Lent is a time of repentance and contemplation of God’s great mercy to us in Jesus. Jeremiah has a particularly striking picture of God’s anger over sin and how he waits and listens for repentance and confession so that he can forgive. There is, in an eerie way, a picture of what our life with God should be. In pronouncing God’s judgement Jeremiah in chapter 8 says, “The Lord declares, “At that time the bones of the kings and the leaders of Judah, the bones of the priests and the prophets, and the bones of the others who lived in Jerusalem will be taken out of their graves. 2 They will be spread out and exposed to the sun, the moon, and all the stars in the sky. These are the things that they had loved, served, gone after, sought, and worshiped. Their bones will not be gathered or buried, but they will become manure on the ground.” They had been worshipping the moon goddess and the sun god etc. and Jeremiah was to show them their sin and lead them to confess and repent.
In that scary scenario is the template for how human beings should deal with God. They should love Him, serve Him, go after Him, seek Him, and worship Him. They don’t and repentance is the only answer. But these people will not repent. There is a few verses later a sad commentary from God concerning the lack of repentance that he keeps urging.
Even storks know when it’s time to return. Mourning doves, swallows, and cranes know when it’s time to migrate.But my people don’t know that I, the Lord, am urging them to return.
How can they not know? Because they refuse to listen to the voice that urges.
Jesus himself in Jerusalem cries and says, “How often have I wanted to gather you as a hen gathers her chicks but you would not”.
God wants repentance a speaking back to Him in contrition and faith.
“Confession is this “speaking aright” which God desires to hear from us. Now, this confession is so
acceptable to God because it glorifies his holiness and his love. His holiness ; for the sinner has come to see sin as God sees it, and hence to hate and abhor it. He is of one mind with God about it as he never was before. And his love ; for confession casts itself in faith upon a love that is deeper than its sin. Deep as is God’s abhorrence of sin, the sinner in confession appeals to and lays hold on a love that is deeper still. Hence, when the sinner makes his sincere confession before God, he is at once right out of “the far country,” and home in the heart of God. The robe, the ring, the shoes, are put upon him; the feast is prepared, and the merry- making, the joy in the presence of the angels of God, at once begins”. (From The Pulpit Commentary Volume 5)