Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 2:31-4:9 / Philippians 2:12-30 / Psalm 115:12-18
On the surface, faithless and unfaithful look the same yet there is a notable difference that God defines through the prophet Jeremiah. A person who is faithless is one who has no faith, trust, reliance in something or someone. “Faithless” defines someone who has lost faith or has no faith. A person who is unfaithful is one who has not honored their declaration/commitment to faith, trust, reliance in something or someone. “Unfaithful” defines someone who has compromised faith.
The nation of Israel became a divided country. Two southern tribes joined together and were referred to as “Judah”. Ten northern tribes aligned themselves and were referred to as “Israel”. The northern tribes turned against God in complete rebellion, rejection and spiritual adultery.
God speaks of Israel, “Have you seen what faithless Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree and has committed adultery there.” (Jeremiah 3:6) Pagan gods and heathen altars were strategically placed in the shade of expansive trees and on the high elevations of Israel. The Israelites abandoned God’s covenant and completely denied their faith in God. They never returned to God and He gave them a “spiritual bill of divorcement” as they placed their faith in other gods.
On the other hand, Judah remained true to the ways of the Lord and experienced great reform/revival during the reign of King Josiah. They saw Israel taken into captivity because they lost faith in God yet Judah did not learn from Israel’s faithlessness. Judah followed the ways of Israel, committing spiritual adultery as they worshiped idols and other gods.
Judah did return to The Lord but their words of repentance were empty, without works and a whole heart. God said of them, “… Judah did not return to me with all her heart, but only in pretense.” (3:10) They did not lose their faith in God… they compromised their faith. They were hypocritical as they declared their loyalty but failed to live out their loyalty. The practice did not line up with their proclamation.
For this reason, God brought greater judgment on Judah. Their unfaithfulness was considered a greater detriment than Israel’s faithlessness. God said, “Faithless Israel is more righteous than unfaithful Judah.” (3:11) He is merciful and longsuffering yet He will not tolerate unfaithfulness. God requires us to be all in or all out…”I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!” (Revelation 3:15)
We cannot be deceived into thinking religion by words is a substitute for a divine relationship with a personal Savior. God calls us to live above faithlessness and unfaithfulness…we are called to be faithful!