Return, Faithless People

Read: Jeremiah 3:11-18

“Return, faithless Israel,” declares the LORD. “I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful.” (v. 12)

In her memoir Wild, Cheryl Strayed describes a pattern of infidelity that led to the breakup of her first marriage. Lamenting the damage she caused her spouse and herself, she says, “I broke my own heart” (p. 99). In Jeremiah 3, God described his people’s idolatry as marital infidelity. God’s people had broken their marriage and broken their own hearts. God was heartbroken too. But instead of rejecting his people, he pined for them. He went so far as to make a way for his people to come back.

The Bible makes it clear that all people are unfaithful. The prophet Isaiah stated, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way” (Isa. 53:6). God always makes a way for us to come back to him. For us, the way is Jesus Christ, who put our infidelity to death on the cross. Through Jeremiah, God said, “Return, faithless [people] . . . I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful” (v. 12).

The apostle John restated God’s invitation of reconciliation: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). God’s love frees us from the shame of our sins and shortcomings. In Jesus, we no longer have to hide what we have been. He makes us new and welcomes us home. —Ben Van Arragon

As you pray, confess the ways you have strayed and trust God to take you back.

About the Author

Ben Van Arragon is a pastor, husband, and father of two teenage daughters. He has served the First Christian Reformed Church of Detroit since 2008. He writes and produces video teaching on the Bible and Reformed creeds and confessions. His writing for Words of Hope includes series on Jeremiah, Exodus, and Work and Rest.

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