Judah breaks a pledge (covenant) not just a promise (11:1-17). We should be men and women of integrity. Jeremiah's message was the most unwelcome ever delivered to a people. They plot to kill him, but the Lord is his defense (11:18-23). What is the significance of the marred belt (chap. 13)? A solemn warning (chap. 14).
Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil (Jer. 13:23).
The obvious answer to the question is “no." However, when we are speaking in terms of things in the realm of the Lord, things are not always as obvious as they seem. With God, all things are possible. And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible (Mark 10:27).
To fully grasp what is being said here, we should compare these words of Jeremiah with the words of another prophet on the same subject. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool (Isa. 1:18). The words of Isaiah help us to arrive at a much better view of how the very nature of a person can be transformed.
This is the essence of the message of Christ. There is forgiveness of sins. Though a person might be guilty of sin, their record can be totally erased by the blood of Jesus Christ. The transgressions that have been committed in the past can be blotted out. The person who has done evil works can change his actions and learn to do good.
The subject of a person's sins being erased is a subject that we deal with often. Scripture has much to say on the topic. That is because this is the main theme of the Word of God.
From the very beginning when man fell into sin, God has sought to restore His relationship with mankind. In the Old Testament, provision was made with the system of sacrifice. In the New Testament, Christ came to pay the total cost for the sins of all who come to Him.
A beautiful thing happens to a person when they accept the gift of forgiveness of sin that only comes through Christ. There is no other power in this world that can allow a sinful man to die, and a new creature to live in his place. That is truly a miracle. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me (Gal. 2:20).
When we think about it that way, our original answer to Jeremiah's question is accurate. A person has no real hope of changing himself. Many will try time and again to do just that, and they will continue to fail. It is only through the power of Christ that a person is able to change his ways.
Once we realize this fact, we can then turn to Christ to have our lives changed forever. Every human needs to experience a new beginning in Christ.
In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace (Eph 1:7).
Thought for Today:
Those who persecute God's servants will be severely punished.
As the Hope of Israel, the Saviour (Jer. 14:8). Christ is the only Hope of all mankind. Looking for that blessed Hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13).
11:15 wrought lewdness, done evil things; 11:23 visitation, judgment; 12:2 reins, heart; 13:22 skirts discovered . . . heels made bare, fine clothes torn off as you are driven into exile, barefoot (comp. Nah. 3:5).
Prayer Suggestion: Rejoice that He has promised to sustain us at all times (Ps. 55:22).
Optional Reading: II Peter 2
Memory Verse for the Week: Psalms 90:1-2