“The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.” Jer 18:7-10
God is explaining universal principles to Jeremiah and Judah, that apply in all times and in all places. The principle is, blessing and benefit follows righteousness or obedience; cursing and destruction follows sin, evil, or disobedience (Deu 28), and not only for Israel, but for any nation — Nineveh repenting at the preaching of Jonah proved that. Notice how God defines righteousness and sin: righteousness is obedience to His voice, evil is disobedience to His voice. What has God voiced?
And Moses called all Israel, and said to them: “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your hearing today, that you may learn them and be careful to observe them. The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. The LORD did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, those who are here today, all of us who are alive. The LORD talked with you face to face on the mountain from the midst of the fire. I stood between the LORD and you at that time, to declare to you the word of the LORD; for you were afraid because of the fire, and you did not go up the mountain. He said:” Deu 5:1-5
(The recitation of the Ten Commandments.) Deu 5:6-21
“These words the LORD spoke to all your assembly, in the mountain from the midst of the fire, the cloud, and the thick darkness, with a loud voice; and He added no more. And He wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me.” Deu 5:22
It is in the Torah that God declared His will, that He voiced His commandments that defined for man what is righteousness and sin, good and evil.
Now therefore, speak to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, “Thus says the LORD: Behold, I am fashioning a disaster and devising a plan against you. Return now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.” And they said, “That is hopeless! So we will walk according to our own plans, and we will every one obey the dictates of his evil heart.” Jer 18:11-12
“Return” is in Hebrew, shuv, Strong’s H7725, that we have seen before. Turn back, again secure yourself to the house that you have left — the Father’s house (Luk 15:11-32). We do this by repentance (teshuvah) — cease doing the things the LORD defines as evil, and begin doing the things the LORD defines as good. We must take our definition of good and evil from Torah, and not from what we have been told by man, or the dictates of our own hearts.
Our nation, the United States of America, has historically been a nation founded on the rule of law derived from Torah’s definitions of right and wrong. Our Christian forefathers rested on Sabbath and all the rest of it. The first Thanksgiving the Puritans held at Plymouth was a week- long celebration following harvest, because God commanded Israel to observe a feast for a week following harvest, called the Feast of Tabernacles. They did the things they did because they were seeking to apply the commands of all of God’s Word to their lives, including Torah. It is only modern Christianity that has discarded Torah, to our own hurt, and to to the blaspheming of the name of God among the Gentiles.
We are in the season of repentance right now, from the new moon of the 6th biblical month to the Day of Atonement. We can repent of allowing man to define for us what is righteousness and sin; we can repent of following the dictates of our own hearts; we can repent of being ignorant of God’s Word in Torah and of God’s definition of righteousness and sin. We can turn, and secure ourselves again to our Father’s house. Let us learn from the example of Israel that is recorded in Jeremiah, and let us not stiffen our necks as Judah did. We know that destruction came upon Judah which they could not escape. Let us fear the awesomeness and holiness of our great God, and let us not trample His grace and mercy underfoot. If even ten righteous men were found in Sodom, God would relent of the destruction He had planned for it. Let His church obey His voice and be those righteous men!