Jeremiah and God have a talk about the actions of Israel and Judah. “Return to Me” calls out the Lord. One day they will; or a portion of them anyway.
Judah has watched Israel receive her judgment for turning away from God, but has learned NOTHING by it! God calls their turning to him, false. Judah has not turned with her heart, only some of her actions. “Lip service.” In God’s eyes, Judah is worse that Israel because at least Israel was honest about her turning away. Judah keeps trying to hide her unfaithfulness.
These are the laments God is sharing with Jeremiah. God hasn’t given up all hope though. He has Jeremiah call out in the direction of Israel; to the north. I don’t know if Jeremiah was supposed to be proclaiming this in the direction of Israel or if he was talking to those who remained when the majority of the people were carried away. My bible helps say that he was calling those who remained to join with Judah. He is calling to them to repent and return to Him.
God ISN’T saying, “just come back”. He is saying admit your sin and repent of it. THEN return FULLY to Him. He is waiting with open arms. He will willingly take back His ‘wife’ if she will truly return to Him with her whole heart.
When I started reading Jeremiah and God gave him the vision of the almond branch, I expected all his prophecies to deal with things that would soon be manifested. But the middle of this prophecy looks like events that will happen in the new Jerusalem. In verse 15 God talks about giving His people “shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.” At first I was thinking He was speaking of Jesus, but the shepherds is plural. So, then I thought about Ezra and Nehemiah fit nicely into this good shepherds category. Then the next group I can certainly identify as good shepherds are Jesus’ disciples. They were the first shepherds of the church. Paul certainly fits in here too but he spoke more to Gentiles than any other ‘shepherd’. But I’m certain this is not a complete list of shepherds who are after God’s own heart. I have NO DOUBT that God is still calling good shepherds for both the Gentile and Jewish people to bring them to Him. To help them recognize their sin and repent. And to seek Him with their whole heart. That makes this part of the prophecy an ongoing fulfillment until the ultimate fulfillment in the new Jerusalem. When the Ark of the Covenant won’t even be missed. Why? Because God will be with us Himself and we will have no need of reminders to direct our attention to Him.
God hasn’t given up on His people. Not even in the time He left them for captivity. He took the ones whose hearts were towards Him and made THEM into a renewed nation. “Many are called but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). He gathers ALL who call upon Jesus to be their Lord and Savior. This includes recognizing that we have sinned, that we need His forgiveness, and turn to Him with our WHOLE heart. We together are His children, His bride, His church, and His body.
Thank You Father God for picking me! I want to seek You with my WHOLE heart. There are times when I get distracted but NEVER do I want to run away to other gods. Slap ANYTHING out of my hands that comes between the two of us! I Love You Father. I give You my life.