W. Austin Gardner
God begs His people to Come Back to Him
Jeremiah 3:25 We lie down in our shame, and our confusion covereth us: for we have sinned against the Lord our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even unto this day, and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God. Jeremiah 4:1 If thou wilt return, O Israel, saith the Lord, return unto me: and if thou wilt put away thine abominations out of my sight, then shalt thou not remove.
God calls His people to return to Him no matter what they have done
Normal people would never be willing to have such an unfaithful wife return but God wants them to return to Him Jeremiah 3:1 They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man’s, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the Lord.
The love relationship God has with His people, is compared to a man loving his wife
When God’s people love other gods, they sin against Him horribly
He says they are playing the harlot
God makes it clear they can return because of Him and who He is Jeremiah 3:12 Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger for ever.
Backsliding refers being faithless
Turning from faith in God to trusting demonic or antichrist
God stands ready to bring them back and heal them Jeremiah 3:22 Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the Lord our God.
God wants to bring them back into that intimate relationship with Him
He stands ready to build that faith back in them
They were to acknowledge their sin Jeremiah 3:13 Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the Lord.
The fact that God would call them back to Him, is a great show of grace
God’s people had fallen into great sin
He compares their worship of false gods to being a whore Jeremiah 3:2 Lift up thine eyes unto the high places, and see where thou hast not been lien with. In the ways hast thou sat for them, as the Arabian in the wilderness; and thou hast polluted the land with thy whoredoms and with thy wickedness. Jeremiah 3:20 Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the Lord.
What sin hurts more than unfaithfulness in marriage
What intimacy is greater
They perverted or twisted their way and forgot God Jeremiah 3:21 A voice was heard upon the high places, weeping and supplications of the children of Israel: for they have perverted their way, and they have forgotten the Lord their God.
They were more than just off track or off the path, they intentionally had twisted their way
They had forgotten the God who made them and saved them
Their hearts were as hard as ground that has never been plowed or prepared to cultivate Jeremiah 4:3 For thus saith the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.
They were hard hearted and concerned about other things
It was like they were impervious to the work of God in their lives
They still lived like the world and in the old life Jeremiah 4:4 Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.
The world was all over them
The action wasn’t the solution but it was an example of how they chose to live like those that hated God
People in sin showed remarkable attitudes
They are so accustomed to sin that it no longer embarrasses them Jeremiah 3:3 Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whore’s forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed.
Their face showed no remorse, no blush, no embarrassment
They chose sin and were flagrantly proud of their sin
They call on God when they need something but continue to all the evil they can Jeremiah 3:4 Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My father, thou art the guide of my youth? 5 Will he reserve his anger for ever? will he keep it to the end? Behold, thou hast spoken and done evil things as thou couldest.
They pretended to be in love with God
They called him father and guide but were insincere
They actually were sinning on purpose
They sinned everywhere they could Jeremiah 3:6 The Lord said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot.
They were no longer hiding their sin
They were practicing it everywhere they could
Their sin influenced others to do the same Jeremiah 3:7 And I said after she had done all these things, Turn thou unto me. But she returned not. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it.
God in love was calling the sinner back but they refused
God’s goodness and love made Judah want to commit the same sin
Show no fear of God and His chastisement Jeremiah 3:8 And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.
Sin seems insignificant Jeremiah 3:9 And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks.
They fake getting right with God Jeremiah 3:10 And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the Lord.
God’s promises to them
He will not cause His anger to fall on them Jeremiah 3:12 Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger for ever.
God will bring His people home to Jerusalem Jeremiah 3:14 Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:
He will give them good shepherds, pastors Jeremiah 3:15 And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.
A day would come when Israel and Judah would be together and all nations would come to Jerusalem to serve God Jeremiah 3:17 At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.
They would eventually be faithful Jeremiah 3:19 But I said, How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations? and I said, Thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from me.
Their continued sin would have great consequences
God will bring great destruction Jeremiah 4:6 Set up the standard toward Zion: retire, stay not: for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction.
The fierce anger of God was still coming at them Jeremiah 4:8 For this gird you with sackcloth, lament and howl: for the fierce anger of the Lord is not turned back from us.
They knew what to do but refused Jeremiah 4:14 O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?
All of this, broke Jeremiah’s heart Jeremiah 4:19 My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; My heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, Because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war.
They would get hurt because they were like silly children Jeremiah 4:22 For my people is foolish, they have not known me; They are sottish children, and they have none understanding: They are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.
Even their sinful lovers would turn against them only God is faithful Jeremiah 4:30 And when thou art spoiled, what wilt thou do? Though thou clothest thyself with crimson, though thou deckest thee with ornaments of gold, Though thou rentest thy face with painting, in vain shalt thou make thyself fair; Thy lovers will despise thee, they will seek thy life.