A Model of Repentance

 

Jeremiah 3:14-18 declare God’s promised blessings for exiled Israel if they turn from their sin and back to him. Then the Lord follows that up in Jeremiah 4:19-25 where he gives a template or model of repentance. He wants it to be clear to Israel as far as what he’s looking for from them.

God’s Initiating Desire to Bless

First we have God communicating his desire to bless his wayward children in Jeremiah 3:19.

Now, you might think it strange that the first thing God communicates about a model repentance is him expressing his desire to bless.

But it’s not strange. Have you not read that it’s the goodness of God that leads you to repentance?

God’s promised punishment can do it, too. But so often it’s the goodness of God that leads a person to repentance.

So, that’s where God starts in his demonstrating a model repentance.

God’s Call to Repent of Infidelity

Second, God calls men to repent of their spiritual infidelity in Jeremiah 3:20.

Here the Lord mixes the description he’s been using of Judah and Israel. He has been calling Judah treacherous. But now here he applies that term to Israel.

And again, Judah is most likely hearing all of this anyway – especially if Jeremiah is proclaiming this message somewhere in Jerusalem toward the north.

The Beginnings of Repentance

The next part of this model of repentance is the stirrings or beginnings of turning to the Lord in Jeremiah 3:21.

This weeping is coming from the very places where Israel sinned against the Lord – on the high places, where they offered sacrifices to false gods.

A Further Pleading for Repentance with Promise of Forgiveness

Next, God continues to plead with Israel to repent and promises his forgiveness in Jeremiah 3:22.

The Ideal Response of Repentance

And finally, we have the ideal response of repentance (Jeremiah 3:22-25) – where the people humbly and mournfully acknowledge the wrongs of their sins and the rights of their God.

Acknowledging God’s Relationship to You

First, they should acknowledge God’s relationship to them (Jeremiah 3:22).

Acknowledging Sin’s Emptiness

Next, they should acknowledge sin’s emptiness (Jeremiah 3:23).

Acknowledging God’s Unique Power to Save

They must acknowledge God’s unique power to save them (Jeremiah 3:23).

Acknowledging Sin’s Costliness

And again they should turn to consider their sin and its costliness (Jeremiah 3:24).

Acknowledging Sin Against God and Its Shame

And not only sin’s costliness, but also its shame for those who commit it and it’s offensiveness to God (Jeremiah 3:25).

Summary

So, that’s God holding out a model of repentance in Jeremiah 3:19-25.

Next in Jeremiah 4:1-2 we see God following up on any alleged repentance on the part of his people. In particular, he’ll emphasize that any such repentance – any repentance that will receive God’s blessings – must bear fruit in the lives of those who exercise it.

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