I always find myself amazed at the perseverance of God. Chapter after chapter, the bad news keeps coming. God has turned against his people because of their treacheries. Jeremiah himself will suffer at the hands of the people because of his preaching against their sins. Lying prophets. Famine, sword, pestilence, and death. Still God offers, “But if you listen to me, declares the Lord, and bring in no burden by the gates of this city on the Sabbath day, but keep the Sabbath day holy and do no work on it, then there shall enter by the gates of this city kings and princes who sit on the throne of David . . . and this city shall be inhabited forever” (17:24,25). This is not a mere legalism, i.e., “Do no work on the Sabbath, and everything will be hunky dory.” Rather, the Lord calls out once more, and simply invites his people to obey him and to honor him, to turn away from their pagan ways, and to live rightly. He will receive them back graciously and forgive their sins. The Lord offers and offers and offers. Israel refuses and refuses and refuses. How hard is the heart hardened by sin! But still, the Lord calls out. He is a gracious Lord!
If you but trust in God to guide you
and place your confidence in him,
you’ll find him always there beside you
to give you hope and strength within;
for those who trust God’s changeless love
build on the rock that will not move. --Georg Neumark (1641)