August 28, 2014 – Jeremiah 4

God’s wrath and willingness to forgive

Jeremiah is delivering God’s message of impending destruction.  Up until this point, there’s been a lot of talk comparing Israel’s idolatry to prostitution and adultery.

v30 – What are you doing, O devastated one?  Why dress yourself in scarlet and put on jewels of gold?  Why shade your eyes with paint?  You adorn yourself in vain.  Your lovers despise you; they seek your life.

**  In keeping with the theme that Israel’s idolatry makes her an adulterous woman, she paints herself up to be beautiful for her lovers, but her lovers hate her and want her dead.  We desire our sin.  Our sin desires our destruction.

v9“In that day,” declares the Lord, “the king and the officials will lose heart, the priests will be horrified, and the prophets will be appalled.”

**  For some reason, this makes me think of the boat scene in Tommy Boy [language alert].  God is describing how severe His wrath will be.  Even the holy men who are supposed to understand God best will be taken aback.

v18“Your own conduct and actions have brought this upon you.  This is your punishment.  How bitter it is!  How it pierces to the heart!”

**  This is God talking.  When He says “How it pierces to the heart!” He isn’t talking about how the Israelites will suffer, He is referring to how He suffers having to punish them so severely.  God HATES punishing Israel.  I’ve been there with my kids.  They have done something and I have to follow through on the punishment I have laid out, and I hate it as much or more than they do.

v1-2 “If you will return, O Israel, return to me,” declares the LORD.  “If you put your detestable idols out of my sight and no longer go astray, and in a truthful, just, and righteous way you swear, ‘As surely as the LORD lives,’ then the nations will be blessed by him and in him they will glory.”

**  The bible is full of places where God says He will turn from his wrath if we repent.  While this is speaking to a specific people at a specific time, it describes an immutable trait of God’s character.  I do need to research the phrase He says we need to swear: ‘As surely as the LORD lives’.


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