Today you should read: Jeremiah 17:19-27
Followers of Christ, take 30-seconds to meditate on the fact that all of your sin is completely forgiven—even the “big” sins. All of our idolatry, sexual sin, arrogance, addiction, and crimes are forgiven. The mistakes we’ve made in parenting are forgiven. The mistakes we made against our parents are forgiven. Every sin is forgiven. That’s a refreshing meditation, is it not?
In Jeremiah 17:19-27, Jeremiah recorded that the Lord told him to go and give some more warnings and accusations against Judah and Jerusalem. This time, the big focus seems to be their failure to observe the Sabbath. A general summary of the passage goes something like this: Jeremiah told them to keep the Sabbath. If they did, they would be blessed. If they didn’t keep it, they would face destruction. Verse 23 tells us that they stiffened their necks and did not listen to the warnings.
What is meant by “Sabbath” in this passage? Is Jeremiah literally telling them to keep the Sabbath as their forefathers were instructed? Or, was “Sabbath” being used to be symbolic of all the commands of the Lord in the Law? I tend to agree with many commentators that believe the latter. Here are a few examples of what some commentaries say about the Sabbath in this passage.
- The appearance of the Sabbath Day in this context “is a sign of the Mosaic Covenant.”—Broadman Bible Commentary
- Despite the prominence of the Sabbath regulation here, one gets the impression that the Fourth Commandment of the Decalogue stands here as a synecdoche for the whole Mosaic Law.—Coffman’s Commentaries on the Bible
- Sabbath-hallowing is intended as a symbol of holiness in general .—Commentary Critical and Explanatory On the Whole Bible
By breaking the Sabbath, they’d broken the entire law of the Lord. I believe it’s been obvious as we’ve been reading Jeremiah that the Israelites have broken the law of the Lord over and over again in major ways. Verse 23 reminds us that they, once again, stiffened their neck and were not willing to be corrected. In other words, they were unwilling to repent.
I love verses 24-26 because they remind me of what I asked you to meditate on at the beginning of today’s Jumpstart. After all the idolatry and all the “big” sins that the Israelites were guilty of, God told them that if they’d listen and keep the Sabbath then they would be blessed. God was willing to completely forgive all their sin and restore fellowship if they would repent and surrender and keep the Sabbath. Another way to put it is to say that God was willing to forgive ALL if they were willing to surrender ALL.
That’s exactly what happened to us. Jesus offered complete forgiveness of ALL our sin, when we were willing to surrender ALL of ourselves to Him. Surrendering entails receiving forgiveness as well as handing over every aspect of my life to Jesus. I break the Sabbath, so to speak, every day, but I am thankful that God is willing to see Jesus in me instead of my sin and failures just like He was willing to forgive the Israelites who broke the Sabbath.
Posted by: Rich Duffield