Jeremiah 3:6–4:4, Repent and Be Restored

In 1988, Jimmy Swaggart was caught with a prostitute. He was famous. On television. Known worldwide as an evangelist and preacher. He was initially suspended for three months, then the Assemblies of God suspended him for two years. When he resumed preaching after three months, the Assemblies of God defrocked him.

In 1991 he was stopped by a police officer in California with a prostitute in the car. He told the church he continued to serve that the Lord told him it was none of their business and temporarily stepped down from ministry.

Jimmy Swaggart is famous, so a lot of people know about him. There are many ministers who fall into sexual sin. It is all too common for ministers who aren’t famous to fall out of ministry because of sexual sin. It is all too common for Christians who aren’t ministers to fall into sexual sin.

In Jeremiah 3 Jeremiah is warning the Southern Kingdom of Judah by pointing to what happened in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Jeremiah wants Judah to learn from what happened to Israel before it’s too late, before like Israel, Judah is destroyed. We want to learn from the sins of others before we commit them ourselves.

We need to see the consequence of sin and the rewards of repentance and faithfulness. We need to learn from the fall of other ministers before it’s too late in our case. People who fall into sexual sin accumulate a series of small transgressions that they don’t turn from, and the small sins build to big ones.

Jeremiah’s message in Jeremiah 3:6–4:4 is that Judah should look at what happened to the northern kingdom, Israel. Jeremiah is calling the southern kingdom, Judah, to repent of the little sins that will add up to the big exile.

This is a beautiful passage in which Yahweh promises to bless Israel if they repent. Specifically, in Jeremiah 3:22, the Lord declares that if they will return to him he will heal them.

Do you want the healing?
Healing full and free –
Won’t you come to Jesus?
Come the Savior see –

Do you want the freedom?
Loosed from all your chains –
Won’t you call upon him?
Speak the Savior’s name –

He will wash you fully.
Take away your stain –
Won’t you have the joy he
Showers where he reigns?

At several points in this passage Jeremiah alludes to the way that God saved Israel in the past to point to the way that he will save them in the future. Interesting to see the use of the OT in the OT (an OT author, Jeremiah, using earlier OT Scripture). You can hear all about it here: Jeremiah 3:6–4:4, Repent and Be Restored.

4 Responses to Jeremiah 3:6–4:4, Repent and Be Restored

  1. Dean Olive September 27, 2011 at 11:27 am #

    Can you tell me about the hymn you quote? Did you write it? Is there a tune that goes with it? The lines are lovely but I don’t know any tunes with that meter, that I am able to figure out. I appreciate your ministry very much. Your books are my instructors.

    • JMH September 27, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

      Thanks Dean,

      I wrote it, but I haven’t put a tune to it. Feel free to do so!

      Thanks for your kind words,

      Jim

      • Dean Olive September 28, 2011 at 10:31 am #

        There are two tunes that I have found that fit your hymn quiet well. Perhaps you have already tried them. One is Derby (in some hymnbooks it is called Bemorton), the other is Quietude. Both are 65.65 tunes and are perfect. I have modified a new Common Meter tune that fits it too. I will send it to you. I really like the hymn. I first thought that the last two lines should be made into an exclamation but the more I look at it, the more I like the question form – it lingers in the mind. I am no expert on hymns but I really like this one.

        • JMH September 28, 2011 at 11:07 am #

          Encouraging, thanks!

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