Jeremiah 3

Jeremiah 3 has the prophet delivering some strong words from God to His people.  “If a man divorces his wife and she goes from him and becomes another man’s wife, will he return to her?  Would not that land be greatly polluted?  You have played the whore with many lovers; and would you return to me”?  This is language from Deuteronomy 24 where God spoke about divorce and remarriage, but here Jeremiah applies it to the relationship between God and His people.  This isn’t about marriage in this case, but about being faithful to God in our relationship to Him.

God’s law around marriage and divorce was designed to show how important that relationship is.  It was about making sure people did not cheapen marriage and the sacred union between a husband and wife.  Here God wants to drive home the sacred relationship He wants with those who follow Him.  It isn’t a come and go relationship.  It isn’t a connection based on convenience.  Our relationship with God is about obedience to Him and making Him our One and only.  He alone is our God.  He alone can sit on the throne of our life.  He will not allow us to have other gods in our life.

God’s people (then and now) have moved away from Him in differing ways.  But one thing is constant – God is willing because of His love to bring us back to Himself.  “Return, faithless Israel, declares the Lord. I will not look on you in anger, for  I am merciful, declares the Lord;  I will not be angry forever….Return, O faithless children, declares the Lord;  for I am your master; I will take you….I will bring you to Zion….I will give you shepherds after my own heart,  who will feed you with knowledge and understanding”.  God is willing, even with our backsliding and failure to be true to Him, to allow us to come back.

But He does have some requirements.  “Only acknowledge your guilt, that you rebelled against the Lord your God and scattered your favors among foreigners under every green tree, and that you have not obeyed my voice, declares the Lord”.  We have to admit and confess our wrongs as the first part of getting right with God.  Then comes repentance which means we begin to live the right way, God’s way, not just continue to do what we’ve done in the past.  We push God aside, and have to change how we focus on Him.

In this case, “they have forgotten the Lord their God. Return, O faithless sons;  I will heal your faithlessness”.  God’s people have to return to not only remembering, but knowing Him.  He can’t be a god they shove in the shelf until they need Him.  So we have to confess, repent, and then receive.  We have to take God’s gift of grace and make it our own.  That’s the same set of steps that we need to use to deal with our sin today.  Jesus went to the Cross to pay the price.  He offers to cover our sin with His blood.  But that requires us admitting that we are a sinner, repenting of that sin by changing our life and turning around, and then receiving His grace and making that gift our own through a personal relationship with Him.  God’s always there and willing to take us back.  But we have to move toward Him!

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