14 “Return, faithless people,” declares the Lord, “for I am your husband. I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion.Jeremiah 3:14 NIV
Lately, I have been feeling a pull deep within me to come to God more. If I could describe it, it’s like this deep yearning within that if I don’t feed into it, I’ll miss something or go stir-crazy. Either way, this intuition was not missed by me, but became a point of digging below the surface in God.
When we look at the major and minor prophets, these call to actions were ever-present throughout their ministry. God had every intention to always send warning to His people, before any damage could be done and to give them a chance to repent. Likewise, with us, God has done the same.
In this chapter of Jeremiah specifically, the metaphor of husband and wife is used to represent the covenant bond between God and Israel. Unfortunately, while God is always faithful, Israel had been faithless and dabbling in adultery with other idols (Jeremiah 3:2). Their practices had polluted the land, but also it polluted their hearts.
Think about this: In a marriage between man and wife, if one person cheats, how hard is it to forgive that person for cheating? If forgiveness does happen, how hard is it to erase the marks of infidelity that have been done?
In the same way, God was continuously being the spouse being cheated on. Not only by Israel, but by Judah too. They engaged in idolatry which per Mosaic law was a no-no (Exodus 20:3). Yet, they participated knowing the wrong that they committed towards the one that loved them the most. Bring this to present day, are you cheating on God?
Let me explain. We may not sacrifice to other gods like they had at the time, but what is dividing your time from God? Is it your phone? Money? People? What are you placing before God that is causing you to spiritually cheat?
Despite all of this, God still remains committed to working things out with us. Starting at verse 12 NLT, God instructs Jeremiah to send words of reconciliation to Israel.
12 Therefore, go and give this message to Israel. This is what the Lord says:
“O Israel, my faithless people,
come home to me again,
for I am merciful.
I will not be angry with you forever.
13 Only acknowledge your guilt.
Admit that you rebelled against the Lord your God
and committed adultery against him
by worshiping idols under every green tree.
Confess that you refused to listen to my voice.
I, the Lord, have spoken!
God continues to spare the lives of the ones He loves. He is full of compassion and mercy towards us (James 5:11) and with Israel we see this the most. However, in verse 13 we see God’s conditions: admit the wrong that you have committed.
Romans 3:23-24 NLT says this, ” 23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.24 Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.” Meaning, God knew that in making covenant with us, we were going to be more prone to breaking it, yet He gave us Jesus, so that we had the opportunity to be redeemed and to “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. (Matthew 3:8).”
How was Israel supposed to learn if they did not know what they were wrong for? By admitting our wrongs, we can recognize where we have fallen short, but learn from our mistakes. God was calling out to His children to be redeemed. To stop going against the covenant/marriage that He had established with them. How often do we miss the call from God to come back and re-enter our marriage to Him? In a previous blog, I noted the story of the prodigal son and the relationship to his father. However, with this passage, this is a husband calling his wife home to make it work after what some would deem unforgivable. And what is her response after all this?
“Yes, we’re coming,” the people reply,
“for you are the Lord our God.
Jeremiah 3:22b NLT
So if you’re anything like me, and have felt the pull of God on your heart, don’t ignore it. Follow it. Let God know that first, you repent for getting distracted, unfocused, and not following after His commands. Then secondly, know that you are redeemed and He has brought you back. Lastly, always always always, keep Him first in what you do, so when the time comes, you’ll be married here on Earth and in Heaven.
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.John 15:1 KJV
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