In Jeremiah chapter 4, Jeremiah is talking to the people of Jerusalem and Judah. The coming destruction of Jerusalem is certain. Judgment is coming from the north. The people would be able to see the invading army approaching and other cities set ablaze and destroyed as judgment for their disobedience to God.
As near as this destruction was, God tells the people it is not too late to repent and ask for forgiveness! Notice what the text says in verses 3-4,
“Break up your fallow ground,
and sow not among thorns.
Circumcise yourselves to the LORD;
remove the foreskin of your hearts,
O men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem;
lest my wrath go forth like fire,
and burn with none to quench it,
because of the evil of your deeds.”
Barclay summarizes the thought well here when he says, “Circumcision was the outward sign that a man belonged to the people of God. But the outward sign is meaningless, unless there is a corresponding inner reality.”
How does this apply to me today? First, my relationship with God must come from my heart and not my religious ritual. It must be real and authentic. Second, It is never too late to return to God. He is always waiting for me to admit my sin and failures and ask for his forgiveness. In fact, Peter mentions this very truth in 2 Peter 3:9 when he says, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” Peter is talking about both believers and unbelievers in that passage. God is waiting for unbelievers to come to him through faith in Christ and sinful believers to return to him through confession of sin as well!
God is patient toward me and my failures. The important thing for me to remember is that I have a genuine relationship with God that should flow from my heart—the real me. I also must remember that my appeal to God through confession when I fail as a believer must also come from my heart and not mere external religious ritual.
Father, thank you for your patience with me! I am amazed at your love and your willingness to take me back even when I fail you. Help my heart to be one that represents good soil. May I always be teachable, faithful, and fruitful. Help me to walk in genuine heartfelt obedience because you are my God.
Following Jesus with you,