The Scriptorium

Call to Return

Jeremiah's first sermon ends with an appeal to God's people. Jeremiah 3.1-5

Jeremiah Called: Jeremiah 1-3 (5)

Pray Psalm 102.1-4.
Hear my prayer, O LORD,
And let my cry come to You.
Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my trouble;
Incline Your ear to me;
In the day that I call, answer me speedily.
For my days are consumed like smoke,
And my bones are burned like a hearth.
My heart is stricken and withered like grass,
So that I forget to eat my bread.

Sing Psalm 102.1-4.
(Leominster: Not What My Hands Have Done)
Lord, hear my prayer and cry; hide not Your face from me!
In my distress and tears I sigh – Lord, hear my earnest plea!
My days like smoke blow past; my bones are scorched with sin.
My heart, like wilted, withered grass bends low to earth again.

Read and meditate on Jeremiah 3.1-5.

Prepare.
1. To what does God liken His people in these verses? Why?

2. What does He call them to do?

Meditate.
Jeremiah wraps up his first sermon with a call for God’s people to return to Him (v. 1). The people of Judah were head-over-heels in love with idols and false deities; God likens them to harlots, whose sinful behavior has polluted the whole land (v. 1).

In response to His people’s harlotries, God withheld the rain and sent drought to the land (vv. 2, 3). But still the people persisted. Instead of turning to God for relief, forgiveness, and renewal, they redoubled their idolatrous practices and “refused to be ashamed” (v. 3).

Still, God appeals to them to cry to Him, to seek Him as their Father, and to ask Him to turn His anger aside (v. 4). The two questions that begin verse 5 are rhetorical. No, God will not remain angry forever. He will not keep His anger to the end. But His people must turn to Him, forsake their wickedness, and be renewed in His covenant and love.

Yet they would not. They continued speaking and doing evil things, as much as they could, as often as possible (v. 5).

It’s easy for us to shake our heads in disbelief at the hardness of God’s people. Let’s make sure we’re not following in their footsteps.

Reflect.
1. How can you tell when you are failing to trust the Lord as you should?

2. God is sovereign over the rain. How might we expect Him to discipline us for straying from Him (Heb. 12.3-11)?

3. How can you see the unfailing grace of God in these verses?

Of this help the divine Instructor made use by Jeremiah, saying, “You have a prostitute’s forehead. You were shameless toward all. You did not call me to the house, I who am your father, and Lord of your virginity.” “And a fair and graceful harlot skilled in enchanted potions.” With consummate art, after applying to the virgin the disgraceful name of whoredom, he at once calls her back to an honorable life by filling her with shame. Clement of Alexandria (150-215), Christ the Educator 1.9

Thank You for Your constant grace, O Lord. Help me to serve only You today as I…

Pray Psalm 102.12-28.

Call on the Lord to bring His people to repentance, revival, and renewal.

Sing Psalm 102.12-28.
Psalm 102.12-28 (Leominster: Not What My Hands Have Done)
But You, O Lord, abide forever in Your place.
Arise and stand on Zion’s side and lavish us with grace!
Revive Your Church, O Lord! Let all her dust and stones
be strengthened by Your mighty Word, and compact be as one.

Then let the nations fear the glory of the Lord!
For He shall in His Church appear to heed our sighing words.
Then let our children learn to praise the Lord above.
He hears their groans and knows they yearn to dwell within His love.

Yet let us tell God’s Name and praise His glorious grace;
let all as one His love proclaim together in this place.
Though now our strength is low; though shortened grow our days,
our God will not forsake us so, but keep us in His ways!

Of old You made the earth and heavens by Your hand.
Though they shall perish You endure; forever shall You stand.
They change, yet You remain the same, without an end.
Our children shall Your favor gain, and theirs shall be Your friend.

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
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