April 21, 2019, Resurrection Sunday -
The people of Judah during Jeremiah’s day remind me a lot of the church today, with the majority of the children of evangelical Christians seemingly walking away from the faith. Constantly, in the first ten chapters of Jeremiah, we read how in spite of all the things God did for the people, all of God’s blessings, His people forsook and forgot their God: “They have forsaken Me, and have offered sacrifices to other gods, and worshipped the works of THEIR OWN HANDS” (Jeremiah 1:16). Over and over again God tells the people, through Jeremiah, that they have forsaken Him! They have played the harlot (2:20; 3:1,6,9; 5:7), committed adultery (5:7; 6:9), been faithless (3:6,12,21), refused to be ashamed (been made comfortable with their sin, 3:3; 6:15), worshiped nature (3:9), refused to acknowledge their sin (3:13), rebelled (4:17), covered their sin with their shrewdness (4:22), refuse to do good even though they know they should (4:22), didn’t treat people justly (5:1), lied (5:2, 9:3), refused to repent (5:3); 8:5-6), didn’t fear God (5:22), become great, rich, fat and sleek, but refused to help those who need help (5:27-28), were “greedy for gain” (6:13), the Word of the Lord has become a reproach for them (6:10), were deceptive (6:14; 7:8-9; 8:5; 9:6-7), oppressed foreigners, orphans, and widows (7:6), shed innocent blood (abortion) (7:6-9), embraced false doctrines (apostasy) (2:19, 8:5), embraced the false teachings of “wise men” (e.g. evolution and false science) (8:8-9), become proud (9:23-24), and went after other gods (this is a constant theme throughout the first ten chapters of Jeremiah).
“Although you wash yourself with lye and use much soap, the stain of your iniquity is before Me, declares the Lord God. How can you say, ‘I am not defiled?’ (2:22-23) “Why do you contend with Me? You have all transgressed against Me,” declares the Lord (2:29)
But God wants us to repent and return to Him: “ ‘Return faithless Israel,’ declares the Lord; ‘I will not look on you in anger. For I am gracious,’ declares the Lord; ‘I will not be angry forever. Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have transgressed against the Lord your God.’ “ (3:12-13) If God’s people continue to “pervert their way, forget the Lord their God”, and continue to be “faithless”, they will be miserable and unhappy (3:21-22). But, “Return, oh faithless sons, I will heal your faithlessness,” says God (3:22). God told the people He wanted them to be “circumcised of heart” (3:4; 9:25-26), as Paul also told the church in Romans 2:28-29. For there are those who are circumcised, yet uncircumcised (9:25). They are to wash their hearts from evil, that they may be saved (4:18). “‘Hear this, oh foolish and senseless people, who have eyes, but see not; who have ears, but hear not. Do you not fear Me?’ declares the Lord” (5:21-22).
God is a righteous God, and He will not tolerate sin among His people. Yet He is forgiving and compassionate if we truly repent from the heart and turn from our evil ways!