When Jeremiah prophesied to Judah, the country was prosperous but the people had turned away from God. Sound familiar? But God wasn’t ready to give up on them so He spoke through Jeremiah to warn them of the destruction that was coming and to beg them to repent and turn back to Him.
I don’t think America is in any way God’s chosen nation and I don’t think God’s warnings or promises to Israel apply to our country. But this scripture reveals what matters to God and that applies to all God’s people all the time. So these verses tell me something about what God wants from me (and all His people in America).
First, I can repent if I want to. I can throw away my detestable idols and return to God. This message starts with a call to deep soul searching and honest acknowledgement of the things I love more than I love God. Then I need to throw them out of my heart and return to Him, my first and only love.
Then God calls His people to swear by His name with truth, justice and righteousness. “As surely as the Lord lives,” is an acknowledgement that God exists. We are the people who tell the world that there is a God and that He is alive. He arose and lives in our hearts. But we also have to proclaim the message with truth, justice and righteousness.
Truth – When I say He is God, I mean it. He is my creator, my savior and my sovereign. He rules all of my life; I submit it all to Him.
Justice – When I say He is God, I accept His judgment. What He does is good and right, even when I don’t understand. Even when I’m impatient. Even when I feel abandoned.
Righteousness – When I say He is God, I accept His holiness. He is perfect and spotless. He is the standard I measure myself against. I worship Him for His holiness and tremble in His presence because of it.
If they did these things, God promised Judah that they would be a blessing to the world and all people would praise His name. Jesus is Israel’s blessing to the world. I know He will bless my little world with Jesus when I’m faithful to Him too. And the ones I love in that world will praise His name.