Sunday: “Return, O Backsliding Children”

The history of the people of Israel is filled with stories of disobedience and anarchy, followed by a return to God and obedience, and then followed again with more disobedience and conflicts. This pattern repeats itself over and over. Each time God’s people consciously followed His will, they were blessed with peace and life.

Disobedience

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Each time they disobeyed and followed their own ways, their lives became miserable, filled with wars and conflicts. Even before Israel entered the Promised Land, God had predicted this pattern and offered the solution to avoid such dire consequences to their existence.

Read Deuteronomy 28:1-14. What blessings would come to Israel if the people were obedient to God’s will?

Read Jeremiah 3:14-18. What do we learn from God’s call to Israel to repent and return to Him? What does it tell us about God’s love and patience for His people?

What is amazing in the book of Jeremiah is how God is seen as loving, merciful, and generous toward His people in spite of their rebellion, division, and idolatry. God constantly is inviting His people to return to Him and to repent from their wayward actions. Again and again God promised restoration and hope for the future.

“Return, backsliding Israel”, says the LORD; “I will not cause My anger to fall on you. For I am merciful”, says the LORD; “I will not remain angry forever. Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have transgressed against the LORD your God, and have scattered your charms to alien deities under every green tree, and you have not obeyed My voice”, says the LORD” (Jer. 3:12-13, NKJV).

Jeremiah’s words were spoken at a time of general neglect of God’s Word. Although some reforms were started in the time of King Josiah, most people felt no spiritual urge to continue in faithful obedience to God. Their sins, idolatry, and self-centered lives were causing spiritual and political ruin. The more they regressed from doing God’s will, the more dreadful would be their future prospects. Yet, through Jeremiah, God pleaded with them. God had a better future in mind for them, and He longed to bring them back to prosperity, unity, and health. But this could come only if they would live by faith and all that true faith entails.

What has the difference between obedience and disobedience meant in your own life?
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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons