The Scriptorium

God's Promise to His People

Judgment is coming, but so is hope. Jeremiah 3.6-25

Jeremiah Called: Jeremiah 1-3 (6)

Pray Psalm 132.13-18.
For the LORD has chosen Zion;
He has desired it for His dwelling place:
“This is My resting place forever;
Here I will dwell, for I have desired it.
I will abundantly bless her provision;
I will satisfy her poor with bread.
I will also clothe her priests with salvation,
And her saints shall shout aloud for joy.
There I will make the horn of David grow;
I will prepare a lamp for My Anointed.
His enemies I will clothe with shame,
But upon Himself His crown shall flourish.”

Sing Psalm 132.13-18.
(Finlandia: Be Still My Soul)
God dwells among us, and He will forever, to meet our needs and clothe us with His grace.
He has to us sent Jesus Christ, our Savior, and made us His eternal resting-place.
His foes are banished from His presence ever, but we shall reign with Him before His face.

Read Jeremiah 3.1-25; meditate on verses 6-25.

Prepare.
1. Did the people of Judah learn from the mistakes of Israel?

2. What did God promise if His people would repent?

Meditate.
We recall that Jeremiah began his ministry in the thirteenth year of King Josiah. This second sermon would have come early in his ministry. The mention of Josiah’s name in verse 6 is significant. It may be that this message prompted Josiah to take steps toward renewing the people of Judah toward the Lord. For in the eighteenth year of his reign, he began refurbishing the temple of the Lord (2 Kgs. 22.3ff). Was he motivated by this word from Jeremiah? I think it is quite possible.

I also think it’s quite possible that God honored the efforts of Josiah to lead the people in revival, and brought about a partial fulfilling of the promises held out in these verses. Let’s take a closer look at this sermon.

First, Jeremiah rebuked the people of Judah because they learned nothing from the judgment of God against Israel (the northern kingdom, vv. 6-10). In the early days of Josiah’s reign, the people of Judah were still worshiping idols. Jeremiah, facing to the north, cried out for repentance among the people of Israel, although it was already too late for them (vv. 11-13). Was this message really intended for the people of Judah? This seems likely, since from verse 14 on, the sermon turns toward Jerusalem and its inhabitants (v. 17), in an extended call to repentance and promise of renewal. There is a tenderness in this part of Jeremiah’s sermon that has been absent thus far: note the address to “backsliding children” rather than “backsliding Israel” (vv. 14, 12) and the promise of shepherds who have the heart of God (v. 15).

The vast promise of renewal and restoration that Jeremiah unfolds in verses 17-19 is for a more distant time than the days of Josiah, although, under Josiah’s leadership, the people of Judah and Jerusalem renewed their covenant with God and enjoyed a brief season of respite from judgment.

The longer term promise that God makes through Jeremiah sees the reuniting of Israel and Judah (v. 18), all nations coming to Jerusalem to worship God (v. 17), and the return of God’s blessing to the land (v. 19). The sermon continues with chiding and threats (vv. 20-22), and a script for the people to use in returning to the Lord (vv. 22-25). But the “revival” of Josiah’s days was shallow and short-lived, since not even all the priests were willing to get on board.

Nevertheless, Josiah’s faithfulness in response to Jeremiah’s preaching and the discovery of God’s Law should not be overlooked. He is a model for all of us to do what we can in these sinful and uncertain times to restore true worship and seek the Kingdom and glory of God.

Reflect.
1. How can we know when we are in need of repentance and revival?

2. What should we do, when God convicts us of sin and warns of coming judgment?

3. According to verses 22-25, what are the key components of confession and repentance?

God has then said to us, “Return, you children, and when you return, I will heal your afflictions.” And when we see our afflictions and the promise of healing, we answer and say immediately, “Behold, we will be yours because you are the Lord our God.”  Origen of Alexandria (185-254), Homilies on Jeremiah 5.2.4

Convict me of my sin, Lord; cleanse and renew me unto repentance; and use me today to…

Pray Psalm 132.1-12.

Thank God for His covenant and promises, and for Jesus, Who sits on the throne of David. Ask Him to guide you today by His Word.

Sing Psalm 132.1-12.
Psalm 132.1-12 (Finlandia: Be Still My Soul)

Remember, Lord, we pray, in David’s favor, the hardships he endured, the oath he swore,
The vow he made to Jacob’s mighty Savior: “I shall not enter through my palace door;
I shall not sleep, nor slumber my eyes favor, until I make a dwelling for the Lord!”

The word throughout the chosen nation spread, to Ephrata, and in the fields of Jaar:
“Now let us go,” the faithful people said, “and worship where our Savior’s dwellings are!
Around His footstool let our worship spread; come, gather to Him, all from near and far!”

Arise, O Lord, come to Your resting place; Your holy presence meet with us in might.
Clothe us with righteousness in Jesus’ grace, and we will shout to Your divine delight!
For David’s sake, turn not away Your face, but look upon us in Your holy light.

Remember, Lord, the oath You swore to David; do not turn back, do not deny Your Word:
“One of your sons, with your throne I will favor, and He shall keep My cov’nant evermore,
and walk within My testimonies ever, thus He shall ever rule as Israel’s Lord.”

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.
Books by T. M. Moore