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Jeremiah Chapter 3
Chapter 2 was taken up with reproofs and threats against the people of God, because of their apostasies from Him, but in this chapter, gracious invitations and encouragements are given them to return and repent, apart from the multitude and greatness of their provocations, which are here specified, to magnify the mercy of God, and to show that as sin abounded, grace did much more abound. Here, (1). It is further shown how evil they had been and how well they deserved to be abandoned, yet God was ready to receive them IF they repented (Jer.3:1-5). (2). Judah’s refusing to repent, and their persisting in sin, are aggravated from the judgments of God upon Israel, which they should have taken warning by (Jer.3:6-11). (3). Great encouragements are given to these vile backsliders to return and repent, and Promises made of great mercy which God had in store for them, and which He would prepare them for by bringing them home to Himself (Jer.3:12-19). (4). The charge was renewed against them for their apostasy from God, and the invitation repeated to return and repent, to which are here added the words that are put in their mouth, which they should make use of in their return to God (Jer.3:20-25).
THEME: Josiah begins reforms in the nation
In Jeremiah's first message (Chapter 2), God has condemned Judah on two counts: they had rejected God, and they have turned to their own gods. The first five verses of chapter 3 will continue on this theme. The messages found in chapters 2 through 6 were given during the first five years of Jeremiah's ministry before the Book of the Law was found. During this time, Josiah, a young man like Jeremiah, was seeking the LORD and starting certain reforms in the nation. Mainly, he was trying to rid Judah of idolatry. The nation had forsaken the living God and had gone over to idolatry. The joint efforts of the young king and the young prophet Jeremiah had a tremendous effect upon the nation.
There are some who say that verses 1-5 belong to the sermon in the Chapter 2, and they open a door of hope to those who receive the conviction of the reproofs we had there. God wounds that He may heal.
Jer. 3:1 They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man's, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the LORD. (KJV)
They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man's, shall he return unto her again? . . . if a woman forsake her husband, and be married to another man, the law will not permit him to receive her again (Deut.24:1-4) . . . yet God would receive them again IF they returned to Him . . . but they chose to stubbornly adhere to their other self-assurances, so they would not prosper. God states His readiness to receive them again IF they repented, even though it is very unusual for husbands so to do, when their wives have proved unfaithful to them.
Shall not that land be greatly polluted? . . . would not so great a sin greatly pollute a state or nation? (Lev.18:27-28). It was polluted by such marriages and by immoral and unrestrained couplings (Deut.24:4).
But thou hast played the harlot with many lovers . . . not just one, as being sufficient to make them an adulteress, but they were like a common whore, joining in fellowship with several associates and companions, or many idols.
Yet return again to me, saith the LORD . . . shall He return to her? Will He take her back? It was unlawful to do so (De 24:1-4).
Judah had sunk to a very low level . . . there was gross immorality in the land. She had played the harlot; yet God asks her to return to Him.
Jer. 3:2 Lift up thine eyes unto the high places, and see where thou hast not been lien with. In the ways hast thou sat for them, as the Arabian in the wilderness; and thou hast polluted the land with thy whoredoms and with thy wickedness. (KJV)
Lift up thine eyes unto the high places, and see where thou hast not been lien with . . . look and consider if I charge you wrongfully. Unto the high places . . . The LORD points out to her the places of her whoredoms and idolatries, called high places, as they were mainly upon hills (2 Ki. 18:4, 22; 21:3;2 Chron.32:12; 34:3), and various other places, although sometimes in valleys (Jer.2:23); which states her boldness, that where whores selected privacy, she would be so filthy in the open. They can barely show a place that had been free from their pollutions (verses 3, 13), where there are not proof of their fornications and idolatries.
In the ways hast thou sat for them, as the Arabian in the wilderness . . . waiting for passengers to allure them (Eze.16:24-25), not being drawn by others' allurements, but their own lascivious lust (Hos. 6:9), properly pointing out the practice of harlots (Pro. 7:11-12).
And thou hast polluted the land with thy whoredoms and with thy wickedness . . . their wickedness; not only their idolatries, but all their other wickednesses.
*****Idolatry is not just making a little idol to worship. ANYTHING that a man gives himself to wholeheartedly is idolatry. The Bible teaches that covetousness is idolatry (Col.3:5) because when a man covets something, he gives his time and energy to it, he is dedicated to it. In these last days we see many people who are dedicated to sin, and the energy they put into sin is remarkable. But dear one, the minute a man turns away from the Living God, he will turn to something else. It will be something he has made, or something that he has lusted after . . . it becomes his god, his idol.
God said that Jeremiah's generation in Judah had gone completely into idolatry, and that there was gross immorality in the land. We must understand how terribly immoral those high places were. A high place was a grove of trees where an idolatrous altar had been built. All kinds of sex orgies and drunken revelries were carried on there. Judah had sunk to a very low level.
The comparison to our own nation today is clear. America has forsaken the living and true God, which is apparent in the moral condition of this country. We see the immorality and hear the blasphemy, corrupt speech, dishonesty, lawlessness and violence are increasing everywhere! Even some young children use very foul language and are extremely violent.
Jer. 3:3 Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whore's forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed. (KJV)
Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain . . . by the LORD, according to His threatening (Lev.26:19; Deut. 28:23-24). He withheld the rain which caused a drought, either as a punishment of their wickedness . . . for public sins bring public judgments . . . or as a worsening of it. There seems to imply that there had been no former nor latter rain, the former for the springing of the corn, the latter for the plumping and ripening it; this coming a little before harvest.
And thou hadst a whore's forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed . . . they still remained bold, rude and stubborn, ashamed of nothing (Jer.6:15) . . . proverbially expressed, because shame does appear first and mostly in the forehead. Thus the Great Whore's boldness is expressed (Rev.17:5).
*****God tells them that He has already begun to judge them by withholding rain. Even today that land is dry. Their greatest need is water . . . even more than oil. They didn't find oil in the Negeb, but they found water, and that is much more precious to them. I believe that when the Jews return to Israel under God’s blessing, they will have all the water they need, because God will supply it.
We can see God's judgment on our own nation in the many national calamities which we have suffered over the past several years. Sadly, it does not seem to wake people up and bring them back to Him.
Jer. 3:4 Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My father, thou art the guide of my youth? (KJV)
Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me . . . because I have withholden showers? Some say this refers: (1). To the time to come (Isa. 9:13; Jer. 8:14) (2). To the time present; how can they challenge the LORD for His present severity, and continuing it to them, when they still retained their filthiness (verse 3). They still continued to worship idols, and yet thought themselves faithful to God. (3). To the time past . . . had they not pretended all along to have kindness to Him, as if they had walked close with Him? (2 Ki.17:32-33; Eze.23:39).
My father, thou art the guide of my youth? . . . either on whom I have depended, as being brought up by Him; or the submissive expression of a wife seeking to be reconciled to her husband, that God would be to her as He had been in the days of her youth (1 Cor. 7:11); or, being married to thee in their youth (Pro. 2:17); which claims great tenderness towards her (verse 2).Thus the tenderness of this relationship is expressed (Mal. 2:14), and so God is said to espouse them to Himself (Eze.16:8).
Jer. 3:5 Will he reserve his anger for ever? will he keep it to the end? Behold, thou hast spoken and done evil things as thou couldest. (KJV)
Will he reserve his anger for ever? will he keep it to the end?. . . the Jews keep the LORD supplied with their sin (Isa. 43:25; Ps.103:9; Nah.1:2). Would God reserve His anger? Would He not be reconciled? But thou hast taken quite another course. Is the LORD teaching His people how they should approach Him? God is far more earnest for reconciliation than sinners themselves.
Behold, thou hast spoken and done evil things as thou couldest . . . God's challenge to the people, charging them either with their stubborn wickedness, that they had made good all their evil words by their evil actions, they had even done as they said with their hypocrisy. Although all their former promises, yet they still persisted in their vile lewdness and obstinacy (Isa.58:2; Hos.7:14).
Charge of Backsliding During the Reign of Josiah (3:6-25)
We come now to the second message of Jeremiah. It begins in verse 6 of chapter 3 and extends all the way through chapter 6. In this message God charges the people with backsliding. The word backsliding is used seven times in this chapter, and that is more than half the number of times in the entire Book of Jeremiah (9 times). In Jeremiah we find this word more often than in the rest of the Bible put together (12 times). He and Hosea (3 times) are the only ones who use it.
Backsliding does not simply mean to slide backwards as we usually think of it. God gives us a vivid picture of what He means by backsliding when He tells us, "For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer..." (Hos. 4:16). Backsliding is refusing to do things God's way, refusing to listen to Him. Dear one, when we set our will against God's will, we will go backwards every time. Anytime we rebel against the LORD and His will, we get farther and farther away from Him. BEWARE!!!
Jer. 3:6 The LORD said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot. (KJV)
The LORD said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king . . . The LORD also said again; showing that here begins a new sermon, in which the prophet from God: (1). States Israel's apostasy, and how it fared with them for it. (2). Worsens Judah's sin for not taking warning. (3). Puts forth an invitation to them both to repent, with a promise of acceptation, and reuniting them under the Messiah. (4). Relays the obedience of the faithful among them with this invitation. Unto me . . . He speaks of things that Israel had done when they were carried away by the king of Assyria (2 Ki. 17:5-13).
Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? . . . the ten tribes that fell off from Judah, and set up a separate kingdom of their own under Jeroboam? What they did in their idolatries is expressed in the next words, and in verse 20, when they openly apostatized from God with one common consent, revealing that all their kings proved wicked and idolatrous; and possibly it may look as far back as Solomon's defection (1 Ki. 11:4).
Jer. 3:7 And I said after she had done all these things, Turn thou unto me. But she returned not. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it. (KJV)
And I said after she had done all these things, Turn thou unto me . . . and repent (Acts 3:190. Even though she had been so vile and abominable, yet the LORD waited in hope of her return.
But she returned not. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it . . . her unfaithful sister Judah: Benjamin is also here included, but Judah being the chief is only named, these two abiding together after the other ten revolted to Jeroboam; called Israel's sister, because they were all descended from the patriarch Jacob (Eze.16:46; 23:2, 4); and disloyal, or the unfaithful one, because of her frequent revolts (2 Chron. 21:6; 24:17-18), and many other times, and after many renewed covenants and promises, both in conjunction with the rest of the tribes (Deut. 5:2-3, 23; 29:10-12), and afterwards (2 Chron. 13:9-10; 15:12; 23:1-21; 16:1-14; 29:10). Saw it . . . they were not strangers to it, but knew it.
Jer. 3:8 And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also. (KJV)
And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away . . . that which others do not see, God saw clearly . . . both her dishonesty, hypocrisy and her persistence even though what had befallen Israel, whose correction should have been her instruction. God speaks of the notice he took (Jer. 23:13-14). Israel is said to be backsliding, but Judah treacherous, because she retained the worship of God, even though she did it often privately and closely embraced idols. Sometimes under Manasseh, Ahaz and other wicked kings, she did it publicly. God had the ground and reason to deal with Israel in regard of her adulteries, as to put her away.
And given her a bill of divorce . . . delivered her into the hands of the Assyrian, where God took from her the title of being His church (2 Ki.17:5-6), which He calls here a bill of divorce.
Yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also . . . was not afraid of offending God, nor feared like punishment. She went and played the harlot also; although she had seen the judgment of God executed upon Israel before her eyes, which made it the more surprising, that she would take no warning by her sister's sufferings (Pro. 28:14), yet she went on still in sin (Eze. 23:11-12).
Jer. 3:9 And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks. (KJV)
And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom . . . some take this verse to be Judah, to whom the end of verse 8 refers, but verse 10 puts Judah in contrast to Israel in this verse. The grossness of their idolatry, their worshipping objects the most degrading, with the most impure rites.
That she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks . . . she defiled the land; brought the whole land under the charge of filthiness.
Jer. 3:10 And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the LORD. (KJV)
And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart . . . although God saw what she did, and although she saw the shameful idolatry of Israel, and what she had suffered, yet she was not warned (verse 8), but fell to idolatry under Manasseh, who undid what Hezekiah had done (2 Chron. 33:3), although under fair pretenses she put on an act with God in the days of Josiah (2 Chron. 34:32-33), as appeared by her sudden revolt, in less than three months after Josiah's death (2 Ki. 23:31-32).
But feignedly, saith the LORD . . . they were lying hypocrites!
Jer. 3:11 And the LORD said unto me, The backsliding Israel hath justified herself more than treacherous Judah. (KJV)
Israel was less vile, had more to say for herself; Judah's sin being more serious compared with Israel (Eze. 16:51; 23:11). Although Israel's sins were more, and their idolatry continued, yet in Judah it was more wicked: (1). Because of their unruly headstrongness, that broke the reins and restraint on their external worship. (2). Because of their stupid security in not being warned by the judgments that they had seen befall Israel for the very same things. (3). Because of their intolerable pride. (4). Because of their gross disloyalty in making promises, then breaking them, which Israel did not, because she did not bring herself under such solemn and frequent obligations (verse 7). (4). Because they were more zealous in their idolatries than Israel was, under Manasseh, when they slew all the prophets of the LORD.
*****God is making it clear that the sin of Judah is worse than the sin of Israel. The northern tribes did not have the same opportunity as the southern tribes. They did not have the Temple nor did they have a copy of the Word of God. Therefore the judgment on Judah was greater. I think that the judgment on us will also be greater.
Jer. 3:12 Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger for ever. (KJV)
Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say . . . set thy face (Jer. 2:2), or feet that way, that they might hear what God saith to Israel. Toward the north, to Assyria and Media, and the regions that lay north of Judea, where the ten tribes were carried by Tiglath-pileser and Shulmaneser (2 Ki. 15:29; 17:6).
Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD, and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you . . . upon condition of returning to their former right worship of God, so that Judah might be awakened, He promised that He will not let His anger fall upon you (Lev. 17:10; Ps. 34:16); for otherwise His anger lays heavy upon them at this time. For God is merciful . . . this is a conditional Promise, taken from the nature of God, that sinners may not despair (Ps. 86:15; 103:8-9).
Jer. 3:13 Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD. (KJV)
Only acknowledge thine iniquity . . . which will be evidence of their repentance, without which thou cannot lay claim to any pardon (Pro. 28:13; Isa. 55:7). Appeals to repentance should always accompany the display of promises. The first step in restoring the broken relationship with God is to confess or admit one's guilt, and then God will forgive (1 Jn.1:8-9)
That thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God . . . Had taught their ways of idolatry to strangers, to other nations (2 Ki.17:4, 9-10; Jer. 2:23, 25; 3:6).
And hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree . . . scattered thy ways (see 2:25). Her infidelity was not limited only to the calves at Bethel, but included the Canaanite idols wherever they might be found (Eze.6:15, 24-25).
And ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD . . . they had not obeyed God; so their sin is not a sin of ignorance, but of pigheadedness, shutting their ears against His counsels, which warnings He had sent to them by His prophets (2 Ki. 17:13).
*****In today’s world the big problem is a lack of confession of sin. Repentance is what lacks in much of the so-called spiritual movement of today. We need to confess our iniquity, and so many do not think they have any! We all are very offensive to God the Father until we accept His only begotten Son (Jn.3:15-18). The Word of God through Jeremiah is "acknowledge thine iniquity," and it is directed to us as well as to Judah.
Jer. 3:14 Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: (KJV)
Turn, O backsliding children; for I am married unto you . . . I am in covenant with you (Deut. 29:1, 10-12), and this covenant, aside from all your unfaithfulness, I am ready to renew it with you (Hos.2:19-20).
And I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion . . . this word family is not always to be taken only for a household; but often for a country or nation (Gen.12:3, 22:18); or for a tribe; and this may partly respect the few of those that will be found penitents and return. God will have a sprinkling in every city, and in every family, or tribe, or country. But mainly it respects God's precise care of them, that being now married to them, there shall not be one in a city, or two in a country or tribe, but He will find them . . . if there be just one or two. Isaiah 27:12 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel. (KJV) . . . He will not overlook any of them.
And I will bring you to Zion . . . to Jerusalem, a type of the church. Bringing them to Zion must be understood, either of joining them to His church under the Messiah, or bringing them again to worship with Judah at Jerusalem (Jer. 31:6). The ten tribes never did return to their own land, so the text must be understood of a spiritual going up to Zion, when all Israel shall be saved (Rom. 11:26). See Isa. 56:7; 66:20; and verse 18 in this chapter. We may look at this part of the prophecy partly to what God was at that time about to do, and partly what he would hereafter do, when they would be again settled in their own land, under the Messiah (Jer. 3:16-19).
Jer. 3:15 And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. (KJV)
And I will give you pastors according to mine heart . . . pastors; either civil magistrates, which are sometimes so called (Mic. 5:5); or rather religious, as appears both from the reason of God's judgments on Israel. Their pastors were usually either thieves or dumb dogs (Isa.56:10). According to mine heart . . . such as I will both choose for you and approve of, and that shall faithfully and skillfully declare unto you my mind; which indicates not only a single act of deliverance, but His constant preservation of them.
Which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding . . . this states either the nature of their food (Neh. 8:8; Mal 2:7), or the manner of their feeding (Ps. 78:72; 1 Pet. 5:2). Jeremiah expects godly leaders (Jer. 2:8; 23:4).
Jer. 3:16 And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more. (KJV)
And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land . . . when ye be multiplied; after the growth of the church under the Messiah.
In those days, saith the LORD . . . pointing to the great work of conversion that would be among them, especially in the days of the Messiah, and how greatly the church would be increased by the addition of the Gentiles (Acts 2:41; 4:4).
They shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD . . . the ark is an expression for all the legal ceremonies, where the ark was a chief part. The whole worship, with all the rites and ceremonies belonging to it, would totally cease, Christ being come, who was the substance of what the ark and all other rites did simply shadow for a time . . . He being now our Propitiatory, instead of the covering of the ark or mercy-seat (Rom. 3:25); Christ now answers all the uses and purposes thereof. In the ark was laid up the manna, Aaron's rod, and the tables of the law (Heb. 9:4). He is now the bread of life (Jn.6:1-71; 21:25), He is our rod of government (Ps. 23:4).
Neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it . . . men shall not trouble their thoughts about it, or mention it (Isa. 65:17); or repair to it as an oracle to receive the answers of God; nor for God's worship.
Neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more . . . neither shall the ark be missed. The ark was never replicated and placed in the later Temples. A future day is predicted when the ark will no longer exist, nor will it be missed. No mention is made of the ark after the exile, and yet God's glory would still be in the Temple (Hag.2:9). This may also anticipate the heavenly Jerusalem. The very Presence of the LORD Himself will eclipse even the sun (Rev.21:2). When and how the ark was lost or destroyed remains unknown. Traditionally its disappearance has been associated with Nebuchadnezzar's plundering of Jerusalem in 586/87 B.C., although the Biblical record is silent on this matter. It has been suggested that it was removed and destroyed during Manasseh's apostasy. In that case, Jeremiah's words would comfort his contemporaries who where saddened by its absence. However, it appears, based on 2 Chron.35:3, that Josiah restored the ark after it had been removed by Manasseh.
Jer. 3:17 At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. (KJV)
At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD . . . Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the LORD; instead of the ark, whereon was the mercy-seat, now the church, typified by Jerusalem (Gal. 4:26; Rev. 21:2), shall be the place of God's Residence, where by His Spirit He will rule and act in His Word and ordinances, and in special the Messiah (verse 16 and Jer.14:21). The New Jerusalem, the universal Church of Christ, shall be God's throne: and there He is acknowledged as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, there God sits on His throne, and holds His court.
And all the nations shall be gathered unto it . . . all the nations shall be gathered to Jerusalem; indicating both their readiness to come in, and their number, according to first prophecy of Jacob (Gen. 49:10; Isa. 2:2).
To the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem . . . dwelling in Jerusalem, or where the LORD placed His Name, where He will be known by His good Name, Isa 60:9, and manifest in the flesh.
Neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart . . . both Jew and Gentile shall now conform themselves to the will of God (Isa. 2:1-22; 3:1-26). The word imagination here comes from a root that means to see, and thus it is sometimes applied to the judgment (Ps.17:2), and sometimes to the affection (Ps. 66:18).
*****Jerusalem means the whole city, not only the Temple that had been the center of the Hebrew worship, but in the last days it will be the point of attraction to the whole earth (Ps.48:1; Isa.2:2-4; 60:11-12; 65:25; 66:20; Mic.4:1-4; Zec.2:10-11; 8:3; 14:16-18; Rev.21:10, 27). Throne of the LORD refers to the Shekinah, the symbol of God's unusual closeness to Israel (Deut.4:7), and that shall be surpassed by God's own Throne in Jerusalem (Ps.2:6, 8; Eze.34:23-24; Zec.2:2, 5). Imagination of their evil heart means the stubborn, hard-hearted people would be broken of their apostate preference. A new heart is predicted in connection with the new covenant (Jer.31:31-34; Eze.11:19; 18:31; 36:24-27). See Shekinah Glory in Special Comments at the end of this Chapter.
Jer. 3:18 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 for an inheritance unto your fathers. (KJV)
In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel . . . in the last days Judah shall walk with Israel; these two kingdoms shall become one that had been divided so long. The hatred that was between them shall be taken away, and they shall walk hand in hand (Am. 3:3). This points to their joining into one body united by the same Spirit, as members of the same body under Christ their Head without difference of nations (Isa.11:12-13; Eze.37:16-17; Gal.3:26-29; Eph. 2:14-16; 3:6).
And they shall come together out of the land of the north . . . out of the north (verse 12).
To the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers . . . the land of Canaan . . . this is both a Promise of their enjoying again their ancient possession and representing the church of Christ, of which they shall be, when brought out of their spiritual captivity.
*****Judah and Israel shall be happily united in one body once again. They were so in their return out of captivity and their settlement again in Canaan. The house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, as being perfectly agreed, and become one stick in the hand of the LORD, as Ezekiel also foretold (Eze.37:16-19). Both Assyria and Chaldea fell into the hands of Cyrus, and his proclamation extended to all the Jews in all his dominions. There is reason to think that many of the house of Israel came with those of Judah out of the land of the north although at first there returned just 42,000 (where we have an account Ezra 2:1-70), but Josephus says (Antiq. 11.68) that a few years after, under Darius, Zerubbabel went and got over 4,000,000 souls, to the land that was given for an inheritance to their fathers. And we never read of such hostilities and ill will between Israel and Judah as had been formerly. This happy reunion between Israel and Judah in Canaan was a type of the uniting of Jews and Gentiles in the Gospel church, when, all enmities being eliminated, they should become one sheepfold under one shepherd. (Eze.34:23; 37:24).
Jer. 3:19 But I said, How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations? and I said, Thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from me. (KJV)
But I said, How shall I put thee among the children . . . how they could think He would bring such a disloyal people as they were into the land which He had promised; or His considering within Himself how or what course He should accomplish it, for they had so badly fallen away from Him (Hos.6:4). This implies that such a thing could NOT be brought about without repentance and true conversion to Him (Eph.1:5-6).
And give thee a pleasant land . . . how shall I put thee into possession of that pleasant land that I have promised thee? Canaan is called the pleasant land (Gen.49:15; Dan.8:9; 11:16, 41; Zec.7:14)
A goodly heritage of the hosts of nations? . . . heritage of glory, or beauty (Isa.4:2). Of the hosts of nations; so called because possessed by several potent nations (Num.13:28; Deut.4:38). It may note the great hosts and multitudes of nations (Gentiles), that should be joined to them in the Gospel church of God's elect, and so a heritage of the greatest delights, or the desire of nations (Hag.2:7), a people to whom all the nations would desire to flock (Eze.20:6), and may be spoken also of the heavenly Canaan.
And I said, Thou shalt call me, My father . . . God now comes to an answer on how He would do it.
And shalt not turn away from me . . . They could NOT continue in the privileges of the heavenly family, unless they stopped turning away from their heavenly Father.
*****In this day of grace, we are called the sons of God. How privileged we are! John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (KJV) also: (Jn.1:12; Rom.8:14, 19; Gal.4:6; Phil.2:15; 1 Jn.3:1; 3:2).
Those who simply believe God (1 Jn.5:10), and accept and trust in His only begotten Son (Jn.3:15-18), become the sons of God. If He your Saviour . . . you are not only a saved sinner, you are a son of God. Do you really know what that means? We have a reserved inheritance waiting for us! 1 Peter 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our LORD Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (KJV)
Jer. 3:20 Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the LORD. (KJV)
Surely as a wife treacherously departeth . . . again Israel is compared to a faithless wife who leaves her husband. The LORD is telling her what she had been, tries to involve her in what she should be, considering her former unfaithfulness in time past, what she should do in the future. 1 Peter 4:3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: (KJV)
Jer. 3:21 A voice was heard upon the high places, weeping and supplications of the children of Israel: for they have perverted their way, and they have forgotten the LORD their God. (KJV)
A voice was heard upon the high places . . . the prophet seems to express Israel's repentance and turning to God; that which they were at present engaging themselves in, delivered in a prophetical style, as that in verse15.
Weeping and supplications of the children of Israel . . . not only out of a sense of their judgments that they were under, but mainly for their sins they were guilty of, and the pardon of which they were now begging for which is indicated by weeping and supplication . . . upon the high places, that their cry might be the more public, both open and loud (Jer. 22:20; Mat. 10:27); possibly referring to the usual practice of praying on the tops of houses in great calamities (Isa. 15:3; 22:1; Jer. 7:29; 1:1-19),
For they have perverted their way, and they have forgotten the LORD their God . . . this expresses the matter of their prayer than the cause of it, drawn mainly from their sins, and also from their calamities.
Jer. 3:22 Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the LORD our God. (KJV)
Return, ye backsliding children . . . repent for your sin and turn from your sin, see verse 12. Here God calls upon them, and tells them to consider where they are going, and to hearken to the voice of his ministers (Hos.14:1; Acts 3:19). God bids them to listen to their messengers, and He will heal their backsliding.
I will heal your backslidings . . . idolatries, unfaithfulness when they turned from Him, and rebelled against Him. I will make all whole again and reconcile you to Myself (Isa.57:18; Jer.32:40; Zec.10:6; 13:8-9). I will not only remove your judgments, but your sins also shall be forgiven. Dear one . . . only GOD can forgive your sins!
Behold, we come unto thee . . . this is their reply to God by way of promise, which they performed under Josiah (2 Ki. 22:1-20; 23:1-37), which with their confession reaches to the end of the chapter.
For thou art the LORD our God . . . words expressing the strongest encouragements, because God has the right to them, is willing to accept them, and is well able to save them (Isa.55:7; Jer.14:22). While the words are what God wants to hear, He wants them to be united with right action (Jer.4:1-4).
Jer. 3:23 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. (KJV)
Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills . . . from their idols in the hills (Jer.2:20), or from any other external power from persons or things, as the strength of hills, or forts, high places, and strong places, and assistance from kings (Hos.14:3).
And from the multitude of mountains . . . the abundance of them that Jerusalem has, or the multitude of vile sacrifices which they offer in the mountains.
Truly in the LORD our God is the salvation of Israel . . . only in the LORD our God is there salvation of Israel, or anyone else! Only in our God is our salvation, NOT in idols of any kind (Ps. 44:7; 130:7-8; Isa. 43:10-11; Hos. 13:4, 9).
Jer. 3:24 For shame hath devoured the labour of our fathers from our youth; their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters. (KJV)
For shame hath devoured the labour of our fathers from our youth . . . Shame; either in general put for sin, which causes shame, for it was sin that brought shame first into the world (Gen.2:25). The idol Baal, called the shameful thing (Jer.11:13; Hos.9:10). They had depended on Baal and other idols (Eze.16:16-21; and also of the heavy judgments that God brought on us for it (Jer.5:17). From our youth . . . referring to the nation, ever since they began to be a people unto God, and followed him in the wilderness (Jer.2:2).
Their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters . . . all these are mentioned to show that they thrived in nothing; but were a blast upon all from God (Hos.9:11; Mal 2:2-3). Idolatrous sacrifices, consumed them all (Am. 4:4-5), the idols not sparing even their children (2 Ki.17:17; 21:6; Ps.106:37; Isa.57:5; Jer.7:31; 32:35; Eze.16:20-21; 20:26; 23:37, 47).
Jer. 3:25 We lie down in our shame, and our confusion covereth us: for we have sinned against the LORD our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even unto this day, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God. (KJV)
We lie down in our shame . . . we are confused and irritated within ourselves; we are a reproach, both to God and man, that we lift up our hands for shame, even we, that had once a whore's forehead (verse 3), but must lie down in our shame; not knowing what to do, throws himself down upon his couch or bed (1 Ki. 21:4).
Our confusion covereth us . . . a symbol of persons restrained in their bed-clothes, as ashamed to be seen (Ps. 44:15).
For we have sinned against the LORD our God . . . true confession wraps up our sins (Ezra 9:7; Neh. 9:33-34; Ps.106:6-7; Jer.14:20), and keeps us from all excuse (2 Ki. 17:41), which gross guilt of theirs in this kind is described (Jer.44:17).
We and our fathers, from our youth even unto this day . . . this sets forth the total unity of their sins, and the continuance of them (Deut. 9:7; 2 Ki.17:34, 41).
*****Judah did not confess their sins. Jeremiah confessed their sins for them and for himself as well. Dear one, it would not be a bad idea for us to have a little confession of sin to the LORD in today’s world, and it would be wonderful too, if we thanked Him for blessings that He bestows on us. We should thank God because He has blessed us. How often have you ever heard a confession that we come short of the glory of God? Have you gone to Him and told Him how far you fall short of His glory? We need to humble ourselves before Him. Judah was NOT humble before God, and God had to send them into captivity to wake them up. With all the natural disasters and violence in today’s world . . . I wonder if maybe the LORD is warning us that He is getting ready to chastise us. We need to be humble before Him.
Proverbs 11:2 When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom. (KJV)
Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. (KJV)
Proverbs 29:23 A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit. (KJV)
What is the Shekinah Glory?
What is Shekinah Glory? Is This In The Bible?
Jesus’s glory as GOD was veiled in human flesh, but at times His Glory, the so-called Shekinah Glory, was revealed. SO what is the Shekinah Glory of God?
What does the word Shekinah mean? It is not in the Bible, so WHY do we need to know what this word means as regarding God’s Glory? The word Shekinah is from the Hebrew word shekinot and it actually is in the Bible where GOD is said to settle in or dwell with. Shekinot means where God is dwelling, settling or where His Divine Presence is. This Glory is seen when God’s glory filled the Temple and even in the wilderness where He was a Light during the night and the Shekinah cloud of His Glory shaded Israel in the scorching sun of the desert.
Exodus 13:21-22 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: 22 He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people. (KJV)
His Presence was revealed by the penetrating Light that filled the Tabernacle, the Temple in Jerusalem and even in the Transfiguration of Jesus on the Mount, where Jesus shone as bright as the sun when He spoke with Moses and Elijah.
Daniel 10:5-6 Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz: 6 His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude. (KJV)
Matthew 17:1-3 And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, 2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. 3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. (KJV)
Acts 9:3-4 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? (KJV)
Revelation 1:14-16 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. 16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. (KJV)
I believe that the whole of Ezekiel Chapter 1, is the Shekinah Glory of God, being revealed to the astounded prophet, so that he could bring it to GOD’S people in Ezekiel’s time and for us today as well.
Jesus’ Transfiguration Glory
Jesus partially revealed His Shekinah Glory on a mountain and allowed Peter, James and John to see this awesome Glory. This is why the Apostle John said that Jesus “dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father” (Jn.1:14); and that Jesus is “the light of men.” John 1:4-7 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. (KJV) . . . Christ Jesus is the very essence and nature of GOD as Light and that is part of His Shekinah Glory which was why John said “we have seen his glory.”
The Transfiguration is where Jesus allowed Peter, James and John to see His Glory in Matthew 17:1-8. It is where Jesus for a very short time, peeled back His humanity to allow the disciples to see the very Shekinah Glory of God. It overwhelmed them just as it does to anyone where GOD reveals His Glory.
Humans become as dead men when they see this awesome Glory of God!
Genesis 17:3 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, (KJV)
Leviticus 9:24 And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces. (KJV)
Ezekiel 1:28 As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake. (KJV)
Ezekiel 3:23 Then I arose, and went forth into the plain: and, behold, the glory of the LORD stood there, as the glory which I saw by the river of Chebar: and I fell on my face. (KJV)
Daniel 8:18 Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground: but he touched me, and set me upright. (KJV)
Daniel 10:8-9 Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength. 9 Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground. (KJV)
Daniel 10:17-19 For how can the servant of this my LORD talk with this my LORD? for as for me, straightway there remained no strength in me, neither is there breath left in me. 18 Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me, 19 And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my LORD speak; for thou hast strengthened me. (KJV)
Habakkuk 3:16 When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble: when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops. (KJV)
Matthew 17:2-6 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. 3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. 4 Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, LORD, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. 5 While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. 6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. (KJV)
Acts 9:4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? (KJV)
Revelation 1:17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: (KJV)
Everyone will see the LORD someday in all His splendor, majesty and Shekinah Glory and ALL shall fall down before Him on bended knees.
Isaiah 45:23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. (KJV)
Romans 14:11 For it is written, As I live, saith the LORD, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. (KJV)
Philippians 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; (KJV) . . . Some (only a few Mat.7:14), will do so very willingly as He is their Saviour, LORD and King . . . but for others, they will wait until He becomes their Judge (Jn.5:22, 27; 2 Tim.4:1, 8; 1 Pet.4:5; Rev.19:11), when He shall send them off into eternal torment (Rev 20:11-15). God CANNOT dwell where there is unconfessed sin or where someone has not repented and trusted in Christ. It is YOUR decision which of two places you will spend eternity: Heaven or Hell! That day to decide should NOT be put off because today is the day of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2), for tomorrow you may not be here . . . and it will be your day of condemnation (Jn.3:18, 36; 8:24).
Book of Jeremiah
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