Today the Lord likens Judah to an unfaithful bride and to the sister of Israel who never learns. Therefore, judgement is coming.
Jeremiah calls out Judah for playing the harlot with false gods. “For according to the number of your cities are your gods, O Judah.” “If a man divorces his wife, and she goes from him and becomes another man’s, may he return to her again?” According to the Book of the Law, the answer is no (Deut 24:1-4). However, the Lord in his mercy says, “But you have played the harlot with many lovers; Yet return to Me”. God still desires to take His unfaithful people back. “‘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.’” But the people refuse to repent and return to the Lord.
Judah watched the Lord put away and divorce her unfaithful sister Israel, yet Judah still did not fear the Lord and repent making Judah worse off than Israel.
The Lord tells the people to return to Him, “for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.” “At that time Jerusalem shall be called The Throne of the Lord, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem.”
Jeremiah explains the type of repentance that is required. “Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your hearts.” The Lord does not want a mere outward change in appearance and behavior. He wants a deep inward change of the heart.
Jeremiah announces the coming judgement on the unrepentant people. “And the destroyer of nations is on his way…To make your land desolate. Your cities will be laid to waste.” Jeremiah weeps over the coming disaster to his people but he knows that the Lord is just in His judgment.
The Lord challenges Jeremiah to find one righteous person. God says there isn’t one, from the poor to the great. Their transgressions are many yet they do not believe the Lord will judge them. As a result, the Lord is sending Babylon from the north up against Judah so they can serve the Babylonians as they served their false gods.
But the Lord tells them, “I will not make a complete end of you.” God always leaves a remnant to fulfill His plan of bringing the Messiah as the cure for the people’s deeply sick heart issue.