TODAY’S READING: Jeremiah 4–6
The Lord speaking through Jeremiah says to the shrinking Church of our day: “If you will return, O Israel…to Me, and if you will put away your abominations…you shall not be moved” (Jer. 4:1). This makes sense: If Israel repented, God would not punish them, and He would in fact bless them. If the church in the West repents, God will indeed stop (and reverse) the hemorrhaging. Yet, the text is so much richer and deeper than blessing to the family of God that repents, for Jeremiah 4 says that if Israel repents, “the nations shall bless themselves in Him, and in Him they shall glory” (vv. 1–2). Christopher Wright wrote:
In what Jeremiah actually does say, however, it feels as if he almost impatiently brushes that aside as self-evident (“Yes, of course, if Israel repents, Israel will be blessed”) and jumps ahead to a much wider perspective altogether. If Israel will return to their proper place of covenant loyalty and obedience, then God can get on with the job of blessing the nations, which is what Israel was called into existence for in the first place.
J. A. Thompson agreed: “It becomes clear that true repentance on Israel’s part would have far-reaching consequences not merely for Israel but also for mankind in general.” Revival in America (or in any nation where the Church once strong has started to decline) will have the consequence of all peoples finding life. Missionaries should pray fervently for revival in their homelands—it will bear fruit to their fields.
Fifty-thousand people walk out of church in America every week. That averages to 200,000 every month and 2.4 million each year leaving the faith of Father Abraham. We cry with Jeremiah: “O my soul, my soul! I am pained in my very heart” (v. 19). How do we possibly win the 2.7 million Berber Imazighen of Morocco to Jesus if we keep hemorrhaging 2.4 million of our own every year!?
The 2.4 million people leaving the American church each year is not just an affront to God—it’s a hindrance to the nations. It is in this context (revival leading to the nations coming to Jehovah) that we are told to break up our fallow ground (v. 3–4) or face the fury of the Father coming forth like fire. Fallow ground is space unused, potential not applied. It is pure evil not to use all our potential for the glory of God among all peoples—and that is true both corporately and personally.
 Christopher J. H. Wright. The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2006. 241.
 J. A. Thompson. The Book of Jeremiah. New International Commentary on the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980. 213.