2 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem:
“This is what the Lord says:
“‘I remember the devotion of your youth,
how as a bride you loved me
and followed me through the wilderness,
through a land not sown.
3 Israel was holy to the Lord,
the firstfruits of his harvest;
all who devoured her were held guilty,
and disaster overtook them,’”
declares the Lord.
(Jeremiah 2:1-3 NIV)
Jeremiah Chapter 1 was Jeremiah’s introduction and his call and commission into ministry.
As we begin Chapter 2, the focus switches to the nation of Israel. The word of the Lord comes to Jeremiah, and God tells Jeremiah to proclaim what he heard to the nation.
In verses 2 and 3 , God reminds His people of the relationship they had at the beginning of their time together, when God led them out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. God compares that time to the “honeymoon” phase of a marriage when the bride faithfully goes together with her husband on their new adventure and life.
Verse 2 specifically uses a female singular pronoun to identify the bride. This is translated “you” in the NIV. The Lord told Jeremiah to address Jerusalem (v. 1), referring to the city as the bride. It is important to note that Jerusalem was to ancient Israel what Washington DC is to the United States and Berlin is to Germany – the capital city, the central point of all activity for the nation, representing the entire nation.
In verse 3, the focus moves from Jerusalem the city to Israel the country. In the Hebrew, the pronoun shifts from feminine to masculine, as the reference to the nation is by its patriarch Israel (Jacob). The NIV translates the pronoun as “her”, keeping the context of the bride from verse 2.
The mention of “firstfruits” in verse 3 goes back to the agrarian tithing principles outlined by the Lord. The concept was that Israel would give the Lord the first of the crop each harvest. This was a step of faith on behalf of the nation, demonstrating that the Lord was their provider, and as their provider, He would give the rest of the harvest to them to meet their needs.
In this context, the “firstfruits” referred to the nation of Israel being God’s spiritual harvest, with the rest of the nations turning to God as well. Anyone who sought to steal the firstfruits (the nation of Israel) or the harvest (the other nations) from God would have God Himself to deal with. The intended thieves would be caught, tried, and dealt with swiftly and severely, with disastrous results.
May we remember the “young love and devotion” days when we first came to the Lord and renew our vows to our Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.
May we walk in faith with our Bridegroom who leads us and provides for us along our life journey.
May nothing and no one steal our joy in following Christ. That does not mean the absence of pain and hurt, but it does mean that we have a Savior that understands and comforts us along the way.