I am beginning work in Jeremiah for a class I teach next spring. It is a heartbreaking read. We get the prophets and our view of God in the Old Testament so wrong much of the time. This isn’t a letter from an angry, wrath-filled God. These are words from a jilted lover. It’s a broken-hearted husband!
He longs to bring them home and treat them well, but if Israel doesn’t repent, it’s no use. Repentance demonstrates what we’ve doing and thinking has not brought the abundance we thought. It is an acknowledgement that what we called “steak dinners” and “fine wine” all this time have turned out to be Twinkies and Hi-C. And we’re full of disease and brokenness. Repentance is an acknowledgement of reality. And then a turning toward TRUE Kingdom reality.
Repentance is absolutely necessary. Otherwise, we keep eating the Twinkies and thinking we’re healthy and attractive and “God understands.”