Bible Reading: Jeremiah 3:1-18
“If a man divorces his wife and she goes from him and becomes another man’s wife, will he return to her? Would not that land be greatly polluted? You have played the whore with many lovers; and would you return to me? declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 3:1)
Imagine a relationship between a man and his wife. Now, the wife decides to sneak out of the house and decides to have an affair with not just one but many men. Her husband finds out and is obviously very mad. The wife then returns home as if nothing had happened. The pair now live day to day in a very cold and on edge relationship. One day, the wife decides she has had enough. She complains to her husband, “why are you so angry and bitter towards me all the time? You’re meant to love me right? You’re my husband”.
How do you think the husband would respond? Is it right for the wife to demand the husband to love her? Is it worthy for the husband to accept his wife back? By no means! The wife had been unfaithful. She was the one who had left her husband for other men, and yet she is still asking to be accepted back into a relationship with her husband. She has no right to ask for that relationship back.
God and His church, which is us, His people, is often depicted as a relationship between a husband and wife. The church is depicted as Christ’s bride. In Jeremiah, God addresses his people who have committed adultery against Him. God makes plain how we, as God’s people, have time and time again forsaken our relationship with God in turn for worthless idols. In Israel’s case, they turned to pagan worship and had idols of trees and stones. In our case, our idols are plenty and abundant. We make anything around us our ‘god’ apart from God Himself.
Yet here is the thing, even though we have rejected God, we take our adultery too lightly. We think we can just come back to God and reconcile with Him. That is not the case. God is a holy God. He cannot accept sinners back just like that. Moreover, on what basis should He accept us who have committed adultery in our relationship with Him?
It is right and just for God to be angry at us. We deserve the heat of His wrath on us. Do we realise the seriousness and depth of our idolatry are before God? Have we ever thought of the real spiritual consequences of our everyday actions that choose other things over honouring God? In reality, we are defiled, shameless prostitutes who give up our dignity and relationship with God to relationships with pride, self, comfort, laziness, friends, games, entertainment, money, sex, the list goes on. We love those things over God, yet we expect God to love us. How selfish and unthoughtful are we?
God shouldn’t offer us forgiveness, but He does. Who can ever understand God’s love? God gives these words to the people of Israel, “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. Return, O faithless children, declares the LORD; for I am your master; I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.”
Will we return and surrender our days to God in faith to Him?
Lord, please forgive me for my idolatry. My heart desires all things apart from You. Please forgive me, have mercy on me. Remember me in the perfect sacrifice of Christ, which cleanses me from all unrighteousness. I have sinned before You and have not obeyed Your voice. Plant in me a new heart that desires to hear Your Word and obey it. You are my master, and I will trust in You who will bring me to Zion. In Jesus’ name, amen.