“Jeremiah . . . to whom the word of the Lord came” (1:1,2). It’s good that God has spoken and that his words have been written down for our benefit. The Lord spoke to the people of Jerusalem: “I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown. Israel was holy to the Lord, the firstfruits of his harvest” (2:2,3). And then, he asked, “What wrong did your fathers find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthlessness and became worthless?” (2:5) And, “Has a nation changed its gods? But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit” (2:11).
Nationally, there were times that Israel seemed quite devoted to God, but they would so quickly depart from him. What God wanted from his people was a continuing devotion. Personally, we sometimes tend to “take time off for awhile” from God. And this can happen in different ways. We can become lukewarm and indifferent for a season. We can reason about this or that sin, “Well, just this one time. No problem.” Or we might think, “Tomorrow, or next year, I’ll finally get around to real faithfulness.”
Even if our treachery is not as great as was Israel’s idolatry, it is treachery, nonetheless, when we turn away from God for our own sinful purposes. How amazing that we have a God who speaks to us thusly: “Return, faithless Israel . . . I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful . . . I will not be angry forever” (3:11).
Almighty grace, thy healing power,
How glorious, how Divine!
That can to bliss and life restore
So vile a heart as mine.
Thy pardoning love, so free, so sweet,
Dear Savior, I adore;
O keep me at Thy sacred feet
And let me rove no more. -- Anne Steele (18th century)