Jeremiah 2:1 – 3:5

Aptly, the NIV version titles this passage: "Israel forsakes God."

Jer 2:11 No other nation has ever changed its gods, even though they were not real. But my people have exchanged me, the God who has brought them honor, for gods that can do nothing for them. (Yet, my people have exchanged their Glory for something that doesn't help them. GW)

Jer 2:17 Israel, you brought this on yourself ! You deserted me, the LORD your God, while I was leading you along the way.

Jer 2:22 Even if you washed with the strongest soap, I would still see the stain of your guilt.

Jer 2:25 Israel, don't wear your feet out, or let your throat become dry from chasing after other gods. But you say, 'No! I can't turn back. I have loved foreign gods and will go after them.' "

Jer 2:27 You will all be disgraced-you that say that a tree is your father and that a rock is your mother. This will happen because you turned away from me instead of turning to me. But when you are in trouble, you ask me to come and save you.

Jer 2:29 What is your complaint? Why have you rebelled against me?

Jer 2:30 I punished you, but it did no good; you would not let me correct you. Like a raging lion, you have murdered your prophets.

Jer 2:31 People of Israel, listen to what I am saying. Have I been like a desert to you, like a dark and dangerous land? Why, then, do you say that you will do as you please, that you will never come back to me?

Jer 3:4 "And now you say to me, 'You are my father, and you have loved me ever since I was a child.

Jer 3:5 You won't always be angry; you won't be mad at me forever.' Israel, that is what you said, but you did all the evil you could."

(GNB)

Jer 3:4 You call me your father or your long-lost friend;

Jer 3:5 you beg me to stop being angry, but you won't stop sinning.

(CEV)

What was:

Verses 1 – 3 begins with the image of Israel as a new bride, deeply in love. She followed God even through the desert, and was His sacred possession, protected by God.

What is:

God states His case against Israel from verses 5 - 11. He asks what made them turn away, pointing out that even His priests do not know Him. And then He ends with a painfully impacting verse. CEV puts it thus: "You will find that no nation has ever abandoned its gods even though they were false. I am the true and glorious God, but you have rejected me to worship idols."

What will be:

Enumerating the sins of Israel, God describes them as 1) turning away from Him 2) digging cracked cisterns that hold no water. Barnes has this to say about verse 13: "The pagan are guilty of but one sin - idolatry; the covenant-people commit two - they abandon the true God; they serve idols." This leads to punishment – the image of Israel hunted by enemies and in trouble.

In verse 25, Israel claims that they can't turn back – they're too far gone, they love their idols too much. But when trouble hits too badly, they ask to be rescued. God turns it back on them saying that they've brought it on themselves by turning away from Him.

Jer 2:29 The LORD said to Israel: You accuse me of not saving you, but I say you have rebelled

God's disappointment is shown in verses 1 – 5 of chapter 3.

I guess what makes this passage impactful is the horrid way it somehow relates to my spiritual life sometimes. You start off with powerful longings for Him, resolving to follow Him no matter what and then somewhere along the way you get distracted.

Distracted? Yes, distracted. Distracted by studies, worries, relationships, internet, books, friends, TV and everything else. And yet still claim to know Him and to be His child. Has it ever troubled you that while it takes so long and hard to convert a non-Christian, there are many, many Christians who have somehow gotten lost on the way?

They say that those who know will have extra responsibility. To those who know but turn away, will the punishment be harder. And the covenant-people have done just that – they've abandoned the true God and served idols. Only now, our idols could be our results, our own pride, our TV, money, our computers. Oh surely we don't bow down to them and pray "oh my computer, thou great and wonderful computer, how great is your name," but we spend more time on it than on God. (Look who's talking?)

And God starts calling, and calling and calling, "won't you come back? You're going the wrong way!"

If we respond like Israel and say that we can't or denying our sin, He won't help when trouble hits. No matter how hard you say that you need Him now and claim His love, He won't. Because He knows your heart and knows that you'll only turn away as soon as He's done rescuing you.

But we've got to turn back before the trouble hits. With sincere hearts. In the good times and the bad.

"Then you have the nerve to call out, 'My father! You took care of me when I was a child. Why not now? Are you going to keep up your anger nonstop?' That's your line. Meanwhile you keep sinning nonstop."

Man, I would hate for God to say that to me!