The Book of JEREMIAH
James J. Barker

Lesson 4

Text: JEREMIAH 3:6-25


  1. Last week we looked at Jeremiah's first recorded sermon (2:1--3:5). We noted that Jeremiah's emphasis was on returning from backsliding (cf. 2:19).
  2. Tonight we will look at Jeremiah's second message. We will not look at the entire message because it starts here at Jeremiah 3:6 and continues all the way to 6:30. That's a long message, so tonight we will just deal with chapter 3.
  3. The Scofield Study Bible says this about Jeremiah's second message:

The general character of the second message to Judah is:

  1. of reproach that the example of Jehovah's chastening of the northern kingdom (II Kings 17:1-18) had produced no effect upon Judah, e.g. Jeremiah 3:6-10.
  2. of warning of a like chastisement impending over Judah, e.g. Jeremiah 3:15-17.
  3. of touching appeals to return to Jehovah, e.g. Jeremiah 3:12-14.
  4. of promises of final national restoration and blessing, e.g. Jeremiah 3:16-18.



  1. The Scofield Study Bible says that Jehovah's chastening of the northern kingdom (II Kings 17:1-18) had produced no effect upon Judah (Jeremiah 3:6-10).
  2. Israel started backsliding first (3:6). Israel "played the harlot" (3:6), a reference to spiritual adultery and to idolatry (cf. 2:20; 3:1-3).
  3. When Assyria conquered the northern kingdom of Israel in 722 BC, the southern kingdom of Judah saw the judgment of God upon their northern "sister" (3:8).
  4. God "divorced" Israel, and the northern tribes became amalgamated by the Assyrians and other heathen nations.
  5. This is recorded in II Kings 17:5-41.
  6. When we come to the New Testament we see that the Samaritans are a people thoroughly confused and mixed-up.  That is why our Lord said to the Samaritan woman at the well, "Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews" (John 4:22).



  1. Notice in verse 6, the LORD said, "Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done?" The LORD wanted Judah to understand He would judge Judah the same way He judged Israel.
  2. God told Israel to repent, but Israel refused to repent. Verse 7 says, "And her treacherous sister Judah saw it."
  3. Judah is referred to as Israel's "treacherous sister" in verses 7, 8, 10, and 11.
  4. When the LORD gave Israel "a bill of divorce," Judah should have taken notice and repented, but verse 8 says, "yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also."
  5. "Yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not" (3:8). There was no fear of God, and so the backslidden people continued to "play the harlot."
  6. Judah thought backsliding was a "light" thing" -- "And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom..." (3:9).
  7. The New King James Version says, "So it came to pass, through her casual harlotry, that she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and trees."
  8. It was a "light" thing to Judah, so she continued with her "casual harlotry," defiling the land with her spiritual adultery, and worshipping stones and trees.
  9. Tree worship is very popular today. I googled these two words: "tree worship" and there were 38,200,000 results!
  10. Dan Halloran is a Republican member of the NYC Council, and he represents the 19th District, in Queens. Mr. Halloran was raised Roman Catholic, but now he describes himself as a "pagan" and a "heathen," and admits he worships "the gods and goddesses and spirits of the land."
  11. In other words, he is worshipping demons.
  12. God says this behaviour is "treacherous" (3:7, 8, 10, 11, 20), i.e., deceitful and faithless and perfidious.
  13. God calls this false and idolatrous worship an "abomination" (2:7).
  14. Ironically, many modern-day "tree worshippers" call them themselves "environmentalists," but they themselves are polluted because idolatry is a vile and disgusting form of pollution (cf. 2:23).



  1. We saw this back in Jeremiah's first message (cf. 2:9; 3:1b, 4). "Return" is a key word in Jeremiah's preaching (3:12, 22; 4:1; 5:3; 8:4, 5, etc.).
  2. This theme is continued into Jeremiah's second message. "And I said after she had done all these things, Turn thou unto me. But she returned not. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it" (3:7; cf. 3:10, 12-14).
  3. Two words go together -- return and repent (cf. 3:13). Judah needed to "acknowledge" their sin.
  4. Israel and Judah were terribly backslidden, but the LORD in His grace and mercy and longsuffering says to them in verse 22, "Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings."
  5. "Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the LORD our God" (3:22b). Israel and Judah will repent when the Lord returns (3:22-25; cf. Zech. 12:10).
  6. This brings us to our last (and very important) point.



  1. When we study the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah, and the other prophets, we notice that this theme runs throughout their messages -- Israel will be restored and Jerusalem will once again be their capitol (3:16-19).
  2. To get a complete picture of the restoration of Israel, one must carefully study all of the many prophecies in both the Old and New Testament.
  3. Quoting Isaiah 45:17 and 59:20, the apostle Paul says in Romans 11:26, "And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob."
  4. It takes time to study these amazing Old Testament prophecies, but tonight we will just consider a few of them from Jeremiah 3:16-19. Jeremiah gives more details about the future tribulation and millennium in chapters 30 and 31.
  5. Jeremiah 3:16 says there will be no ark of the covenant in the temple during the millennial kingdom.
  6. Hollywood made a popular movie called, "Raiders of the Lost Ark," but the ark is not lost -- it is in the temple in heaven (Rev. 11:19).
  7. "At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it" (3:17a). Isaiah 2 says the LORD's house shall be established in Jerusalem, and all nations shall flow unto it.
  8. "In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel" (3:18a). Ezekiel's vision of the dry bones in Ezekiel 37 is a fascinating prophecy describing the reunion of Judah and Israel.
  9. Ezekiel 37:22 says, "And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all."
  10. "Thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from me" (3:19b). This is not taught in the Old Testament, though it is in the New Testament.
  11. "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name" (John 1:12).
  12. J. Vernon McGee says, "No individual Israelite ever called God his Father. He was a Father to the nation of Israel, and He said 'Israel is my son' (Exodus 4:22). But, He never called David His son; He said, 'David my servant' (Ps. 89:3). He never called Moses His son; He called him, 'Moses my servant' (Josh. 1:2). It is only in this day of grace that we are called the sons of God. How privileged we are today!" (Thru the Bible).
  13. The Scofield Study Bible says, "Doubtless the believing Israelite was born anew (cf. John 3:3, 5 with Luke 13:28), but the O.T. Scriptures show no trace of the consciousness of personal sonship. The explanation is given in Galatians 4:1-7. The Israelite, though a child, 'differed nothing from a servant.' The Spirit, as the 'Spirit of His Son,' could not be given to impart the consciousness of sonship until redemption had been accomplished (Gal. 4:4-6).
  14. During the millennial kingdom, restored, repentant, redeemed, regenerate Israelites will call on the LORD and say, "My father," and they shall not turn away from the LORD anymore.



  1. There is an interesting statement in Jeremiah 3:10, "And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the LORD."
  2. This is the only time we see the word feignedly in the Bible. It means "deceitfully" or "fraudulently."
  3. It suggests Judah turned back to God but only half-heartedly; not "with her whole heart" (3:10).
  4. J. Vernon McGee thinks this refers to the half-hearted reformation and revival during the reign of King Josiah (cf. Jer. 1:2; II Kings 22 & 23).
  5. Dr. McGee says, "The revival under King Josiah was a revival -- there is no question about it. Many people turned to God. But it was so popular that for many it was nothing but a surface return to God. By and large, as far as the nation was concerned, it was a superficial experience with God" (Thru the Bible).
  6. H.A. Ironside said, "The king, and many more associated with him in the revival that was then beginning, were doubtless real; but there were not wanting those, as Ananias and Sapphira in the early days of the Church, who sought a reputation for piety and devotedness while never truly separated from the abounding iniquity. This is a great snare, and only too common in our own day. It is, in fact, the very essence of Laodiceanism. Lukewarmness in divine things is treachery against Christ. Better to be cold than this."

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