Reading For Friday Jeremiah 3:1-25
No matter how genuine the threats of judgment may be, no matter how inextricable the entanglements of sin, repentance opens the door of possibility that judgment may be forestalled. Under the Law of Moses, a woman who had been divorced and married to a second husband could not be reclaimed by the first husband (Deut 24:1–4). This type of action would pollute the land. However, Judah is said to have acted worse than the situation pictured in the Law. She had not been divorced, but she had played the harlot with many lovers. Even so, God was willing to take her back. Judah’s idolatry abounded and "she" threw herself into the arms of other deities. God called Judah to acknowledge him as Father and Husband. Judah observed Israel's unfaithfulness but failed to learn from it. The greater the light, the greater the guilt, so Israel was considered more righteous in God’s eyes than “treacherous Judah.” To benefit from God’s grace, they needed to repent of their apostasy. Through repentance, they would experience wonderful blessings. God would provide a new leadership for his people, and these leaders would be committed to God. God’s people would experience growth, and a better worship system would be introduced. The ark would be absent, but it would not be missed.
The question now raised and answered by God himself is this: How can a turncoat people be restored? Recognize God as father and continue to walk with the Lord. Israel had “dealt treacherously” with her husband, and only a radical change on her part would restore the relationship. Some would respond to God’s call to repentance. He encouraged his faithless sons who were distraught over their spiritual condition to return. God promised to heal their faithlessness. Jeremiah shared a model prayer to show how they might present their petition to the Lord. They needed to recognize that they had sinned against the Lord and renounce their wicked ways. Through Jeremiah, they were called to return to the Lord.
Things To Consider:
- Why do you think the graphic metaphor of a prostitute is used?
- What are ways that you betray the Lord?
- Why do we not learn from the sins of others?
- How is repentance sometimes just pretense?
- Why would God love a rebellious people and receive an unfaithful "wife" back?
- Whom do these whole-hearted shepherds point toward?
- Why do we sometimes fail to acknowledge that we have sinned against God?