Jeremiah 3

1“If a man divorces his wife, and she leaves him and marries another man, can that man come back to his wife again? No! If that man went back to that woman, then that land would become 'dirty.’ Judah, you acted like a prostitute with many lovers ˻(false gods)˼. And now you want to come back to me!” This message was from the Lord. 2“Look up to the bare hilltops, Judah. Is there any place where you have not had sex with your lovers ˻(false gods)˼? You have sat by the road waiting for lovers, like an Arab waiting in the desert. You made the land 'dirty’! How? You did many bad things and you were unfaithful to me. 3You sinned, so the rain has not come. There have not been any springtime rains. But still you refuse to be ashamed. The look on your face is like the look that a prostitute has when she refuses to be ashamed. You refuse to be ashamed of what you did. 4But now you are calling me, 'Father.’ You said, 'You have been my friend since I was a child.’ 5You also said, 'God will not always be angry at me. God’s anger will not continue forever.’ “Judah, you say those things, but you do as much evil as you can.” 6The Lord spoke to me during the time King Josiah was ruling the nation of Judah. The Lord said: “Jeremiah, you saw the bad things that Israel did? You saw how she was unfaithful to me. She did the sin of adultery with idols on every hill and under every green tree. 7I said to myself, 'Israel will come back to me after she has finished doing these evil things.’ But she did not come back to me. And Israel’s unfaithful sister, Judah, saw what she did. 8Israel was unfaithful and Israel knew why I sent her away. Israel knew that I divorced her because she did the sin of adultery. But that did not make her unfaithful sister afraid. Judah, was not afraid. Judah also went out and acted like a prostitute. 9Judah did not care that she was acting like a prostitute. So she made her country 'dirty.’ She did the sin of adultery by worshiping idols made out of stone and wood. 10Israel’s unfaithful sister (Judah) did not come back to me with her whole heart. She only pretended that she came back to me.” This message was from the Lord. 11The Lord said to me, “Israel was not faithful to me. But she had a better excuse than unfaithful Judah. 12Jeremiah, look toward the north and speak this message: 'Come back, you faithless people of Israel.’ This message was from the Lord. 'I will stop frowning at you. I am full of mercy.’ This message was from the Lord. 'I will not be angry with you forever. 13But you must recognize your sin. You turned against the Lord your God. That is your sin. You worshiped the idols of people from other nations. You worshiped those idols under every green tree. You did not obey me.’” This message was from the Lord. 14“You people are unfaithful. But Come back to me!” This message was from the Lord. “I am your Master. I will take one person from every city and two people from every family and bring you to Zion. 15Then I will give you new rulers. Those rulers will be faithful to me. They will lead you with knowledge and understanding. 16In those days, there will be many of you in the land.” This message is from the Lord. “At that time, people will never again say, 'I remember the days when we had the Box of the Lord’s Agreement.’ They won’t even think about the Holy Box anymore. They won’t even remember or miss it. They will never make another Holy Box. 17At that time, the city of Jerusalem will be called the 'Lord’s Throne.’ All nations will come together in the city of Jerusalem to give honor to the name of the Lord. They won’t follow their stubborn, evil hearts anymore. 18In those days, the family of Judah will join the family of Israel. They will come together from a land in the north. They will come to the land I gave to their ancestors. 19“I, the Lord, said to myself, 'I want to treat you like my own children. I want to give you a pleasant land, a land more beautiful than any other nation.’ I thought that you would call me 'Father.’ I thought that you would always follow me. 20But you have been like a woman that is unfaithful to her husband. Family of Israel, you have been unfaithful to me!” This message was from the Lord. 21You can hear crying on the bare hills. The people of Israel are crying and praying for mercy. They became very evil. They forgot the Lord their God. 22˻The Lord also said,˼ “People of Israel, you are unfaithful to me. But come back to me! Come back and I will forgive you for being unfaithful to me.” ˻The people should say,˼ ”Yes, we will come to you. You are the Lord our God. 23It was foolish to worship idols on the hills. All the loud parties on the mountains were wrong. Surely the salvation of Israel comes from the Lord our God. 24That terrible false god Baal has eaten everything our fathers owned. This has happened since we were children. That terrible false god took our fathers’ sheep and cattle, and their sons and daughters. 25Let us lie down in our shame. Let our shame cover us like a blanket. We have sinned against the Lord our God. We and our fathers have sinned. We have not obeyed the Lord our God from the time we were children.”

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