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Bartering For Junk

Often, if we desire to understand the value of an object, we turn to someone who can offer an appraisal. However, the assessment we receive is only a guess and not guaranteed. An object’s value can rise or fall based on who created it. The value can also change based on the object’s condition. While these things can affect the value of something, there is only one accurate marker to determine actual worth. That marker is what someone is willing to pay for it.

            Israel was guilty of trading God for worthless idols (Jeremiah 2). God said, “But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit” (Jer. 2:11b NASB). Early on, Israel was devoted to God and served Him passionately (Jer. 2:1-3). However, as time passed and Israel was given the “Promised Land,” they became comfortable. As they became satisfied, they grew idle and bored and began looking elsewhere for their provision. They forgot, literally, about their love for God. He reminds them, “I remember concerning you the devotion of your youth” (Jer. 2:2 NASB). God was reminding them of something that they had long forgotten. Because they had forgotten, they were turning to other gods. They had bartered for junk!

            Oh, how easily we forget! Just like Israel, we grow comfortable and bored. We grow apathetic towards God and our relationship with Him. We wander away from Him and say, “We need revival.” The reason that we may need revival is that we lose our passion. We turn to the gods of politics, church, finances, and sports. We have also bartered for junk when we are guilty of this. It is not God’s fault that we have grown weary and lost passion; the blame belongs to us. God is everything that we need! Nothing is lacking in Him. He is glorious, sovereign, and magnificent. These words fall very short of describing Him, but it is all we have. There is no political party with His worth. No denomination can come close to His infinite value. Stop bartering for junk!

            Often, Christians get offended when someone asks, “Where is God?” because we are too ill-prepared to answer the question. Perhaps if we asked that question ourselves, we would be ready to answer the same question. God charged Israel, “They did not say, ‘Where is the Lord…?” (Jer. 2:6). As believers, we should be the first to look for Him. We should look for Him in celebration, in tragedy, in our churches, in our books, in our actions, in our words, in our love, and in everything else. Unfortunately, Israel had forgotten, including the priests and the law handlers (Jer. 2:8). They had forgotten who to call on. God was no longer their first choice; He fit in with the false, empty gods that He had been exchanged for (Jer. 2:8). Israel was guilty of trading the God that delivered them from Egyptian bondage, led them across the desert, fed them every day, protected them from their enemies, and hand-delivered them into “The Promised Land” for worthless garbage (Jer. 2:11). God is of infinite worth. Still, because Israel lost sight of His value, they quickly traded too quickly. Any time we sell God for anything, we lose severely.

            Before I close, I must remind you what He paid for you. As I mentioned, what someone is willing to pay for something is the only accurate marker of its value. We often wrestle with the idea of being worthless. I want you to know today that you are also of infinite worth. The most incredible price ever paid for something was not with money. The most significant price ever paid was paid for you. “Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18-19 NASB). God bartered for you with His blood! He knew that you were worth His sacrifice. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 NASB). He did not trade for junk, and you shouldn’t, either. Stop bartering for junk!

            For Paul, nothing compares to knowing Christ. In Philippians 3, Paul gives us a glimpse at his resume (Phil. 3:5-6). He belongs to the “tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews…a Pharisee,” along with several other things, which is reason to brag (vs. 4) for someone who puts their “confidence in the flesh.”  Paul does not put confidence in the flesh, and because of that, his resume is worthless. He says, “But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish (garbage) so that I may gain Christ” (Phil. 3:7-8 NASB). This passage gives us a tremendous testimony about how much Christ is worth. While it still doesn’t fully offer an actual value (because there isn’t one), we see how much Christ meant to the Apostle. Everything in his life is rubbish next to Him. Like Paul, many of us work hard to obtain degrees and status, hold specific titles, belong to organizations, and many others. Also, like Paul, we must realize that none of those things compare to Christ. Christ is worth more than anyone, politics, denominations, doctrines, nations, tribes, cultures, races, teams, and anything else. If we trade Him for anything, we are bartering for junk!


In Christ,

Pastor Josh May


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