The Great Divorce
Father, as I come before Your Word, help me to allow You to expose and root out all that is opposed to Your reign in me.
Read Jeremiah 3:6-4:4
 During the reign of King Josiah, the LORD said to me, “Have you seen what faithless Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree and has committed adultery there.  I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister Judah saw it.  I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery.  Because Israel’s immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood.  In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return to me with all her heart, but only in pretense,” declares the LORD.  The LORD said to me, “Faithless Israel is more righteous than unfaithful Judah.  Go, proclaim this message toward the north: “‘Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the LORD, ‘I will frown on you no longer, for I am faithful,’ declares the LORD, ‘I will not be angry forever.  Only acknowledge your guilt- you have rebelled against the LORD your God, you have scattered your favors to foreign gods under every spreading tree, and have not obeyed me,'” declares the LORD.  “Return, faithless people,” declares the LORD, “for I am your husband. I will choose you-one from a town and two from a clan-and bring you to Zion.  Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.  In those days, when your numbers have increased greatly in the land,” declares the LORD, “people will no longer say, ‘The ark of the covenant of the LORD.’ It will never enter their minds or be remembered; it will not be missed, nor will another one be made.  At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne of the LORD, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of the LORD. No longer will they follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts.  In those days the people of Judah will join the people of Israel, and together they will come from a northern land to the land I gave your ancestors as an inheritance.  “I myself said, “‘How gladly would I treat you like my children and give you a pleasant land, the most beautiful inheritance of any nation.’ I thought you would call me ‘Father’ and not turn away from following me.  But like a woman unfaithful to her husband, so you, Israel, have been unfaithful to me,” declares the LORD.  A cry is heard on the barren heights, the weeping and pleading of the people of Israel, because they have perverted their ways and have forgotten the LORD their God.  “Return, faithless people; I will cure you of backsliding.” “Yes, we will come to you, for you are the LORD our God.  Surely the idolatrous commotion on the hills and mountains is a deception; surely in the LORD our God is the salvation of Israel.  From our youth shameful gods have consumed the fruits of our ancestors’ labor- their flocks and herds, their sons and daughters.  Let us lie down in our shame, and let our disgrace cover us. We have sinned against the LORD our God, both we and our ancestors; from our youth till this day we have not obeyed the LORD our God.”  “If you, Israel, will return, then return to me,” declares the LORD. “If you put your detestable idols out of my sight and no longer go astray,  and if in a truthful, just and righteous way you swear, ‘As surely as the LORD lives,’ then the nations will invoke blessings by him and in him they will boast.”  This is what the LORD says to the people of Judah and to Jerusalem: “Break up your unplowed ground and do not sow among thorns.  Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, circumcise your hearts, you people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, or my wrath will flare up and burn like fire because of the evil you have done- burn with no one to quench it. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWho or what is on the throne of your life?
The theme of spiritual unfaithfulness continues. Idolatry is equated with spiritual adultery. Idolatry occurs whenever we seek our security or place our trust in anything other than God. It can take many forms: possessions we own or would like to own; personalities we admire; money in the bank; past achievements or future ambitions. Through Jeremiah, God repeatedly pleads with his faithless people to return (3:12,14,22; 4:1) and be cured of their backsliding. If not, Judah is threatened with a similar fate to the one that befell her northern sister Israel only a century earlier. In 930 BC, the nation was divided in two: Israel (or Samaria) to the north and Judah to the south. Because of its idolatry, in 722 BC God allowed Israel to be overthrown by the then mighty Assyrian Empire. A century on and Judah is in the same position. They have learned nothing from history. But for Judah there is hope. If they turn back to God, there is promise of restoration even at this late stage (3:15-18).
Consider your calendar and your checkbook. What story do they tell as far as what you are serving? Journal thoughts.
You are Lord. In every thought, in every decision, in every interaction, may it be evidence that You are my only God.
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