)…..He will do this by enduring the damnation of their rebellion in Himself through the self-desolation of sovereign love, so that they might know and enjoy Him for eternity.

The crucified and risen God is the only one who will not turn on us in the end.

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