Dave Burnette's Commentary

Jeremiah Chapter 3

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Jeremiah
Date Penned: (627-586 BC)
Overview: To Urge God's People to Turn from Sin to God (c 1-52)
Theme: God's Judgement on Judah (c 1-45)
Message: Israel is Unfaithful (v 1-25)

Jeremiah 3 Commentary 

(3:1) Unfaithful - This law, found in Deuteronomy 24:1-4, says that a divorced woman who remarries can never be reunited with her first husband. Judah "divorced" God and "married" other gods. God had every right to permanently disown his wayward people, but in his boundless mercy he was willing to take them back again. 

(3:2-3) A Drought - The words polluted, whoredoms, and wickedness reveal a serious problem that had gradually spread until it affected everything. In this situation, even nature had been affected with a drought, which God had permitted to bring the people to their senses. Sin brings drastic consequences once it gains a foothold in our lives. Lies lead to more lies and hatred to more hatred. Jeremiah reminded his people repeatedly that sin must not go on unchecked. 3:2 "As the Arabian in the wilderness" means that just as a thief would hide in the wilderness to plunder a passing caravan, Judah jumped at any opportunity to worship idols. It was like a national pastime. 

(3:4:5) Confessing Our Sins - Notice how the people played down their sin. In spite of their blatant idolatry, they continued to talk like they were God's children. When we know we've done something wrong, we tend to downplay the error to relieve some of the guilt we feel. As we minimize our sinfulness, we naturally shy away from making changes, so we keep on sinning. But if we view every wrong attitude and action as a serious offense against God, we will begin to understand what living for God is all about. What sin have you written off as too small to worry about? God says that we must confess and turn away from every sin. 

(3:6) The northern kingdom, Israel, had fallen to Assyria, and its people had been taken into captivity. The tragic lesson of their fall should have caused the southern kingdom, Judah, to return to God, but Judah paid no attention. Jeremiah urged Judah to return to God to avoid certain disaster. This message came between 627 and 621 BC, during Josiah's reign. Although Josiah obeyed God's commands, his example apparently did not penetrate the hearts of the people. If the people refused to repent, God said he would destroy the nation because of the evils of Josiah's grandfather, King Manasseh (2 Kings 23:25=27). 

(3:11-13) False Repentance - The people of Israel were not even trying to look as if they were obeying God, but the people of Judah maintained the appearance of faith, though without true heartfelt commitment. Believing the right doctrines without genuine commitment to God 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 and unfaithful. Merely being sorry for sin is not enough. Repentance demands a change of mind and heart that results in changed behavior. 

(3:12-18) Israel in Captivity - The northern kingdom, Israel, was in captivity, being punished for the people's sins. The people of Judah undoubtedly looked down on their northern neighbors for their blatant heresy and degraded morals. Even so, Jeremiah promised the remnant in Israel that God would bless them if they would turn to him. The people of Judah, still secure in their own minds, should have turned to God with heartfelt repentance after seeing the destruction of Israel. But they refused, so Jeremiah startled them by reaffirming God's promise of restoration to Israel's remnant if they would return to him, acknowledging and confessing their sin. 

(3:15) Being Led Astray - God promised to give his people leaders who would follow him, filled with knowledge (wisdom) and understanding. God saw Israel's lack of direction, so he promised to provide them with the right kind of leadership. Often, we naturally 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 nations, communities, and churches. We need leaders who will be good examples and bring us God's wisdom. 

(3:16-17) The Ark of the Covenant - During 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 (see Exodus 25:10-22). The days when they had the ark wouldn't be missed in the future kingdom because God would be there personally among his people. 

(3:22-25) Sins Destruction - Jeremiah predicted a day when the nation would be reunited, true worship would be reinstated, and sin would be seen for what it is: a delusion. Our world glorifies the thrills that come from having wealth, winning competitions, and experiencing sexual pleasure, and it ignores the sin that so often accompanies those thrills. Sadly, few people really see how sin deceives us. 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.


Dave Burnette's Life Application

Divorcing God

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today, we continue in the Book of Jeremiah 3. Today's text shows a parity of Judah divorcing God and marrying other gods. Applying the law of Deuteronomy, God had every right to disown his people permanently but, in His mercy, took them back. In applying, we see that our sin has separated us from God. Still, God, in His Mercy, extends Christ to us if we simply repent and receive His free gift of salvation. Today, many overlook this great opportunity, choosing to live in their sin, whose destination is eternal separation in Hell. How about you? Do you see the destructive destination of sin? Let us learn from our text today that we, too, divorce God by our sin, BUT GOD, in His Mercy, extends us a way to be reunited with Him through the forgiving blood of Jesus Christ.


Jeremiah 3

Jeremiah 3

 1They 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.

 2Lift 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.

 3Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whore's forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed.

 4Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My father, thou art the guide of my youth?

 5Will he reserve his anger for ever? will he keep it to the end? Behold, thou hast spoken and done evil things as thou couldest.

 6The 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.

 7And I said after she had done all these things, Turn thou unto me. But she returned not. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it.

 8And 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.

 9And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks.

 10And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the LORD.

 11And the LORD said unto me, The backsliding Israel hath justified herself more than treacherous Judah.

 12Go 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.

 13Only 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.

 14Turn, 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:

 15And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.

 16And 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.

 17At 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.

 18In 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.

 19But 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.

 20Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the LORD.

 21A 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.

 22Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the LORD our God.

 23Truly 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.

 24For shame hath devoured the labour of our fathers from our youth; their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters.

 25We 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.