Jeremiah 3:4-5 and Being Right Before God

right-left-boxing-47263810727It is easy, especially in an election cycle in the US, to believe that we are completely right before God and the other side is horribly wrong and sinful. It does not matter which side one is on, the other has legitimate points of argument against it: progressives fault conservatives with ignoring the plight of the poor, injustice, hunger, and the like; whereas conservatives fault progressives for a shifting morality that allows behaviors contrary to Scripture.

Jeremiah lived at a time where the Kingdom of Judah was about to be overrun by Babylonia as judgment for their sins. In one prophecy before the Babylonians come he says this on behalf of the Lord:

At the same time you say to me,
    “My father, my friend since youth,
        will you stay angry forever?
        Will you continue to be furious?”
This is what you say
    while you do as much evil as you possibly can.

These were people, thanks to Josiah’s reform a few years earlier, who had appropriate worship at the Temple, but their hearts were not right. They did all the right things, but they still sinned when they were out on their own. Corporately, the majority of the nation sinned, so God judged the entire nation. This is a concept that is very foreign to Western Culture today with its preoccupation with individualism, yet this is how God acted. God spared faithful people such as Jeremiah and his assistant Baruch, but the judgment was comprehensive because virtually all of the people were sinning in this manner.

The takeaway for us today is that we need to make sure we are not doing the same thing. It is easy to look at those on the other side of the aisle and see their sins, but it is much more difficult to recognize our own sins. We ought to use this prophecy against Judah as a way to check our own selves. Pray and ask the Lord to reveal to you whether or not you have areas in your life in which you are still doing as much evil as you possibly can. If God reveals your sins to you, do not despair. Repent. The Lord will accept a cry for mercy and forgiveness accompanied with a change in life. The beauty of the Christian Gospel is that God himself will give you the power and ability to overcome that sin.

Do not rest assured like Judah did, turning a blind eye to their sins and thinking that the Lord would not hold those sins against them. Seek to grow closer to the Lord by confessing, repenting, and overcoming sins still remaining in your life. Do not worry so much about someone else’s sins. Allow God to make you more holy and others will see the transformation in you and be drawn closer to God because of it.

The Lord will not be angry with our sins if we confess them and allow him to help us overcome them.

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