In Chapter 15, God’s pronunciations of doom on Israel continue. It appears that he has had enough:
“You have rejected me, declares the Lord; you keep going backward…” (15:6a, ESV).
Jeremiah, who has dedicated his life to trying to bring Israel back to God, tries to plead based on his own personal faith and dedication to God:
“Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a delight and the joy of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord of hosts” (15:16).
God surely gets discouraged because of us, but his never-ending love never stops. All he longs for is sincere repentance, that is, turning away from going backward:
“If you return, I will restore you, and you shall stand before me. If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall be as my mouth…” (15:19).
Putting these two scriptures together, our prayer of repentance could be, “O Lord, I want to turn away from that which you see as going backward. Like Jeremiah, please grow me until I am called by your name, a man or woman of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!”
In Chapters 16 and 17, we get answers to the age-old question of why God allows judgment to rain down on “innocent” people:
“Why has the Lord pronounced all this great evil against us? What is our iniquity? What is the sin that we have committed…” (16:10)?
No one is innocent, not one:
“…because you have done worse than your fathers, for behold, every one of you follows his stubborn, evil will, refusing to listen to me…” (16:12).
Once again in Chapter 17, God goes to extreme effort to define what disunity looks like to him:
- Exposing our children and grandchildren to our false gods, which are anything that distract us from or keep us from worshiping God (17:2);
- Not teaching intensely the heritage of the Bible’s history and that of the church, both good and bad (17:4);
- Trusting in sinful humans rather than God (17:5a);
- Making flesh our strength, which turns our hearts away from God (17:5b);
- A deceitful heart that hides from God (17:9);
- Getting rich through injustice, which leaves one as a fool (17:11);
- Forsaking God and turning away, thus being put to shame (17:12);
- Accusing God of not speaking his word, which is right before our face (17:15);
- Refusing to listen to God and stiffening our necks to intentionally ignore (17:23);
- Not keeping the Sabbath day holy (17:27)
- Totally trusting the Lord with everything (17:7);
- Inviting God to search the heart and test the mind (17:10);
- Constant prayer for healing, praise and salvation (17:14).
At the beginning of this blog, God declares in 15:6a that we reject him and keep going backward, yet his never-ending love awaits us. But does he ever get tired of us?
The second half of verse 15:6 tells us that there may be a limit:
“…I am weary of relenting.”
There certainly was a limit for ancient Israel which brought brutal judgment.
Yet God never gives up:
“I have not run away from being your shepherd, nor have I desired the day of sickness. You know what came out of my lips; it was before your face” (17:16).
If we need to ask, “Where is God?,” his answer is, “I am right in your face – listen to me!”
God never has and never will take a sick day.