There is nothing that you or I could ever do that would be too much for the Lord to forgive. However there is one absolute condition — we are required to own up to our sins. Whatever they are, however bad they seem, it doesn’t matter for how long or how deeply we have been in thrall to our sins, the only way out of their grip is to admit to them and confess them to the Lord himself. Here, in today’s passage, we have an explicit promise of mercy and forgiveness, but also we have the promise of a return home and a shepherding hand of guidance. It is not some vague idea that if you are a good person, you will go to heaven when you die. It is a direct promise that when you admit that you need the Lord and confess your failure to listen to him and obey him, he will not only have mercy on you and bring you back to the comfort and safety of home, but he will send shepherds he approves of to watch over you. Jesus is the ultimate shepherd from whom all christian pastors and teachers take their instruction and inspiration. What strikes me most is that even in your repentance, he doesn’t expect us to follow his commands without help and guidance. God is truly merciful to those who turn to him in repentance.
Jeremiah 3:12-15 NLT
Therefore, go and give this message to Israel. This is what the Lord says: “O Israel, my faithless people, come home to me again, for I am merciful. I will not be angry with you forever. Only acknowledge your guilt. Admit that you rebelled against the Lord your God and committed adultery against him by worshiping idols under every green tree. Confess that you refused to listen to my voice. I, the Lord, have spoken! “Return home, you wayward children,” says the Lord, “for I am your master. I will bring you back to the land of Israel — one from this town and two from that family— from wherever you are scattered. And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will guide you with knowledge and understanding.
Over the past few months I have felt more and more strongly called to serve the Lord with the whole of my life. In recent weeks I have begun to look into options that might be open to me for training as a minister. My goal today and over the next weeks and months will be to pray that this is indeed God’s true calling for me. Does he see me as a man who could be a shepherd after his own heart? Will he bless me with the knowledge and understanding to guide those who want to return home to Jesus and acknowledge him as Lord. This is a very personal goal prompted by my own feelings about any future career in ministry. However, the promise of the Lord’s mercy, when we confess our rebellion, is constantly and universally relevant. We can always find reasons to confess and ask for God’s mercy. I pray we might all start each day with confession and so be able to leave our sins behind us as we face the day with the Lord.
Jeremiah 2:31-4:18, Colossians 1:1-17, Psalms 76:1-12, Proverbs 24:21-22