Be Astonished, O Heaven.
Be astonished, O heavens, at this, And be horribly afraid; Be very desolate,” says the Lord. “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water. Jeremiah 2:12-13 NKJV
Be astonished, O you heavens! at this. The earth is so universally corrupt that it will take no notice of it but let the heavens and heavenly bodies be astonished at it. Let the sun blush to see such ingratitude and be afraid to shine upon such ungrateful wretches. Those that forsook God worshiped the host of heaven, the sun, moon, and stars but these, instead of being pleased with the adorations that were paid to them, were astonished and horribly afraid and would rather have been very desolate, utterly exhausted (as the word is) and deprived of their light, than that it should have given occasion to any to worship them. Some refer it to the angels of heaven if they rejoice at the return of souls to God, we may suppose that they are astonished and horribly afraid at the revolt of souls from him. The meaning is that the conduct of this people towards God was such as we may well be astonished and wonder at, that ever men, who pretend to reason, should do a thing so very absurd.
Such as we ought to have a holy indignation at as impious, and a high affront to our Maker, whose honour every good man is jealous for.
Such as we may tremble to think of the consequences of. What will be in the end hereof? Be horribly afraid to think of the wrath and curse which will be the portion of those who thus throw themselves out of God's grace and favour. Now what is it that is to be thought of with all this horror? It is this: "My people, whom I have taught and should have ruled, have committed two great evils, ingratitude and folly they have acted contrary both to their duty and to their interest."
They have affronted their God, by turning their back upon him, as if he were not worthy their notice: "They have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, in whom they have an abundant and constant supply of all the comfort and relief they stand in need of, and have it freely." God is their fountain of life, Psalm 36:9. There is in him an all-sufficiency of grace and strength all our springs are in him and our streams from him to forsake him is, in effect, to deny this. He has been to us a bountiful benefactor, a fountain of living waters, over-flowing, ever-flowing, in the gifts of his favour to forsake him is to refuse to acknowledge his kindness and to withhold that tribute of love and praise which his kindness calls for.
They have cheated themselves, they forsook their own mercies, but it was for lying vanities. They took a great deal of pains to hew themselves out cisterns, to dig pits or pools in the earth or rock which they would carry water to, or which should receive the rain but they proved broken cisterns, false at the bottom, so that they could hold no water. When they came to quench their thirst there they found nothing but mud and mire, and the filthy sediments of a standing lake. Such idols were to their worshippers, and such a change did those experience who turned from God to them. If we make an idol of any creature-wealth, or pleasure, or honour,--if we place our happiness in it, and promise ourselves the comfort and satisfaction in it which are to be had in God only,--if we make it our joy and love, our hope and confidence, we shall find it a cistern, which we take a great deal of pains to hew out and fill, and at the best it will hold but a little water, and that dead and flat, and soon corrupting and becoming nauseous. Nay, it is a broken cistern, that cracks and cleaves in hot weather, so that the water is lost when we have most need of it, Job 6:15. Let us therefore with purpose of heart cleave to the Lord only, for whither else shall we go? He has the words of eternal life. - Matthew Henry