IBS March 6, 2017
‘“Thus says the LORD: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Pay attention to the sound of the trumpet!’ But they said, ‘We will not pay attention.’ Therefore hear, O nations, and know, O congregation, what will happen to them.”’
Though this point in time in the book of Jeremiah took place a long time ago in history, yet how often have I, too, treated the Lord this way? How often has the Lord spoken to me saying, “My daughter, walk in the good way; follow My precepts,” and have not done so but have willingly said, “I will not walk in it?” The Lord gave His people over and over to make it right with Him, yet their return never seemed to last, and only cried out when they were in need or in great trouble. They also often wavered in their return to the Lord and repeatedly returned to their old ways, willingly disobeying the Lord. Yet, in Jeremiah 3:12b-13 we hear the Lord say,
“Return, faithless Israel, declares the LORD. I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful, declares the LORD. I will not be angry forever. Only acknowledge your guilt, that you rebelled against the LORD your God and scattered your favors among foreigners under every green tree, and that you have not obeyed my voice, declares the LORD.”
The Lord truly desired the return of His people, and indeed was grieved by their sin. Their sin was what separated them from God. The Lord could have nothing to do with sin and therefore had to punish the Israelites. It’s not that He longed to do so, but it’s because He is a good and just God that can have nothing to do with sin. And because Jerusalem refused to repent, the Lord brought judgement upon the people. A price had to be paid. . .did the Lord still love His people? Yes. Did He still desire for their return? Absolutely. But because of the hardened hearts and the lack of repentance of the people, the Lord had no choice. Praise be to God Almighty that it is no longer like that today! We all now have a way to return to the Lord always, through our Savior, Jesus Christ. He paid the price for my sin’s debt when He hung on the cross. He carried the weight of the world’s sin upon His shoulders until He took that last breath on the cross. The nails I once held that I willingly took in my hands to nail Jesus to the cross, He took from me with His forgiveness and replaced them with His loving hands and open arms.
Today, I am truly grateful for the forgiveness Jesus has given me, and as I look back on God’s people and their ways, I am reminded that even on the days that I have acted just like they did in Jeremiah 6:16-18, when I confess my sins to Jesus and come back to the foot of the cross, He is faithful and just to forgive me my sins. ALWAYS. What an amazing gift this is; what a life of freedom I truly live!
Thank You, Jesus, for paying my debt and setting me free. Thank you for never giving up on this child when I had already given up on me.
“For God so love the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”