As I begin my study of Jeremiah chapter 4, it occurs to me that this chapter is a complete section in and of itself. Guest described it in his commentary, “This section is a series of poems, the pithiest to be found anywhere. They were preached as sermons. Like any good 31 kingdomcommunicator, Jeremiah scorned the vague, the colorless, and the irresolute and struck right at the heart. After all, the southern kingdom, to whom Jeremiah’s words were directed, was in serious trouble, and he must reach beyond their complacency and stir them to redemption.”[1] His call to the prodigal nation again is one to leave the pig sty and come home!

In coming home, there is only one place to go. The Israelites had probably moved from one thing to another in their attempt to find happiness and purpose in life. They’ve moved between the god’s of the Babylonians, to the gods of the Assyrian and as far-fetched as it may sound they had even spent time with the gods of the Egyptians. I suppose it’s not a lot different from our own generation. We move from pleasure to possessions to prestige to power all in the hopes of making our lives more meaningful and rewarding. At the end we all wind up as the prodigal son! We’ve wasted our days and wasted our nights.

In Jeremiah 4:1-2, God repeats His plea to His people to simply give up on their own ways and means and come on home. There is only one God, the true God and the light of the world. These verses say, “If you return, O Israel, declares the Lord, to me you should return. If you remove your detestable things from my presence, and do not waver, and if you swear, ‘As the Lord lives,’ in truth, in justice, and in righteousness, then nations shall bless themselves in him and in him shall they glory.” God promises Israel that if they come home to Him the nations will come also. Ryken says, “This is a description of the nation’s joining in a united expression of joy and thanksgiving at the excellence and supremacy of the Lord who has made this provision for their salvation.”[2] Through a believing nation, a world could be won to faith in the one true God! That’s what will happen when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. I think this is part of what we’re praying for when we say “…thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

[1] John Guest and Lloyd J. Ogilvie, Jeremiah, Lamentations, vol. 19, The Preacher’s Commentary Series (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1988), 49–50.

[2] John L. Mackay, Jeremiah: An Introduction and Commentary: Chapters 1–20, vol. 1, Mentor Commentaries (Fearn, Ross-shire, Scotland: Mentor, 2004), 204.