In this study of Jeremiah chapter three, we look at backsliding; what it truly is as well as its cause and cure. When I hear the term backsliding, it makes me think of someone who has accidently fell and slid down a hill but, as we shall see, that is not how God sees it.
"'If a man divorces his wife and she leaves him and marries another man, should he return to her again? Would not the land be completely defiled? But you have lived as a prostitute with many lovers - would you now return to me?' declares the Lord." NIV translation
In chapter two, we saw how Israel had chased after several world powers to help them instead of God. Their actions were compared to the actions of a prostitute and that continues here. Even though it does not make sense for the husband to take back the cheating wife, we know that God stands waiting for His people to return to Him. The same is true for us, in that, no matter how far we have strayed God stands ready to welcome us back.
"'Look up to the barren heights and see. Is there any place where you have not been ravished? By the roadside you sat waiting for lovers, sat like a nomad in the desert. You have defiled the land with your prostitution and wickedness.'" NIV translation
God tells them that they have sunken so low that they have even defiled the land. A land that had been established based on God's words and His leading, has now become the home of idolatry.
"'Therefore the showers have been withheld, and no spring rains have fallen. Yet you have the brazen look of a prostitute; you refuse to blush with shame.'" NIV translation
Because of their idolatry, God has removed His hand of provision from the land and stopped the rain. That is true even today as the land of Israel is a very dry place and you can almost hear the land cry out for the people to turn to Jesus and be healed. We see, here, that what makes the idolatry even worse is the fact that they do not even feel shame but instead walk around with their heads held high.