When we talk about God and His plan of salvation we often confuse God’s patience and repeated calls to repentance with His not caring about sin. Such a conclusion would be a mistake because God hates sin and the consequences of sin are terrible and eternal. That is why God repeatedly tries to call all people back to him. His plan has never been to catch as many people as He can doing wrong and condemn them for it. He certainly gets no joy out of condemning anyone. Instead His plan is to patiently call all people to repent of their sins and to send His Son into the world to die for those sins. If people still prefer to go their own way, God reluctantly will grant them their disastrous wish.
King Josiah, whom we will read about this week, heard God’s patient call to turn away from false gods and he answered that call not just with words but with his actions. Indeed, Josiah is one of the greatest examples of repentance found in the Bible. His family and the rest of Judah on the other hand are another story. As soon as Josiah is dead they go right back to worshiping false gods and doing the things which God had expressly forbidden. Through the prophet Jeremiah, whose warnings we will read this week as well, God continues to call them back just as He did their father but they don’t listen. What they don’t realize is that just because God is very patient, does not mean He will put off punishment forever. Amazingly, even when God threatens judgment, He continues to pledge that He will not forget His people or His promise to send a Savior. A Savior who, as we will see on Sunday, will issue in a new covenant. This new covenant will not rely on Israel’s or our ability to keep it but on God’s faithfulness.