Remember, O Lord, what has come upon us; look, and behold our reproach! Our inheritance has been turned over to aliens, and our houses to foreigners. We have become orphans and waifs, our mothers are like widows.
When she was little, she had followed her parents’ instructions faithfully, but she grew out of that phase pretty quickly. Even before becoming an independent adult, she was living life on her own terms. Eventually, her lifestyle would drive a wedge between herself and them, and they would feel the need to wash their hands of her for at least a time. Everyone in the family knew where she was and what she was up to, even if not everyone stayed in contact with her. When she realized that her way would lead to nothing good, she appealed to her parents for restoration. Her argument was not that she was good or deserving but simply that she was their daughter, and they would want better for her.
The Lord was aware of everything, and Jeremiah knew that. It looks like he was trying to bring very obvious facts to God’s attention, but he was not merely describing the state of Judah in a factual way. His goal was to get the Lord to have compassion and see what his people looked like in this light. Jeremiah’s argument was not that they deserved restoration but that this separation could not possibly be the fate the Lord had intended for his children. They disobeyed and turned from him, but He certainly intended to have an intimate relationship with them, and that is what Jeremiah was highlighting here. He wanted to remind God that it was in his hands whether He restored his children and brought them to the place He created them to occupy, a place where He wanted them to arrive.
I have pled with the Lord in times of despair, asking him to see how far I am from what He would want for me. I have driven myself into the clay and then asked him to save me not because I am worthy but because salvation for all is his desire. Jeremiah was asking God to consider what He wants for his people. This call for God’s intervention is a call for Judah to be restored to good standing because it would please the Lord. The people had brought this judgment upon themselves, but Jeremiah knew that this judgment’s end would be mercy and restoration. Father, be merciful when we stray, see how far we are from where You would have us be, and help us arrive at the place that pleases You.