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Published / updated: 23 September 2010 | Author: Dele Oke

The book of Jeremiah - part 2: The nature of God's

6 Then the LORD said to me in the days of Josiah the king, "Have you seen what faithless Israel did? She went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and she was a harlot there.

7 "I thought, 'After she has done all these things she will return to Me'; but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. Jeremiah 3:6-7 (NASB)

The nation of Israel had divided into two after the reign of Solomon. Eventually the northern part, called Israel, was taken captive by the Assyrians and now Jeremiah was warning the southerners, Judah, to desist from their treacherous conduct to God or they would too suffer a similar fate.

What is the nature of God's wrath and why does God, 'put us from him' when we go astray (Jer. 3:8).

On the surface, the book of Jeremiah seems to confirm the picture of an angry and vindictive God who cannot wait to punish those who too easily depart from his law.

But this is not the message that Jeremiah brings (Jer. 3:12-14). Indeed God is more than keen to have us in fellowship and relationships with him.

What would happen if God tolerated sin and disobedience? Let me use an example from our understanding of the human body's immune system. When germs enter our body they attempt to change and alter the normal function of our body's cells. Thankfully we have white blood cells that resist these changes and ultimately destroy the bacteria and germs.

The same is true of sin in the presence of God. Sin attempts to rule and dominate whoever entertains it. God cannot be changed. His wrath or anger puts sin, and those who practise sin, away from his presence.

If God's wrath did not drive sinful mankind from his presence the alternative would be our complete destruction.

The only place where man and women can exist in a sinful state is away from the presence of God. Otherwise sin in God's presence would be destroyed like white blood cells would destroy bacteria.

Jeremiah made clear God's desire for Judah. God wanted them to return to him. Their faithlessness and treacherousness God would take care of by sending them shepherds who would teach them wisdom and knowledge (Jer. 3 :15)

God does not despise our weakness nor does he punish us for being weak. It is our unwillingness to obey him that leads us to fall into his judgement. The more we disobey the further from him we get. The further from him we are the less able we are to obey. Get the picture.

Set your heart on serving the Lord and He will lead you and empower you to do his will.

God says "Return to me faithless sons (and daughters) and I will heal your faithlessness".

We should say "Behold we come to you, for you are the Lord our God" (Jer. 3: 22).