Before I begin, I want to be transparent with you.
I read chapters 1-4 during a dark time in my faith, when I myself was prostituting my heart out to sin. I wanted to feel fulfillment and satisfaction and I went looking for it in places that were completely and utterly outside of God’s will, purpose, standards, and truth.
These passages are dear to my heart, as heartbreaking and hard as they are to read, because God used them to open my eyes to my wretched actions.
I urge you sisters to examine your life and your heart. If ANYTHING is keeping you in the bondage to sin, get rid of it no matter the cost. Sin always leads to destruction and TRUE fulfillment/satisfaction only comes through Jesus Christ.
Jeremiah is a book in the Old Testament that a lot of women know because of the very famous verse:
Women LOVE to quote this verse and who can blame us!?
“I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.”
Yea, I want that promise recited to me daily! God is for me? Awesome! He isn’t going to harm me? Bad things won’t happen? Great! But then I’m stopped big time by the Spirit and I know how out of context this verse is taken but maybe that’s a devotional for another day. 🙂
For this devotional, we’re going to be in Jeremiah 1-4.
And girl, I know you aren’t just sitting there reading this without your Bible. Have it open. 🙂
We’re told in Jeremiah 1:9 that God touched Jeremiah’s mouth and says “I have put my words in your mouth.” All Scripture is God breathed and the words of God but this is important because Jeremiah was afraid that the people wouldn’t listen to him. You can read in ch.1:6 that he tells God that he’s too young to give the message.
Let’s move on to verse 17-19 and buckle up ladies because this is a great picture of the Lord we serve.
17 “Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them. 18 Today I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land—against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests and the people of the land.19 They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.
God is serious. And I want you to really let this truth sink in for a moment.
God is not this passive God who bends to the wills and feelings of humans. Absolutely not. He is THE GOD. The I AM. THE CREATOR. THE BEGINNING AND END. He is deathly serious about sin, literally – because it cost Him His ONLY SON to save all of us. He is serious about sin. We cannot be messing around with it or flirting with it or playing for both teams: WORLD & WORD.
We must choose.
Chapter 2 tells us that Israel, once again, has abandoned God.
Now, before you roll your eyes at the Israelites (and I get it, I have done it SO many times) WE DO THE VERY SAME THING but we don’t have to and that’s really the heartbeat of this devotional.
These passages are very hard to read. I cry and am getting teary even now. God’s heart is broken! These are not the words of a Nazi like Dictator who only wants conformity. These are the words of a Father, a Lover and He is broken hearted that His people (insert yourself if needed) has abandoned Him once again.
“This is what the Lord says:
“‘I remember the devotion of your youth,
how as a bride you loved me
and followed me through the wilderness,
through a land not sown.
3 Israel was holy to the Lord,
the firstfruits of his harvest;
all who devoured her were held guilty,
and disaster overtook them,’”
declares the Lord.
“How as a Bride you Loved me.”
moving on in the chapter…
“My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
14 Is Israel a servant, a slave by birth?
Why then has he become plunder?
15 Lions have roared;
they have growled at him.
They have laid waste his land;
his towns are burned and deserted.
16 Also, the men of Memphis and Tahpanhes
have cracked your skull.
17 Have you not brought this on yourselves
by forsaking the Lord your God
when he led you in the way?
“Long ago you broke off your yoke
and tore off your bonds;
you said, ‘I will not serve you!’
Indeed, on every high hill
and under every spreading tree
you lay down as a prostitute.
21 I had planted you like a choice vine
of sound and reliable stock.
How then did you turn against me
into a corrupt, wild vine?
22 Although you wash yourself with soap
and use an abundance of cleansing powder,
the stain of your guilt is still before me,”
declares the Sovereign Lord.
23 “How can you say, ‘I am not defiled;
I have not run after the Baals’?
See how you behaved in the valley;
consider what you have done.
You are a swift she-camel
running here and there,
24 a wild donkey accustomed to the desert,
sniffing the wind in her craving—
in her heat who can restrain her?
Any males that pursue her need not tire themselves;
at mating time they will find her.
25 Do not run until your feet are bare
and your throat is dry.
But you said, ‘It’s no use!
I love foreign gods,
and I must go after them.’
and then the verses that bring tears to my eyes…
How skilled you are at pursuing love!
Even the worst of women can learn from your ways.
STOP RIGHT HERE.
Okay, hard to read, right?
Verse 33 was the verse that wrecked me. Again, being completely raw here with you sisters.
A part of my story is how I opened the door to flirt and engage in inappropriate relationships with men who weren’t my husband during a time when my husband, Jacob, and I were legally separated. That door opened and satan has used it even still, although my husband and I have found reconciliation. I have struggled with having a wandering heart. I ended up dating another man and meeting him for a week of pleasure in New York some years back. Not only did I sin against my body and my marriage, I sinned against the Living God who I claimed as MY Lord.
I was sorry. I showed remorse. But true repentance hadn’t taken place because I was still allowing myself to be tempted by pornography and flirting behaviors.
This verse, verse 33, was God showing me my Dorian Gray painting…my true reflection.
I was a woman skilled in pursuing love outside of the love of God and outside of the love of my marriage.
Although I am forgiven for these things, I am still utterly ashamed and broken up because of my habitual wickedness of sin.
“even the worst of women can learn from your ways.”
Talk about a punch of truth.
Now, you may be sitting there and thinking “But Jill, I’ve never done anything close to that. This isn’t talking about me and my sins.”
Friend, your prostitution of your heart to other “gods” may not have been adultery but ANY AND ALL sin takes our eyes off of Jesus and puts a new god on the throne.
And that god is SELF.
Sin, even what we would consider small, is serious to the Lord.
I pray you truly examine yourself for any areas that you have been sinning in and repent.
Back to Jeremiah.
Here in 3:4,5 I was reminded how even while sinning I was still professing Jesus…
Have you not just called to me:
‘My Father, my friend from my youth,
5 will you always be angry?
Will your wrath continue forever?’
This is how you talk,
but you do all the evil you can.”
THIS IS HOW YOU TALK BUT YOU DO ALL THE EVIL YOU CAN.
Alright, So…we’ve sinned. We have given our attention, time, and energy to things and people who are not Jesus.
We need repentance. True repentance.
Ladies, if we love God, TRULY LOVE HIM, then we will do everything in our pitiful human selves to obey Him.
Love = Obedience.
And because we’re so pitiful and God knows this, He didn’t leave us to work it all out on our own. He gave us the Holy Spirit, our Champion, to help us. We must die to self DAILY. This is a commandment and not a suggestion. With the Spirit’s help, with focusing on the truth of the Word of God, with purging all evil and sin from your life, and covering yourself in prayer, with obeying God’s commandments of loving others – serving others…Oh friend, there is freedom like you wouldn’t even imagine.
Or maybe you’ve already experienced this freedom and you’re nodding along because it’s true and it’s INCREDIBLE!!! Not Chick-Fil-A Incredible but HOLY, WORDS CANNOT EVEN EXPRESS, INCREDIBLE!!!!
Back to the Word.
Here is God’s calling to us.
“Return, faithless people,” declares the Lord, “for I am your husband. I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion.15 Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.
Oh He is so good. So So Good.
This upcoming verse grabs my heart and squeezes it sooooo tightly.
“‘How gladly would I treat you like my children
and give you a pleasant land,
the most beautiful inheritance of any nation.’
I thought you would call me ‘Father’
and not turn away from following me.
“Return, faithless people;
I will cure you of backsliding.”
LET’S REPEAT THAT ONE.
“Return, faithless people;
I will cure you of backsliding.”
“If you, Israel, will return,
then return to me,”
declares the Lord.
“If you put your detestable idols out of my sight
and no longer go astray,
2 and if in a truthful, just and righteous way
you swear, ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’
then the nations will invoke blessings by him
and in him they will boast.”
3 This is what the Lord says to the people of Judah and to Jerusalem:
“Break up your unplowed ground
and do not sow among thorns.
4 Circumcise yourselves to the Lord,
circumcise your hearts,
you people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem,
or my wrath will flare up and burn like fire
because of the evil you have done—
burn with no one to quench it.
HE IS SERIOUS.
Jerusalem, wash the evil from your heart and be saved.
How long will you harbor wicked thoughts?
Ladies, if only I could go back to certain time in my life and I can see myself clearly – those years ago when I took the path to my own “prodigal son” journey…I would go back in a heartbeat and change everything! I would slap myself silly, get on my knees before our Holy God, and not do the things I did.
For almost 5 years, my heart stayed in a bondage to sin.
These passages are what God used to show me the wickedness of my ways and how it broke His heart.
He seriously told me to return to Him.
And I present these to you now and ask you to repent of whatever sins you have in your life, purge them out, and return to the Holy God who loves you.
It’s going to be hard. You may lose relationships. You may have to form new habits. You may have physical reactions if your sins include a physical habit. You may cry. You may get angry. You may have to be lonely for a time. You may have to quit a job, or a relationship, or move!
CUT IT OUT OF YOUR LIFE.
All sin leads to destruction and if we are His children then we cannot be giving our hearts to anyone else or anything else.
Wash the evil from your heart and be saved.
If you do, you will be forgiven. You will be a woman wholeheartedly obedient to the Lord which only leads to everlasting life!
The road is narrow and you’ll fall down but sister, let Him pick you back up. Crawl if you must to the Cross but NEVER go back to giving anything or anyone the throne of your heart – including yourself.