Jeremiah 3

May 8, 2024    Pastor Daryl Zachman

“‘Return, backsliding Israel,’ says the LORD. ‘I will not cause My anger to fall on you. For I am merciful,’ says the LORD; ‘I will not remain angry forever. Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have transgressed against the LORD your God...’” (Jeremiah 3:12–13, NKJV)

The Hebrew word that is translated “backsliding” appears more in this chapter than in any other chapter of the Bible. It means “to break a previous relationship” or “to turn aside off a correct path.” Backsliding begins the moment a person says “no” to God and turns to his own way. The northern kingdom of Israel had certainly done this. They had forsaken the covenant they made with Yahweh and worshiped Baal along with other gods. They had left their Husband and prostituted themselves “under every green tree” and refused to obey the LORD’s voice.

And yet treacherous Judah was worse than backsliding Israel! The reason? Judah saw all the disaster that God brought upon her sister Israel and how she was taken captive by the Assyrians, but Judah did not fear. She was treacherous because she pretended to worship Yahweh while she prostituted herself with other gods.

Therefore, the LORD called out to Israel to return to Him. If she would do that, then He would be merciful and forgive her, even though He had already written her a certificate of divorce! All they had to do was to acknowledge their iniquity that they had sinned against the LORD.

How many people have backslidden? Who of us has broken faith with the LORD to go our own way? All of us!

“All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned, every one, to his own way.” (Isaiah 53:6a, NKJV)

How many times have we made promises to God only to break them? The spirit may be willing, but the flesh is weak. What is it that God desires from us? Only that we confess our sins to Him.

“And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6b, NKJV)

We acknowledge that Christ paid the price for our sins when He died on the cross. We receive God’s mercy and forgiveness, and then we turn away from our sins. As we once turned away from the LORD, by His grace we now turn away from our backsliding.

“Return, you backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings.” “Indeed we do come to You, for You are the LORD our God.” (Jeremiah 3:22, NKJV)