I sometimes find it hard to try to teach passages when it comes to judgement that is inevitable, but as I've told my husband, it does no one any good to go to a church where they preach "feel good" sermons instead of ones that bring conviction and repentance, so why would I practice something contrary to that here in my blog? With that said, I continue on in the 4th chapter of Jeremiah, where we have seen the prophecies of judgement against the people of God for their sin. Remember that as believers, we are no different than these people of God in the Old Testament, commonly referred to as Israel. We aren't immune to sin - we are all sinners, but we have the Lord to turn to for forgiveness and guidance into His path and His plan for our lives, just as they did. It's a choice that everyone has to make for themselves though. We are accountable for ourselves, but also as a people.
Verses 14 - 18: "O Jerusalem, wash the evil from your heart and be saved. How long will you harbor wicked thoughts? A voice is announcing from Dan, proclaiming disaster from the hills of Ephraim. Tell this to the nations, proclaim it to Jerusalem. A besieging army is coming from a distant land, raising a war cry against the cities of Judah. They surround her like men guarding a field, because she has rebelled against me, declares the Lord. Your own conduct and actions, have brought this upon you. This is your punishment. How bitter it is! How it pierces to the heart!"
I know what many are saying - "That sure doesn't sound like a loving God to me". Oh but He is! He had given them so many chances to repent - as he does us. His mercy and grace extends far beyond what any of us or them deserved. If you think about it - every day that you wake up, you are automatically blessed by the Lord. He has given you another day to enjoy and to build the relationship with him that he so desires. He surrounds us with the beauty of his creations, and most are so busy and caught up with the things of this world, the cares of this world - that they don't take the time to see the little things and be thankful for them.
II Peter 3: 9 tells us "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."
That is his plead with us today - repent and let our hearts be washed, as he said to his people in verse 14 of today's passage.
I close with Psalm 51, written by David, after he realized the depth of his sin with Bathsheba. This is what the Lord desires from each of us - to come to him to be washed from our sins.
"Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
Wash away my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth, sinfrom from the time my mother conceived me. Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me down from your presence, or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you.
Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips and my mouth will declare your praise.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
In your good pleasure make Zion prosper; build up the walls of Jerusalem. Then there will be righteous sacrifices, whole burnt offerings to delight you; then bulls will be offered on your altar."