I always find myself amazed at the perseverance of God who declared, “I solemnly warned your fathers when I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, warning them persistently, even to this day, saying, ‘Obey my voice’” (11:7). But the people would not return to the Lord and, so, 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. But still God offers: if they will obey him, “then there shall enter by the gates of this city kings and princes who sit on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their officials, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And this city shall be inhabited forever” (17:25).
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!
Guide me, O my great Redeemer,
pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but you are mighty;
hold me with your powerful hand.
Bread of heaven, bread of heaven,
feed me now and evermore,
feed me now and evermore. – William Williams (1745)