Jeremiah was a prophet of God. Israel, the ten northern tribes, were conquered by Assyria. Jeremiah was sent to Judah and Benjamin to warn them. Judah and Benjamin were in rebellion to God’s plan. They worshipped idols and committed all sorts of wickedness.
Jeremiah continues to warn and Judah and Benjamin continue to reject God.
This week we will look at Jeremiah’s call, Judah and Benjamin’s sin, God’s mercy, and God’s judgement.
“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.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.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:15 And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” (Jeremiah 3:12-15)
“Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the Lord our God.23 Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains: truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel.” (Jeremiah 3:22-23)
“For if ye thoroughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor; 6 If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: 7 Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.” (Jeremiah 7:5-7)
“But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the Lord’s flock is carried away captive.” (Jeremiah 13:17)
It was never God’s intent that Judah and Benjamin be taken into captivity. God continued to warn them, exhort them, and plead with them to repent and come back to Him. In the end, God wept over His backslidden children.
God is still merciful. He waits for His wayward children to repent and follow Him. Eventually God’s patience runs out. We say “No” too many times and we seal our own fate.
May we not be like Judah and Benjamin. When we sin, repent and move on for God!
Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain, 907 715-4001