By the time Jeremiah brought his message to Judah, Israel had already been taken captive and the ten northern tribes had been scattered. They had been invaded in 606 BC and Daniel and other had been taken to Babylon as slaves. They were invaded again in 596 BC 03 just aswhere Ezekiel and others were taken as well. The temple and the capital city of Jerusalem seems to be still intact at the time Jeremiah wrote the early parts of his prophecy.  In Jeremiah 3:2, he points out the extent of their unfaithfulness. He says, “Lift up your eyes to the bare heights, and see! Where have you not been ravished? By the waysides you have sat awaiting lovers like an Arab in the wilderness. You have polluted the land with your vile whoredom.”

The corruption of Israel’s moral standards has spread throughout the land. The sin was not incidental failure but a premeditated practice. She had abandoned the standards of the Word of God and had embraced the values of the pagans living all around them. “Israel’s separation from God is documented. She has been a prostitute spiritually with many lovers (v. 1). On the barren height, the customary place for Baal shrines, she has carried on a Canaanite worship. It is not that she has been overtaken by temptation, but like a nomad who plans to pounce on a desert caravan, so Israel has deliberately planned harlotry. Both physical and spiritual harlotry may be in view here (v. 2). Such unfaithfulness defiles the land…”[1]

The description of Judah’s deliberate sin against God is most graphic. Yet God is still calling His children to come home. Constance writes, “Expressed in these verses is the greatness of God’s forgiving love toward His apostate people. Although His treacherous and ungrateful bride had committed such great sin and rejection of God, He is still willing to extend His mercy and invites her to return to Him. What immeasurable love! His love and invitation scorn a deliberate choice on the part of the people to worship idols and practice wickedness.”[2] It might seem that God would want His children to clean themselves up before coming home. But the call is and always has been “Just as you are.” Moody said it in one of his famous sermons, “And so men try to make themselves better, and instead, get worse all the time. The Gospel bids you come as you are. Seek first the kingdom of Heaven—make no delay; come just as you are.”[3]

[1] E. A. Martens, Jeremiah, Believers Church Bible Commentary (Scottdale, PA: Herald Press, 1986), 49.

[2] Mrs. T. M. Constance, Jeremiah, vol. 1 (Dickson, TN: Explorer’s Bible Study, 1978), 13.

[3] Dwight Lyman Moody, New Sermons, Addresses, and Prayers (Cincinnati, OH: Henry S. Goodspeed & Co., 1877), 197.