3 “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?
declares the LORD.
Lift up your eyes to the bare heights, and see!
Where have you not been ravished?
By the waysides you have sat awaiting lovers
like an Arab in the wilderness.
You have polluted the land
with your vile whoredom.
Therefore the showers have been withheld,
and the spring rain has not come;
yet you have the forehead of a whore;
you refuse to be ashamed.
Have you not just now called to me,
‘My father, you are the friend of my youth—
will he be angry forever,
will he be indignant to the end?’
Behold, you have spoken,
but you have done all the evil that you could.”
Faithless Israel Called to Repentance
The LORD said to me in the days of King Josiah: “Have you seen what she did, that faithless one, Israel, how she went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and there played the whore? And I thought, ‘After she has done all this she will return to me,’ but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. She saw that for all the adulteries of that faithless one, Israel, I had sent her away with a decree of divorce. Yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but she too went and played the whore. Because she took her whoredom lightly, she polluted the land, committing adultery with stone and tree. Yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to me with her whole heart, but in pretense, declares the LORD.”
And the LORD said to me, “Faithless Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah. Go, and proclaim these words toward the north, and say,
“‘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.
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.
Return, O faithless children,
declares the LORD;
for I am your master;
I will take you, one from a city and two from a family,
and I will bring you to Zion.
“‘And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding. And when you have multiplied and been fruitful in the land, in those days, declares the LORD, they shall no more say, “The ark of the covenant of the LORD.” It shall not come to mind or be remembered or missed; it shall not be made again. At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the LORD, and all nations shall gather to it, to the presence of the LORD in Jerusalem, and they shall no more stubbornly follow their own evil heart. In those days the house of Judah shall join the house of Israel, and together they shall come from the land of the north to the land that I gave your fathers for a heritage.
How I would set you among my sons,
and give you a pleasant land,
a heritage most beautiful of all nations.
And I thought you would call me, My Father,
and would not turn from following me.
Surely, as a treacherous wife leaves her husband,
so have you been treacherous to me, O house of Israel,
declares the LORD.’”
A voice on the bare heights is heard,
the weeping and pleading of Israel’s sons
because they have perverted their way;
they have forgotten the LORD their God.
“Return, O faithless sons;
I will heal your faithlessness.”
“Behold, we come to you,
for you are the LORD our God.
Truly the hills are a delusion,
the orgies on the mountains.
Truly in the LORD our God
is the salvation of Israel.
“But from our youth the shameful thing has devoured all for which our fathers labored, their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters. Let us lie down in our shame, and let our dishonor cover us. For we have sinned against the LORD our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even to this day, and we have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God.”
Jeremiah 3 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Talk is cheap.
As the saying goes, the truth of this statement is more on point than anything. We can certainly talk ourselves into or out of anything. We toss emotion into our words, inflections at certain points and press home whatever we’re saying by the volume of our voice.
Cheap talk is found everywhere. It’s the empty promises made to another that will go unfulfilled. It’s the remorseful words spoken when something has been exposed – many times the sorrow is there because we were caught instead of over what we did. It’s telling someone what they want to hear even if it’s not what we believe.
And cheap talk is destructive. When there’s no follow through on whatever level we’ve speaking those words mean nothing based on our actions.
God had strong words for the people.
“Have you not just called to me: ‘My Father, my friend from my youth, will you always be angry? Will your wrath continue forever?’ This is how you talk but you do all the evil you can.”Jeremiah 3:4-5
They’re calling Him their Father but are still obstinate and determined to do what they want to do. They’re not making any changes. They’re minimizing their sin. So many times we’re just like them. We want to downplay whatever we’ve been convicted over. We want to brush it under the carpet. Consequently, because we don’t own up to the problem it simply continues. There’s no real remorse. No godly sorrow for our waywardness. It’s only when we look at the seriousness of our sin that we understand what we’ve done. Sadly it’s only after we’re paying for whatever decisions we made that there’s potential for real change to begin.
Godly sorrow leads to repentance.
Is there anything in your life at the moment you’ve pushed aside of which God is pressing in on you about? God requires confession and turning from that. That’s when cheap talk turns into meaningful words and change happens.
Jeremiah 3 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Married people, how would you feel if your spouse wanted to share their love equally with another? Would you be fine with that? God challenges the people to consider their ways. They have left Him as their first love and given themselves to so many others. But that’s not all. The Lord says they have done so without any shame. There was no conviction, therefore, there was little repentance.
In fact, speaking of repentance, it’s interesting to consider how the people viewed their relationship with God and verbalized their “repentance.”
“Have you not just now called to Me, ‘My Father, You are the friend of my youth? 5 ‘Will He be angry forever? Will He be indignant to the end?’ Behold, you have spoken And have done evil things, And you have had your way.”Jeremiah 3:4-5 NASB
He was the friend of their youth but not the Lord of their life. So, in a final plea to sort things out, the people cry out to God. The crying, however, is not over the enormity of the sins, but over God’s slowness to “get over it.” Can you believe it? Honestly, yes I can. We see this kind of stuff every single day. It’s human nature at its worst.
Let me give you an example. It’s like me sleeping around on my wife and then coming home like, “Hey babe, you are my fondest friend from the past, you know? How long are you going to be angry with me for sleeping around? Are you actually going to hold this against me the rest of my life?” Crazy, right?
Does this go on today? Absolutely. Why do we do this? Because we don’t really love Jesus. That’s the bottom line. You know what is so amazing? God loves to forgive. He is full of grace and mercy. But how do you forgive someone like the example I gave above? Where do you even begin?
We need to understand that God is not interested in playing games. He wants a genuine, authentic relationship. In order to receive forgiveness, which we all need, we have to be broken. God bring heavy conviction to where I have been playing you! Help me to feel brokenness so I can experience your grace and mercy!