Hope for Wayward Israel (Day 7)

Read Jeremiah 3:11-25
   Israel was not even trying to look as if it were obeying God, but Judah maintained the appearance of faith without a true heart. Believing the right doctrines without heartfelt commitment is like offering sacrifices without true repentance. Judah’s false repentance brought Jeremiah’s words of condemnation. To live without faith is hopeless; to express sorrow without change is hypocritical. Being sorry for sin is not enough. Repentance demands a change of mind and heart that results in changed behavior. 
   God promised Israel, if they returned to Him, to give His people leaders who would follow Him, filled with wisdom and understanding. God saw Israel’s lack of direction, so He promised to provide the right kind of leadership. We look to and trust our leaders for guidance and direction. But if they do not follow God, they will lead us astray. Pray for God-honoring leaders in our nation, communities, and churches: those who will be good examples and bring us God’s wisdom. 
   In the days of Solomon’s reign over a united Israel, the people had a beautiful Temple, where they worshiped God. The Temple housed the Ark of the Covenant, the symbol of God’s presence with the people. The Ark held the tablets of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 25). Those days with the Ark wouldn’t be missed in the future Kingdom because God’s presence by the Holy Spirit would be there personally among His people. 
   The northern kingdom, Israel, was in captivity, being punished for its sins. The people of Judah undoubtedly looked down on these northern kinsmen for their blatant heresy and degraded morals. Even so, Jeremiah promised the remnant of Israel God’s blessings if they would return to Him. Judah, still secure in its own mind, should have turned to God after seeing the destruction of Israel. But the people of Judah refused, so Jeremiah startled them by telling about God’s promise to Israel’s remnant if they would repent. 
   Jeremiah predicted a day when the nation would be reunited, true worship would be reinstated, and sin would be seen for what it is. Our world glorifies the thrill that comes from wealth, winning, and sexual pleasure, and it ignores the sin that is so often associated with these thrills. It is sad that so few see sin as it really is: a deception. Most people can’t see this until they are destroyed by the sin they pursue. The advantage of believing God’s Word is that we don’t have to learn by hard experience the destructive results of sin.