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Come Back Home

Updated: Nov 26, 2019

9/22/19 Jeremiah 3:1-18 Back in the day, people wanted it to be without consequence… that a man went after a harlot or another man’s wife. They wanted there to be no shame in it… in adultery. They wanted that behavior, even when rampant, to not have an effect on them, their land or the culture. But it’s all connected, especially when prevalent in the culture. They also wanted there to be no consequence for going after false gods which is in effect, spiritual adultery. And in reality, it could be argued it is of worse consequence than sexual adultery. Spiritual adultery is of course unfaithfulness to God or giving of themselves to other gods.

The comparison is being made between the two kinds of unfaithfulness because they have many similarities. There is no simple flip of a switch and you’re back on, and it’s all good. In sexual acts, you are giving your heart and soul to someone. Unless you’ve turned it into a mere physical exercise in which case, you’re far past the point of caring what God or anyone else thinks. Any sexual act beyond what was intended to be set apart for a consecrated relationship, for your first and only, faithful into the future, creates a lasting ripple effect of memory, sensation, emotion and spiritual damage. In doing that, it also tears away at the heart of the once sanctified beloved.

How this happens in the physical sexual realm of unfaithfulness first needs to be understood, before things can be made fully right in the spiritual realm. This does not solely consist of feeling good about yourself. There is shrapnel from the I.E.D. that is adultery, to both yourself and to your beloved, and perhaps more, if and when family is involved.

And so when there is what God is calling spiritual adultery, there is this tearing away from the heart of God. But this is how Jeremiah, or really God is explaining what has been happening as they have perverted their way with unfaithfulness to God. This is how He is wanting us to understand it - to realize the gravity of it. There was spiritual adultery and there was physical adultery. That is the bad news. In our experience, at some point, when we have sinned, we just want to move past it. We think, ‘Was it really that big of a deal?’ Rarely if anytime, do I get to just ignore something I’ve done and move on. It must be dealt with in the right way with God and even then, the work God does in me as a result of my coming to Him becomes a shaping tool for all of my future thoughts, decisions, attitudes and of course behavior – or obedience regarding the sin. We can’t just act like it didn’t happen.

The good news is that God will heal that unfaithfulness. The Lord God is the salvation of all unfaithfulness. There must be a coming back, first to God, so a healing can take place, and only then can a coming back to the others who have been hurt or violated can take place. Only then can that healing begin to take place. Pretending it wasn’t ever really that bad will never result in healing. Jeremiah does not ring bells of happiness or ever-present feel-good vibes. Just wanting life to be like it used to be, isn’t enough. Things will never be like they used to be. That life then was built on trust. When the faithfulness of a holy covenant has been broken, a trust has been broken. A foundation for a new faithfulness needs to be carved out of that new context. That takes time. Broken hearts do not mend quickly.

It was at great cost and dare I say a broken heart that Christ took the sin of the world upon Himself. When He did that He was not excusing sin – as if it never happened. He was forgiving it, paying for it even before it happened in many circumstances, acknowledging the pain and harm it brings. And to Him and to Him alone now, our sin was as if it never happened. Even as we are forgiven, it doesn’t simply disappear from our life-scape. We are forgiven, which heals our relationship with God, but we are not to forget it as if it never happened. It did happen. You will hear about it from time to time. It will come up in thought or conversation, in a sermon or class, and we must allow it to then be a humble reminder to us that we are forgiven and that it must never happen again – much like the woman caught in, no surprise, adultery (John 8).

We can’t unrealistically demand that people treat us as only God would treat us. So moving forward, we who have sought forgiveness from God and have received it, must be willing to first give it, if we continue to want it from Jesus. {Matthew 6:14,15}

So people haven’t really changed too, too much since Jeremiah’s day I guess.

That’s the bad news. The good news is God hasn’t changed either. And if we confess our sins, He is still faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. {1 John 1:9} This is God’s ongoing grace.

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