“Perhaps they will listen and everyone will turn from his evil way, that I may repent of the calamity which I am planning to do to them because of the evil of their deeds,” (26:3).
No one would argue, Jeremiah is one tough book. The repeated messages of coming destruction weigh heavy on our finite understanding of our God Who Is Love and Grace and Mercy, while ever reinforcing His Holiness, Righteousness, Justice and Judgment.
But if I had any doubt about His heart behind His barrage of warnings of wrath, today put any and all uncertainty to rest. And while today, there are His warnings of judgment, and while there is attention given to the murderous plot by the religious leaders to silence His prophet’s voice of doom, I was more than happy to fixate on the heart of Him Who Reciprocates Our Repentance.
Reciprocate: “to return or respond in kind or degree” collinsdictionary.com.
Today we read of turning, of changing, of repenting. If we turn to Him, if we change our direction, if we repent, He will respond in kind.
And as we tune our hearts to listen, we will hear His heart through Jeremiah, commanded to leave nothing out as he speaks to those who have come the Lord’s house, not to bow before Him in spirit and in truth, but who come thinking that the performance of religious rituals are somehow acceptable worship to Holy God.
In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came from the Lord, saying, 2 “Thus says the Lord, ‘Stand in the court of the Lord’s house, and speak to all the cities of Judah who have come to worship in the Lord’s house all the words that I have commanded you to speak to them. Do not omit a word!’” (26:1-2).
As we listen, we will hear His heart yearning to turn away from sending the calamity and wrath they had earned.
“Perhaps they will listen and everyone will turn from his evil way, that I may repent of the calamity which I am planning to do to them because of the evil of their deed,” (26:3).
And as we listen, we will hear His heart of longsuffering in the lengths to which He went, sending His Word again and again that He might rescue a people who would not listen, rejecting Him again and again.
“And you will say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord, “If you will not listen to Me, to walk in My law which I have set before you, 5 to listen to the words of My servants the prophets, whom I have been sending to you again and again, but you have not listened,”’” (26:4-5).
But if only they would listen and hear His heart, if only they would turn from their evil ways and turn to Him Who Reciprocates Our Repentance.
Consider Him Who Reciprocates Our Repentance
- He Reciprocates Our Repentance: He turns away His judgment as we turn away from evil.
- “Perhaps they will listen and everyone will turn from his evil way, that I may repent of the calamity which I am planning to do to them because of the evil of their deeds,” (26:13).
- He Reciprocates Our Repentance: He changes His mind as we change our ways to obey His voice
- Now therefore amend your ways and your deeds and obey the voice of the Lord your God; and the Lord will change His mind about the misfortune which He has pronounced against you. (26:13).
- He Reciprocates Our Repentance: He turns His face to hear from heaven as we turn to Him in humility and seek His face.
- “and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land,” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
- He Reciprocates Our Repentance: He returns to us as we return to Him.
- “Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Return to Me,” declares the Lord of hosts, “that I may return to you,” says the Lord of hosts,’” (Zechariah 1:3).
- He Reciprocates Our Repentance: He will turn and draw near to us as we turn and draw near to Him.
- Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded, (James 4:8).
- He Reciprocates Our Repentance: He will turn to us with His cleansing forgiveness as we turn to Him in earnest confession.
- 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).
How do we respond to Him Who Reciprocates Our Repentance?
He Is Almighty God, and He could command, He could demand, He could force our obedience. But He desires that we love and serve Him with our free will and whole heart, not under compulsion.
He Is Almighty God, and He chooses to respond to us. That should knock the breath right out of us. And He responds in kind to Reciprocate Our Repentance.
So, what are we waiting for? Let’s repent, of everything, of anything that turns us away from seeking Him with all that we are.
Let us ask Him to turn our eyes away from empty pursuits and turn our eyes to His Holy Word that we would turn to walk in holy reverence with Him Who Reciprocates Our Repentance.
Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity,
And revive me in Your ways.
38 Establish Your word to Your servant,
As that which produces reverence for You, (Psalm 119:37-38).