to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice *
August 23, 2019 – Friday
Jeremiah 3:11-13 NIV
11 The Lord said to me, “Faithless Israel is more righteous than unfaithful Judah.
12 Go, proclaim this message toward the north:
“‘Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the Lord, ‘I will frown on you no longer,
for I am faithful,’ declares the Lord, ‘I will not be angry forever.
13 Only acknowledge your guilt—you have rebelled against the Lord your God,
you have scattered your favors to foreign gods under every spreading tree, and have not obeyed Me,’”
declares the Lord.
Jeremiah is remembered as the weeping prophet because he was very aware of the future of Judah, Jerusalem, and his countrymen that it distressed his heart greatly. He did not want to be a prophet, but the Lord had other plans for him.
4 The word of the Lord came to me, saying, 5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
6 “Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”
7 But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.
9 Then the Lord reached out His hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put My words in your mouth.
10 See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”
This chapter is about the northern kingdom Israel as a backslidden nation being called to return. This is the direct focus of verses six through twenty-five (the last verse) and given titles related to unfaithfulness and a call to repentance for the nation as a whole
With this in mind, looking at today’s verses we first see Faithless Israel is more righteous than unfaithful Judah. How could this be with Judah having better and more faithful kings than Israel? Plus Judah saw what happened to Israel, thus they knew what could happen to them as well (and did). Nonetheless, Judah only pretended to repent which Israel did not do.
Keeping this in mind, God has Jeremiah tell the exiled northern kingdom people they can return to Him saying Return, faithless Israel, I will frown on you no longer, for I am faithful, I will not be angry forever showing the forgiving merciful nature of our God. There is a particular path for Israel to return to God’s favor. It is one of repentance whereby they have to Only acknowledge your guilt—you have rebelled against the Lord your God, you have scattered your favors to foreign gods under every spreading tree, and have not obeyed Me. The key to repentance is acknowledging one’s sins as stated in Proverbs 28:13
Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
And Psalm 32:5
Then I acknowledged my sin to You and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And You forgave the guilt of my sin.
When we accept Jesus as our LORD and Savior, no less is required as stated in 1 John 1:6-9
6 If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Fellowship with Him and with one another is not available if we lie and do not live out the truth. Hopefully we will have fellowship with our God and one another this weekend when we join our brothers and sisters in Christ for fellowship in worship, prayer, and study of His word.
(to obey is better than sacrifice / obedience is better than sacrifice)
* Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22