Recently you repented and did what is right in my sight: Each of you proclaimed freedom to his countrymen. You even made a covenant before me in the house that bears my Name.
But now you have turned around and profaned my name; each of you has taken back the male and female slaves you had set free to go where they wished. You have forced them to become your slaves again.
“Therefore, this is what the Lord says: You have not obeyed me; you have not proclaimed freedom for your fellow countrymen. So I now proclaim ‘freedom’ for you, declares the Lord—‘freedom’ to fall by the sword, plague and famine. I will make you abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth.
God is in process of taking away the people of Israel and Judah to exile as slaves. But He sends Jeremiah to call the people to repentance, and they start getting back in lone with God’s will: they release slaves that were supposed to have been freed. And God promises blessing. But then they change their minds, and take back their slaves. They go back on theory promise to let them go, and God changes his blessing to a curse.
Sometimes in my life I have realized my sin and promised God that I would stop. I feel great and I start to see God blessing my life. But then, sometimes I go back to my sin anyway. I un-repent. And somehow I still feel like God is supposed to bless me. Maybe he is taking the blessing away until I repent again. Christ’s blood covers all sin, but the forgiveness is only there when we ask for it. And if we don’t, then God is completely justified in setting us free to the consequences of our sin: just like in v.17 (free to die by the sword, etc.).
LORD, let me be one who doesn’t promise one thing and then go right back to my sin. May I be one who follows up repentance with a commitment to follow you. Amen.