The context of this passage is that Isel, God’s people have lost God’s Word. They have functionally been keeping up with their religious worship, such as sacrifices (Jeremiah 6:20). But they were not being guided by God’s Word, for God’s Word was lost in some dusty corner of the temple. (According to Israel’s history, King Josiah had just found the Pentateuch, but the people still didn’t want to follow what God had to say.) In this passage, God, through Jeremiah, is calling His people back to follow God’s Word that was lost. I think that it is important at this time to be reminded that the Bible is not just a rulebook as we so often make it out to be. It is God’s revelation of Himself and His actions, as well as His revelation of redemption in the Messiah. Without Scripture, we cannot know how we can be redeemed, how we can enjoy and be satisfied in God’s presence, how we should respond to the worth of our God. The result of following God’s word is that we will find rest in Him.
When we reject God’s Word, something else has to take its place. So often I find that we, in rejecting the truth and hope of God’s Word, begin to listen and make our decisions based upon our sinful heart through the influence of the world around us. In this, we try to find our hope and our meaning for life and our redemption in vain, fleeting things. But as this passage says, when we walk in God’s word, not the ways of the world, will we “find rest for our souls.”
As we reflect upon this in our lives, we ought to repent of refusing to walk in God’s word. But as we turn in repentance to God and His Word, we should also be reminded of Jeremiah 17:14. “Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise.” Our point of rest and hope is in God’s faithfulness to forgive, and in God’s healing. As we cry out to God in repentance, trusting in Christ alone for our salvation, God heals our hearts from all our iniquities.
– Confession from Sunday, February 11