Be My Children Again

18 08 2009
Scripture

Observations/Paraphrase

Application

Jeremiah 3 August 18, 2009
1 “If a man divorces a woman

and she goes and marries someone else,

he will not take her back again,

for that would surely corrupt the land.

But you have prostituted yourself with many lovers,

so why are you trying to come back to me?”

says the Lord .

2 “Look at the shrines on every hilltop.

Is there any place you have not been defiled

by your adultery with other gods?

You sit like a prostitute beside the road waiting for a customer.

You sit alone like a nomad in the desert.

You have polluted the land with your prostitution

and your wickedness.

3 That’s why even the spring rains have failed.

For you are a brazen prostitute and completely shameless.

4 Yet you say to me,

`Father, you have been my guide since my youth.

5 Surely you won’t be angry forever!

Surely you can forget about it!’

So you talk,

but you keep on doing all the evil you can.”

Judah Follows Israel’s Example

6 During the reign of King Josiah, the Lord said to me, “Have you seen what fickle Israel has done? Like a wife who commits adultery, Israel has worshiped other gods on every hill and under every green tree.7 I thought, `After she has done all this, she will return to me.’ But she did not return, and her faithless sister Judah saw this.8 She saw that I divorced faithless Israel because of her adultery. But that treacherous sister Judah had no fear, and now she, too, has left me and given herself to prostitution.9 Israel treated it all so lightly—she thought nothing of committing adultery by worshiping idols made of wood and stone. So now the land has been polluted.10 But despite all this, her faithless sister Judah has never sincerely returned to me. She has only pretended to be sorry. I, the Lord , have spoken!”


Hope for Wayward Israel

11 Then the Lord said to me, “Even faithless Israel is less guilty than treacherous Judah!12 Therefore, go and give this message to Israel.s This is what the Lord says:


“O Israel, my faithless people,

come home to me again,

for I am merciful.

I will not be angry with you forever.

13 Only acknowledge your guilt.

Admit that you rebelled against the Lord your God

and committed adultery against him

by worshiping idols under every green tree.

Confess that you refused to listen to my voice.

I, the Lord , have spoken!


14 “Return home, you wayward children,”

says the Lord ,

“for I am your master.

I will bring you back to the land of Israels

one from this town and two from that family—

from wherever you are scattered.

15 And I will give you shepherds after my own heart,

who will guide you with knowledge and understanding.


16 “And when your land is once more filled with people,” says the Lord , “you will no longer wish for `the good old days’ when you possessed the Ark of the Lord ‘s Covenant. You will not miss those days or even remember them, and there will be no need to rebuild the Ark.17 In that day Jerusalem will be known as `The Throne of the Lord .’ All nations will come there to honor the Lord . They will no longer stubbornly follow their own evil desires.18 In those days the people of Judah and Israel will return together from exile in the north. They will return to the land I gave their ancestors as an inheritance forever.


19 “I thought to myself,

`I would love to treat you as my own children!’

I wanted nothing more than to give you this beautiful land—

the finest possession in the world.

I looked forward to your calling me `Father,’

and I wanted you never to turn from me.

20 But you have been unfaithful to me, you people of Israel!

You have been like a faithless wife who leaves her husband.

I, the Lord , have spoken.”


21 Voices are heard high on the windswept mountains,

the weeping and pleading of Israel’s people.

For they have chosen crooked paths

and have forgotten the Lord their God.


22 “My wayward children,” says the Lord ,

“come back to me, and I will heal your wayward hearts.”


“Yes, we’re coming,” the people reply,

“for you are the Lord our God.

23 Our worship of idols on the hills

and our religious orgies on the mountains

are a delusion.

Only in the Lord our God

will Israel ever find salvation.

24 From childhood we have watched

as everything our ancestors worked for—

their flocks and herds, their sons and daughters—

was squandered on a delusion.

25 Let us now lie down in shame

and cover ourselves with dishonor,

for we and our ancestors have sinned

against the Lord our God.

From our childhood to this day

we have never obeyed him.”





A man won’t take back a woman whom he has divorced, so why would he take back one who has prostituted herself with many lovers?  Why is Israel trying to come back to God?





You can see shrines on every hilltop where this prostitution has taken place.  Even now, we sit like prostitutes beside the road – waiting for the next customer.


We have polluted the land with this prostitution.



This is why it doesn’t rain in the Spring.



You say, but you’ve always been my guide, my father, you won’t be angry forever, but there is no stopping the evil behavior.







Because Israel treated this all so lightly, no even Judah is following in these steps of prostitution.


But even as Israel has repented, yet returned to her evil, Judah saw this was all so common, that she never sincerely returned and only pretended to be sorry.
















Israel is faithless, but Judah is treacherous.




The Lord says, “Oh my faithless people, come home to me, again – I am merciful.  I will not be angry forever.  Just acknowledge your guilt, admit you rebelled and committed adultery by worshiping idols.  Confess that you refused to listen.”








“Return home, my wayward children.” Say the Lord. “For I am your master and I will bring you back to the land.  I will give you leaders after my own heart who will guide you with knowledge and understanding.”








When the land is filled again with people, you will no longer wish for “the good’ol days” when you possessed the Ark.  You won’t need to rebuild the Ark, for Jerusalem will be known as “The Throne of the Lord.”  All nations will come to honor God.  They won’t stubbornly follow their own desires.  Judah and Israel will return from Exile.  They will return to the land given their ancestors.







God would love to treat us as His own children.  He wants to give us this land – the finest in the World.  He wants us to call Him Father, and not turn from Him.


But we have been unfaithful.  Like a faithless wife who leaves her husband.








The voices of God’s people are heard on high.  Weeping, pleading – for we have chosen crooked paths and have forgotten our Lord.





Come back, Says God.  I will heal you.



We are coming.  You are our God.  Our religious orgies were a delusion.  We can only find salvation in you.  We have seen everything squandered in delusion.


We now lie down in shame and cover ourselves in dishonor.  We and our ancestors have sinned against God.  We have never obeyed.

I have always compared marriage to our relationship with God.  This symbol, between a man and a woman is sacred – for many reasons.  It is sacred because it is the closest any human can be to another.  It is sacred because it represents the relationship we have (or could have) with God.


When we prostitute ourselves – spiritually, physically, or emotionally – we are polluted.  Many will say that sex in and of itself is not evil.  One should be able to be sexual with whomever they please – it doesn’t hurt anyone and it is no different than a hug.


I disagree.  As a refugee from the sexual revolution, take my word for it – it leaves scars.  I have seen the scars I left in others, and I have been left wounded from the encounters others had with me. (but that’s another story)


When the verse talks about a prostitute waiting by the road, it makes me think of Judah’s daughter-in-law.  He thought she was a prostitute, because of where he encountered her – but in reality, he was the one prostituting himself with the first woman who came along.


No rain in the Spring.  Reminds me of Elijah and the drought.  Was this drought a punishment from God – or just a way to wake them up to their needs.  I see us currently in a spiritual drought, because of our disobedience.  We are not going to experience the Latter Rain until we repent of our actions, deeds, and intentions.


Our leadership, our actions cause others to fall also.  The lack of spirituality in the church testifies greatly of a lack of faith.  We treat our relationship with God so lightly, that others toss God off like so much bad advice.  We give fuel to atheists and other unbelievers.  Because our relationship with God is so polluted, they see no reason to even draw near to Him.


But even when we repent, the unbeliever never sees the need fully.


We may be faithless, but Judah is treacherous.  This is a scary reality.  What have we done?  What monsters have we created.


I see this in our kids.  Because of faithless parents, our kids are treacherous.


But God still says, come home.  Acknowledge our guilt, repent, he will take us back.


This was the message I was trying to preach.  I wanted us to acknowledge our guilt, our lukewarm approach, our sinfulness.  Repent, cast ourselves before God and be healed.


It seemed as if people got hung up on the “we are sinners” part of this message, but coulldn’t see what it would take to get back into a right relationship with God.


It’s not enough to just say, “Yeah, you’re right. I’m a sinner.  I’m sorry.  Now what?”


There has to be a deep repentance, a deep remorse, and a deep healing.  This isn’t something that happens in a few minutes.  This is also why I believe my former church is the loser in all of this.  Not only were they unwilling to go here, but they no have turned their backs on this invitation.  It is going to be even harder next time.


God’s promises, for when we return to Him are glorious.  Great gifts.  He wants so much to bestow great things on us.  He wants that love relationship that is so deep.









Yes, we’ve been unfaithful, but if we’re willing, God will embrace us and have that closeness like none other.

Prayer

Dear Lord, please help me to forgive.  It isn’t me that they were rejecting.  It was You.  They want to make it look like it was me – to assuage their guilt.  But it is your love vs. their love of the World.  Help me to let go.

See Original here.


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