Wednesday 06 March 2024

Bible Book:

'Return, faithless Israel… I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful.' (v. 12)

Jeremiah 3:11-18 Wednesday 6 March 2024

Psalm 103


This chapter begins with a reference to the idea that a woman divorced from her husband may never remarry him (Deuteronomy 24:1- 4). It goes on to imply that perhaps faithless Israel should, by the same token, never be taken back by God.

Not so, says Jeremiah, and in today’s passage the people of Israel are offered a word of hope and another chance. He says return to the Lord who is merciful (v.12). It is a call to repentance. They have only to acknowledge their infidelity and their former relationship with God will be restored. 

It is not alway easy to stay faithful. A few weeks ago, a minister I know told his congregation that he had given up making New Year resolutions because he never succeeded in keeping them. He did not tell us what those resolutions were, but I thought the admission was a brave one.

God knew that the Israelites could repent of their sins, but the difficulty for them would be in maintaining their faithfulness to God. To help them God would send pastors to give them guidance and support (v. 15).

The people of Israel (also called the northern kingdom), had been carried off into exile with the fall of Samaria a century before (722 BC). If they repented, their restoration would result in a return to Jerusalem, ‘Zion’, (v. 14), and Israel and Judah, (the southern kingdom) would once more become a united nation. 

Jeremiah is optimistic. Surely this is an offer that Israel cannot refuse. The call to repentance will be obeyed. The Ark of the Covenant, supposedly containing the tablets of the Ten Commandments will no longer be needed. It was regarded as a throne for the earthly presence of the invisible God. But now Jerusalem would become the throne of the Lord. These are not the words of a ‘prophet of doom’. 


To Ponder:

  • Have there been times in your life when you have felt especially grateful for being given a second chance?
  • Can you remember occasions when a pastor, not necessarily a professional, (v. 15) helped you by their support, guidance and encouragement?


Thank you Lord, for all your people who have helped me with their support and encouragement. Show me how I too can be a support and encouragement to others. Amen.

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