I mentioned yesterday that Jeremiah speaks to a wayward people by using 10 images. I suggested that by mentioning Jerusalem itself an ugly image of infidelity was invoked. The next couple of verses speak clearly about the suffering of a 16 faithfulbroken covenant relationship. But he begins painting his picture by seeing the wedding day and the happy couple in love with each other. Jeremiah writes in Jeremiah 2:2-3, “I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown. Israel was holy to the LORD, the firstfruits of his harvest. All who ate of it incurred guilt; disaster came upon them, declares the LORD.” There are two things that God remembers.

First, He remembered how His bride (Israel) loved Him in the beginning. Constance writes, “He remembered their devotion and first love for Him. Israel’s love, warmth, and purity marked their relationship with their God. It was a pleasant and precious remembrance. He remembered how they followed Him through tough places in the wilderness.”[1] However these fond memories made the reality of their infidelity even more painful to God. Back in Genesis six, before God sent the flood, the text said that when God looked down upon the violence of man, “His heart was filled with pain” (See NIV). In reflecting on God’s relationship with man, there is an ever present truth that God is always the faithful one and man is always the unfaithful one. You might say in a human sense that God is always the one who gets hurt.

The second thing God remembered is that He fulfilled His role as Israel’s husband as he brought them from Egypt into the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey. He guided and protected them against all enemies. Those who attempted to harm His bride He sent disaster upon them. Let me share an observation that Mackay makes regarding the Hebrew word for “remember.” He writes, “The root zākar frequently involves more than mental recollection: there is also action appropriate to that recall. … The Lord pledged that whenever he would see the rainbow, he would remember his covenant with Noah and take action to ensure that there will never again be such a flood (Gen. 9:15). So here, the Lord as the covenant king of the people, and also as the one who is married to them, recalls their behavior with a view to fulfilling his obligations in the relationship.”[2] Even though they were unfaithful to Him, the picture that strikes me is that He doesn’t think about being unfaithful to them. Instead, He remembers His vows and rededicates Himself to them. It reminds me of Paul’s word to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:13. It says, “…if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.”

[1] Mrs. T. M. Constance, Jeremiah, vol. 1 (Dickson, TN: Explorer’s Bible Study, 1978), 11.

[2] John L. Mackay, Jeremiah: An Introduction and Commentary: Chapters 1–20, vol. 1, Mentor Commentaries (Fearn, Ross-shire, Scotland: Mentor, 2004), 127.