Jeremiah 3 … Consider Him Who Is Gracious to the Faithless

“Go and proclaim these words toward the north and say,
‘Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the
Lord;
‘I will not look upon you in anger.
For I am gracious,’ declares the Lord;
‘I will not be angry forever,’”
(3:12).

The Lord confronts His unfaithful people in their idolatry that He likens to adultery, painting the picture of their brazen deception as that of the cheating wife. And it is almost as though we can hear Him ask, “What did you expect?”

God says, “If a husband divorces his wife
And she goes from him
And belongs to another man,
Will he still return to her?
(3:1).

What did they expect? That they could forsake Him and break their covenant vows and expect Him to be at their beck and call when the need arose? And did the southern kingdom of Judah expect He would deal with them any differently than He had with the northern kingdom Israel?

Seven times God refers to the faithlessness of His people. Seven times, He reminds them of what they had become, Faithless. The northern kingdom of Israel had already been taken captive by the Assyrians due to their rampant apostacy. And God had expected Judah to learn, to take warning and return to Him. But instead, they exceeded the treacherous infidelity of Israel, polluting their entire land with their adulterous idolatry

Then the Lord said to me in the days of Josiah the king, “Have you seen what faithless Israel did? She went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and she was a harlot there. I thought, ‘After she has done all these things she will return to Me’; but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear; but she went and was a harlot also. Because of the lightness of her harlotry, she polluted the land and committed adultery with stones and trees. 10 Yet in spite of all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to Me with all her heart, but rather in deception,” declares the Lord, (3:6-10).

And once again, I needed the reminder: while we should learn from the failings of others, our greatest deterrent to sin is to turn our eyes and hearts to Him and to seek Him with all our heart.

And today,  should both knock us to our knees and raise us to stand in His Truth as we consider Him Who Is Gracious to the Faithless.

Consider Him Who Is Gracious to the Faithless

  • He Is Gracious to the Faithless, demonstrated in His invitation to return to Him, and in His willingness to turn away from His anger.
    • And the Lord said to me, “Faithless Israel has proved herself more righteous than treacherous Judah. 12 “Go and proclaim these words toward the north and say,
      ‘Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the Lord;
      ‘I will not look upon you in anger.
      For I am gracious,’ declares the Lord;
      ‘I will not be angry forever,’”
      (3:12).
  • He Is Gracious to the Faithless, demonstrated as He became flesh.
    • And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth… 16 For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace, (John 1:14, 16).
  • He Is Gracious to the Faithless, demonstrated in His gospel.
    • But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God, (Acts 20:24).
  • He Is Gracious to the Faithless, demonstrated in His justifying redemption.
    • being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, (Romans 3:24).
  • He Is Gracious to the Faithless, demonstrated in His sacrificial love.
    • But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, (Romans 5:8).
  • He Is Gracious to the Faithless, demonstrated as He became poor that we might become rich.
    • For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich, (2 Corinthians 8:9).
  • He Is Gracious to the Faithless, demonstrated in His gift of saving faith.
    • For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast, (Ephesians 2:8-9).
  • He Is Gracious to the Faithless, demonstrated in His eternal purpose.
    • who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, (2 Timothy 1:9).
  • He Is Gracious to the Faithless for He cannot deny Himself.
    • If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself, (2 Timothy 2:13).

How do we respond to Him Who Is Gracious to the Faithless?

The truth be told, if we are living in rebellion and disobedience, we should expect His wrath. But if we have placed our faith in Jesus Christ, we can expect Him to be Gracious, even though we are completely undeserving, and even when we fail. Because it is His Gift of Grace received by faith, and not our own works, that brings His salvation.

For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, (1 Thessalonians 5:9).

And, oh the lengths He went to; oh, the riches of His grace that extends His forgiveness and redemption.

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, (Ephesians 1:7).

And we should never get over His Grace so undeserved as to send salvation to the Faithless. But let us also remember, His Grace is not just His Gracious Gift given for salvation. We are in need of His Grace every day; for not a day passes that we don’t somehow cheat on our first love and demonstrate faithlessness in our thoughts, words or deeds. Our flesh is always at war with our spirit.

I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. 22 For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, 23 but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:21-25).

Oh, but thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! He has promised to pour out His Grace when we do as He directs, and acknowledge our iniquities and transgressions, when we confess our tendencies to go after and gratify the flesh in persistent disobedience.

“‘Only acknowledge your iniquity,
That you have transgressed against the Lord your God
And have scattered your favors to the strangers under every green tree,
And you have not obeyed My voice,’ declares the Lord,”
(3:13).

Oh, that we would be knocked to our knees to return to Him in humility, willing to confess our sins as we bow before Him as the Lord of our lives.

“‘Return, O faithless sons,’ declares the Lord;
‘For I am a master to you,
And I will take you one from a city and two from a family,
And I will bring you to Zion,’”
(3:14).

And as we return in humble repentance to Him Who Is Gracious to the Faithless, we can stand in the Truth of His promises to heal our Faithlessness and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

A voice is heard on the bare heights,
The weeping and the supplications of the sons of Israel;
Because they have perverted their way,
They have forgotten the Lord their God.
22 “Return, O faithless sons,
I will heal your faithlessness.”
“Behold, we come to You;
For You are the Lord our God,”
(3:21-22).

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, (1 John 1:9).

Let’s Grow Together!

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