Verse 1 – “They say, “If a man divorces his wife, and she goes from him and becomes another man’s, may he return to her again?’ Would not that land be greatly polluted? But you have played the harlot with many lovers; yet return to Me,” says the Lord.
Would the land become polluted, refers to the divorce law in Deuteronomy 24:1-4, where it is not allowed for marrying an ex-wife if she has been married and divorced to another, infidelities with false gods.
Verse 2 – “Lift up your eyes to the desolate heights and see: Where have you not lain with men? By the road you have sat for them like an Arabian in the wilderness; and you have polluted the land with your harlotries and your wickedness.
Judah had divorced God and ran as a nation after other gods.
Verse 3 – Therefore the showers have been withheld, and there has been no latter rain. You have had a harlots forehead; you refuse to be ashamed.
The false god, Baal, was thought to be the god of rain, whom Judah had worshiped. God showed them who controlled the rain by withholding it for their crops.
Verse 4 – Will you not from this time cry to Me, ‘My Father, You are the guide of my youth?
Verse 5 – Will He remain angry forever? Will He keep it to the end? Behold, you have spoken and done evil things, as you were able.”
Judah still acted as if everything with God was alright. They minimized their sin. Whenever excuses are made for sin, then they would continue in it.
Verse 6 – The Lord said also to me in the days of Josiah the king: “Have you seen what back-sliding Israel has done? She has gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there played the harlot.
The northern kingdom, Israel, had fallen into captivity by the Assyrians. This should have caused Judah to pay closer attention, but they didn’t.
Verse 7 – “And I said, after she had done all these things, “Return to Me.’ But she did not return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it.
Verse 8 – “Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also.
Verse 9 – “So it came to pass, through her casual harlotry, that she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and trees.
Verse 10 – “And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah has not turned to Me with her whole heart, but in pretense,” says the Lord.
Verse 11 – Then the Lord said to me, “Backsliding Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah.
Verse 12 – “Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say: Return backsliding Israel,’ says the Lord, “And I will not cause My anger to fall on you; for I am merciful,’ says the Lord, ‘And I will not remain angry forever.
Verse 13 – Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have transgressed against the Lord your God, and have scattered your charms to alien deities under every green tree, and you have not obeyed My voice,’ says the Lord.
Israel was not even trying to look as if they were obeying God, but Judah gave the appearance of a right heart. Judah’s repentance was false repentance. To sorrow without change is without a sincere heart. True repentance demands a change.
Verse 14 – “Return, O backsliding children,” says the Lord; “for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.
Verse 15 – “And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.
God promised to give His people leaders after His own heart, who would follow Him with wisdom and understanding if only they would repent.
Verse 16 – “Then it shall come to pass, when you are multiplied and increased in the land in those days,” says the Lord, “that they will say no more, ‘The ark of the covenant of the Lord.’ It shall not come to mind, nor shall they remember it, nor shall they visit it, nor shall it be made anymore.
Verse 17 – “At that time Jerusalem shall be called The Throne of the Lord, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem; they shall walk no more after stubbornness of their evil heart.
Verse 18 – “In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given as an inheritance to your fathers.
Verse 19 – “But I said: “How can I put you among the children and give you a pleasant land, a beautiful heritage of the hosts of nations?’ “and I said: ‘You shall call Me, “My Father,” and not turn away from Me.’
These verses are talking about the Millennial reign of Christ when He rules the earth for a thousand years.
Verse 20 – Surely, as a wife treacherously departs from her husband, so have you dealt treacherously with Me, O house of Israel, says the Lord.
Verse 21 – A voice was heard on the desolate heights, weeping and supplications of the children of Israel; for they have perverted their way, and they have forgotten the Lord their God.
Verse 22 – “Return, you backsliding children and I will heal your backsliding.” “Indeed we do come to You, for You are the Lord God.
Jeremiah predicted a day when the nation would be reunited, true worship would be reinstated, and sin would be seen for what it truly is.
People act as though they haven’t a clue to the devastating sins they entangle themselves in. All sin has devastating consequences.
Verse 23 – Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains; truly, in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel
Verse 24 – For shame has devoured the labor of our fathers from our youth – their flocks of their herds, their sons and their daughters.
Verse 25 – We lie down in our shame, and our reproach covers us. For we have sinned against the Lord our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even to this day, and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God.”
Restoration comes after true repentance!