Jeremiah 3:6-10 – Who Else Is Guilty?

Read Jeremiah 3:6-10

fancy wooden gavel and sound block

There might be some hidden gems in today’s reading, or at the very least a skillful use of human analogies. We see that Jeremiah is recalling a conversation with God and confirms it was during the reign of King Josiah. God was lamenting that both Israel and Judah had left him for other gods.

Did you find it interesting, too, that God used the word “adultery” to describe what Israel and Judah were doing? That’s just one of those “human analogies” used as a way of helping the people understand the significance of betrayal with a recognizable situation. There will be a price for this disloyalty.

We read, “Israel treated it all so lightly—she thought nothing of committing adultery by worshiping idols made of wood and stone.” Today we need to heed this wake-up call and not take our relationship with God “lightly.” What actions do we do on a regular basis that we think nothing about? I sometimes feel like I have gotten desensitized to so many evil things simply because I see them all around me. What idols might you be worshipping and not even realize it?

To refer to Israel and Judah as sisters is the other human analogy, reminding us that the two kingdoms are related. You’ll recall God gave the promised land to the Israelites after they rambled around in the desert for 40 years. It wasn’t until after the reign of King David that Israel split into a northern and southern kingdom. These two “sisters” represent the chosen ones of God. Both have been rebellious children.

Judah was especially willful. “She has only pretended to be sorry.” Have you ever done that? By “that” I mean, “said you’re sorry because you thought that’s what someone wanted to hear but you didn’t really mean it.” Apologies and forgiveness are important aspects to a healthy relationship. They must be sincere to matter. How about in your relationship with God? Are you like Judah and think you can get away with anything simply because God loves you?

I don’t think it’s any accident that Jeremiah time stamps this short conversation by mentioning King Josiah. You may recall the reform during King Josiah’s reign when God’s law was rediscovered after many generations. Josiah wanted to return religious practices back to how God intended. I also read in a commentary on this passage that Josiah may have wished to reunite the northern and southern kingdoms again as well. How God would have loved to see his family leave their dysfunctional past behind them.

Like I said at the beginning, this reading unveils some great gems and thinking points. It has really gotten me thinking about how I approach God and others. Are my actions helpful to others or solely focused on my own pleasure? Could I be spending more time with God? Am I guilty, too?

What questions are you wrestling with because of this passage?

praying hands looking up

Let’s pray… Lord, it is the desire of my heart to be always loyal to you. Forgive me for those times when I tend to be more “me-focused.” Even in those quiet times, speak to my heart so I can feel you there. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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