Jeremiah 3

Those will justly be divorced from God that join themselves to such as are rivals with Him,
but God is ever ready to pardon sin and receive those who will return to Him humbly confessing their sins and acknowledging their dependence upon Him for salvation.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

10 And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the LORD.

11 And the LORD said unto me, The backsliding Israel hath justified herself more than treacherous Judah.

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.

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.

16 And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more.

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.

18 In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers.

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.

20 ¶ Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the LORD.

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.

22 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.

24 For shame hath devoured the labour of our fathers from our youth; their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters.

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 3:11-25; 4:1-2 – ​Pleading with Faithless Children

   The people of the northern kingdom, to whom this appeal is especially addressed, were more excusable than Judah, because their privileges had been less. God judges us according to our opportunities. How precious the invitation and promise of Jeremiah 3:12! Confession is an essential condition that must be fulfilled by us. See I John 1:7. Zion shall yet be the center of a restored Israel, Jeremiah 3:14, 18. In Jeremiah 3:21-25 the voices of the people in confession and prayer mingle with Jehovah’s encouraging their return. When we lie down in broken-hearted shame and penitence, we are very near to being lifted to the bosom of God. Compare Jeremiah 3:25 with Jeremiah 4:1. The return of the Chosen People to the God of their fathers will be the cause of revival and quickening throughout the earth. Compare Jeremiah 4:2 with Romans 11:12. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Jeremiah 3:16—They shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD.

​   There was a time in Israel when the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord was the symbol of the national hopes and deliverances. If Israel was smitten before her enemies, it was thither that the people turned for help. On one memorable occasion, they brought from Shiloh the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth between the cherubim—and when it came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth rang again; and even the Philistines were afraid. But Jeremiah says that this would never be done in the coming time. Why? Partly because the people would rely more on the spiritual presence than the material emblem, and partly because a new covenant would have been inaugurated, superseding the old.
   In all true lives there is something of this. We outgrow our old experiences, and get as far beyond them as they were once beyond anything we had attained. It seems to you that you cannot look for higher heights, more heavenly experiences, or deeper insight than you have had. Beware lest you limit God. Your highest water-mark shall be overleapt when the tide comes in again. Wordsworth says Nature was ever singing to the child, a more exquisite song, and telling a more wonderful tale. And is not Nature’s voice the voice of God? Are not the inexhaustible stores of Nature but an emblem of the still more inexhaustible stores of Grace? Dare to press on to the things that are before. There is more love than has ever ravished your heart; more joy than has ever shed its ecstasy through your emotions; more utter consecration, closer union; more rapturous insight into the oneness of the Holy Trinity, and our inclusion in its mystic circle. —Our Daily Homily