In His relationship with the children of Israel, God had always been faithful. He always kept His promises. He always came through for them in their time of need. He was in all respects the perfect husband. Therefore, God asks his unfaithful 19 closewife to point out where He had failed. Jeremiah 2:4-5 says, “Hear the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob, and all the clans of the house of Israel. Thus says the LORD: What wrong did your fathers find in me that they went far from me?”  As Gingrich points out, “The marital relationship soon soured but certainly it was not because of unfaithfulness on God’s part for He fulfilled his part of the covenant and brought His people safely through the wilderness into a land of plenty, to partake of the goodness thereof.”[1] Then why were they unfaithful?

According to one website definition, a “No fault” divorce “describes any divorce where the spouse asking for a divorce does not have to prove that the other spouse did something wrong. All states allow no fault divorces. To get a no fault divorce, one spouse must simply state a reason for the divorce that is recognized by the state. In most states, it’s enough to declare that the couple cannot get along.”[2] God is simply asking for their reason for the divorce. Ryken puts the problem in simple language: “God did not leave his people—they dumped him. God’s people were the ones who walked out on the marriage. They used to love him, but it’s all over now.” They had no complaint! There was no failing in God’s part regarding the covenant arrangement. They were unfaithful, but God remained faithful in every way!

All the problems, pains and hardships that came upon Israel and would come upon Israel and Judah according to Jeremiah’s prophecy came and would come as a result of their unfaithfulness to God. Jeremiah makes that clear in Chapter 2, verse 17. He says, “Have you not brought this on yourselves by forsaking the Lord your God when he led you in the way?” It’s often said that for every person who moves away from God because of adversity, there are 100 who do so because of prosperity. Davidson says, “A bond, forged and tested in the harsh life of the desert, snapped with the coming of prosperity in the land of Canaan.”[3] Ryken finishes his remarks on this verse. He says, “As the saying goes, ‘If God does not seem as close as he used to, who moved?’ Why would anyone ever move away from God? It makes no sense! Why would a bride leave a perfect husband? Why would she abandon a spouse who fulfilled all his vows to her? There is no explanation, no excuse. God’s bride separated from her husband without the slightest provocation.”[4]

[1] Roy E. Gingrich, The Book of Jeremiah (Memphis, TN: Riverside Printing, 2001), 8.


[3] Robert Davidson, Jeremiah, vol. 1, The Daily Study Bible Series (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1983), 25.

[4] Philip Graham Ryken, Jeremiah and Lamentations: From Sorrow to Hope, Preaching the Word (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2001), 39.