Continuing the sermon from chapter 2, God describes how the people have sinned.
Jeremiah Chapter 3
Lessons from the text
Sin Is a Confusion
The final verse of this chapter says that the northern kingdom admits that they are covered by confusion. God created humanity with a very specific intention and purpose. Living in sin is like a carpenter trying to be a computer programmer; it does not fit who you are. If you honestly believe that you are a computer programmer and not a carpenter, than you are confused about your nature. From this we can see that chasing after worldly things and serving the flesh is to be confused about the person God made you to be.
God created you with a very specific purpose, giving you particular skills to be used in the occupation for which He designed you. A teacher is born a teacher. A preacher is born a preacher. It may take years to develop the skills and talents God has given you, but it does not change the person God designed you to be.
One of the particular desires God places in every heart is a desire to be with Him. God designed every human being to worship and praise Him. To fail to do so means that you are leaving a part of your nature unfulfilled. Such is why people who are in sin have an uneasiness and unhappiness that they cannot remove no matter how hard they try.
God alone satisfies us. He alone can complete us, giving us total peace and contentment about our lives. To think that we can live with out Him is to be confused about the facts of our creation and about what can satisfy our souls.
Reality is that God designed us to have fellowship with Him. When we miss out on fellowship with Him, we miss out on the fullness of our existence. God is waiting with outstretched arms to receive anyone who is willing to come to Him, but in our confusion, we reject Him and continue to seek after worldly things.
Verse by Verse Commentary
1 In the earth, when a man divorces his wife and she remarries, her first husband cannot return to her because she is another man's wife. Not so with God. Even when one divorces Him and chases after another god, one has merely played the harlot against God and has not married another; that is, one can be married to the world or be married to God, but one cannot be married to false gods because they are not living. God desires such a one who seeks false gods to return to Him. He is ever gracious towards those who have entered into a covenant relationship with Him.
2 God likens idolatry to an act of sexual impurity. God is saying that His wife, Israel, has gone and slept around with other gods, even waiting as an Arabian harlot who sits to offer her services to travelers. Idolaters are taking pleasure in the flesh instead of remaining faithful and holy to God. Their sin has polluted the entire land.
4-5 Now that God has exposed their sin to them, the people should cry out to God for forgiveness. That is, one should repent when one is made aware of one's sin. Then, God will forgive one and not store up wrath for the day of judgment. No matter how much evil one has done, if one repents when God calls, one can be forgiven.
6 Opening a new message, God retains a strong visual component to the sermon. Noteworthy is that God is once again repeating the analogy of Israel to a harlot. Here, Israel refers to the northern kingdom.
7-9 Echoing the first sermon, God says that he has called Israel to come back despite her unfaithfulness, but she has refused to do so. While God has been sending prophets against the Northern Kingdom and finally exiled it into Assyrian captivity, the southern kingdom has been watching and has not learned the lesson God has been teaching through the Northern Kingdom of the consequences of idolatry.
Idolatry began in Judah with King Solomon who had altars built for the foreign gods of his wives (I Ki. 11:7-8). However, this was nothing compared to the widespread a idolatry set up by Jeroboam who made to golden calves and establish them as the national god of the Northern Kingdom (I Ki. 12:28). In time though, the false gods became more and more widespread in Judah until there were more followers of Balaam and Chemosh than of Jehovah. The Jews even went so far as to begin to worship stone and wood.
10 When God has rebuked Judah for her sins, rather than repenting and returning wholeheartedly to the Lord, she gives him lip service by reinstating the priestly duties yet has not forsaken her worship of other gods.
11-14 Judah has return to the Lord faintly, but the Northern Kingdom has not returned at all. Ever since Jeroboam established the northern kingdom, it had been full of idolatry and continued to be so even until its captivity. Judah experiences revivals under Hezekiah, but historically the Northern Kingdom never experienced a revival.
God turns His attention to the Northern Kingdom, pleading with them to return once again on the basis that the Jews are His bride. Despite their unfaithfulness, He is still faithful to His marriage vows and intends to do everything He can to bring His people back into a relationship with Him. If they will return to Him, He will restore them with unity to Jerusalem, thus reunifying the split kingdom. All they have to do to receive this blessing is to acknowledge their sins and choose to come back to God.
15-18 God promises that He will give the Jews extraordinary blessings of peace, wisdom, growth, and the privilege of having God as their king and the head over the entire world. If they remain faithful to Him, God promises to remove all idolatry from among them. The Ark of the Covenant will be replaced by the physical presence of God.
19-20 Despite all the good wishes on the Northern Kingdom, because they have divorced Him, He cannot count them as His own anymore. God is not willing that any should perish, yet if one chooses to walk away from Him, He will let one go. While God may continue to deal with one trying get one back into a relationship with Him, if one continues to reject Him, then one will have no part in God's inheritance.
21-25 God now prophesies the response of the Northern Kingdom to God's cries. They will cry from the places where they worship false gods saying that they had sinned and that there is no salvation in these false gods. Accepting their sins, they will be filled with shame. Noteworthy is that their sin covers them with confusion. As God is wisdom and truth, seeking after knowledge that does not come from Him ultimately confuses one because it is not filled with the truth of existence.
Thank you for your faithfulness in studying God’s word.
Please comment below to share what you learned from today's lesson.