5 March 2006, Sunday

Jeremiah 13

These shorts were tight around your waist, and that's how tightly I held onto the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. I wanted them to be my people. I wanted to make them famous, so that other nations would praise and honor me, but they refused to obey me.

Jeremiah 13:11

Sometimes you read the Bible and can almost feel God's frustration.

I wanted them to be My people. I wanted to make them famous! But they refused to obey Me. What else can I do with them? I've pleaded, begged, warned, chastised, punished, called. Even in the midst of My anger, I've told them again and again, come back. I don't care how bad you've been – I love you. If you come back to Me, I'll forgive you.

Can you ever change and do what's right? Can people change the color of their skin, or can a leopard remove its spots? If so, then maybe you can change and learn to do right. I will scatter you, just as the desert wind blows husks from grain tossed in the air. I won't change my mind. I, the LORD, have spoken. You rejected me and worshiped false gods. You were married to me, but you were unfaithful. You even became a prostitute by worshiping disgusting gods on hilltops and in fields. So I'll rip off your clothes and leave you naked and ashamed for everyone to see. You are doomed! Will you ever be worthy to worship me again?

Jeremiah 13:23 – 27

Different versions echo that last line in different ways:

"Unhappy are you, O Jerusalem, you have no desire to be made clean; how long will you be in turning back to me?"

"When will you ever be pure?"

"Will you ever be clean?"

"Will you not be made clean? How long will it still be?"

Maybe subconsciously, the thing I like about the book of Jeremiah is the fact that it deals with a people who are of a wavering faith. And each time, even through the warnings, there's this constant cry of the Father saying, "Come back to Me and I will make you whole."

Even the way it says "will you ever be worthy to worship me again?" doesn't really convey a message of disgust, or giving up – but more of a sigh of longing.

We love God because He loved us first, and showed His grace, mercy and faithfulness. And even when we are unfaithful, He remains faithful to draw us back to Him.

He holds on to us as tightly as your shorts cling to your body, baggy-jeans fashion disregarded.

He'll continue knocking at your door, but he's too gentlemanly to break the door down, if you shut it in His face.