For the past few weeks, I have been studying the book of Jeremiah, and not only is it a historical book that recounts the fall, redemption and love for Israel, but it is a book that mirrors us, our sin and our need for God.
Context of the Book of Jeremiah
The book of Jeremiah is a book filled with prophecies given to Jeremiah, written down by his scribe, Baruch. Jeremiah was born in 640 BC at the beginning of King Josiah’s reign in Judah, and he received his calling in 626 BC, at the age of 18 as many biblical scholars say (others say 20), and in all honesty, this was a tricky time for one to be a prophet of God.
Why, you may ask?
This is because Israel wasn’t exactly your ideal audience. We see throughout Israel’s history that whenever they turned from God, and God, in His love and mercy, sent a man to call the Israelites back to Him, they wouldn’t listen. They were very quick to defend themselves and their sin [does this sound familiar? We live in a time where people, especially believers, once rebuked or corrected regarding their sin, are quick to defend themselves or shut down the rebuke using the well-known scripture of ‘Do not judge’ or that ‘Everyone should do what they do because God knows their heart‘].
And if the Israelites did listen, it wasn’t true repentance but merely lip-service because after a while, they would turn back to their old ways, starting their cycle of sin all over again [we see this throughout the book of Judges].
Israel was God’s chosen people – a nation set apart by God and for God, and whom God had intended to have a relationship with but they chose not to, over and over again – they chose not to be in relationship with God by disobeying him and rebelling against Him.
They began to follow other gods (Baal, Asherah etc.) and erected altars & places of worship for these gods, some of them in God’s Holy Temple where they worshipped these other gods alongside YHWEH (Yahweh), a major mockery to God. Through the week they would sin against God, and on the sabbath, go and ‘worship’ God, presenting sacrifices of atonement to God, then resume sinning at the beginning of the week!
And God, being the amazing, gracious, loving God that he is, kept sending prophets to Israel, one after the other, to tell Israel to turn back to Him. And Jeremiah, one of the many prophets, was an awakening voice, pointing out the sins of God’s people, presenting it to them and telling them to repent; to return back to their Father and be faithful to Him.
This voice displayed in this prophetic book is relevant to us today. Why?
Because we are continually falling short of God’s glory.
We are continually falling short of God’s Glory.
We are no better than the Israelites.
We may read their story accounted for in the different historical books of the Bible; a story of back and forth with God, and we may look at them and think, “What is wrong with you?!!”
But beloved, they are us. We are them.
We are continually sinning and falling short of God’s glory. We give into the sinful desires of our flesh and dishonor God with the things we think, say, watch or do.
We are no different. We are in need of a savior – each and every one of us is need of a savior.
And glory to God, that Jesus came and paid the price for our sin over 2000 years ago, redeeming us and bringing us into a new covenant; a personal relationship, prophesied by Jeremiah in Jeremiah 33.
Today, let us step into that redemption.
Let us turn from our sin, in true, earnest confession and repentance, dying to our old ways and to our sinful nature, receiving the salvation purchased for us by the precious blood of Jesus Christ and be restored back to Him as His own. And once we do, let us begin to walk with the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to continually prune us and sanctify us, so that we may bear fruit and begin to look like Christ.
Let us not be drawn away by the desires of the flesh (Romans 6:12 AMP – Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts and passions); let us become rooted in God and in His word, denying ourselves and allowing the Holy Spirit to work on us.
Romans 6:13b-14 AMP
“…But offer yourselves to God [in a decisive act] as those alive [raised] from the dead [to a new life], and your members [all of your abilities—sanctified, set apart] as instruments of righteousness [yielded] to God. 14 For sin will no longer be a master over you, since you are not under Law [as slaves], but under [unmerited] grace [as recipients of God’s favor and mercy].”