On my way through the Scriptures I just finished Jeremiah and Lamentations. Such a sad and pitiful thing to have been given the jewel of the Earth only to squander it. To be given every good thing and to have sold it for nothing.
The Lord of Heaven and Earth had brought His people into a land flowing with milk and honey and asked only for obedience and respect in return. And for His part He would be their Shepherd and protector and give them every blessing. However they were warned that if they would ever reject Him they would be cursed and rejected. But they would pay no heed.
Even in this promise of the curse the Lord would be gracious, He would send His prophets time and time again and call them to repent and avoid the penalty for their sins. Time after time after time after time, but to no avail.
Jeremiah comes on the scene in the nations final days. And even in the midst of the curse starting to fall upon his people Jeremiah calls to them in the name of the Lord to stop their slide and to repent. Again all to no avail. Even God tells Jeremiah not to pray for his people, that He has had enough
But in the midst of all this destruction that is falling on the people the brightness of blessing is declared. The Lord Himself will establish a new covenant with His people. A different covenant, not like that which He made when He brought them out of Egypt with a strong arm and great displays of miracles, a covenant which they ultimately rejected. This covenant would be written on their hearts, instead of an outward list of laws they were constrained to follow written on paper, this law would be written on their hearts.
Jeremiah 31:31-33 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”
This New Covenant is declared in the New Testament of our Bible. Jeremiah and all the prophets pleas to return to the Lord fell on deaf ears. But God promised hem a time when they would have ears to hear. Eyes to see.
Jeremiah 23:5-6 “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; And He will reign as king and act wisely And do justice and righteousness in the land. In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell securely; And this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The LORD our righteousness.'”
This finally came to pass 400 or so years later, when the promised Messiah, Jesus, came to His people in order to inaugurate this new covenant. But again, just like their fathers before them, God’s Word was rejected. Little did they suspect that this was according to plan, that the ultimate gift of salvation would be given to all mankind though the rejection of their Messiah, and the forgiveness of sins would be available to all people. The Lamb of God would take away the sins of the world.
The book of Jeremiah is a sad one to read, since it details painfully the final rejection of God’s message of hope, even though that hope would never be withdrawn. Within that graphic description of the destruction of “the daughter of my people” the seed of hope would lie. The new covenant would come, “the Lord our righteousness” would appear, the curse would be lifted ad the blessing realized.
Jeremiah 31:3-4 The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness. Again I will build you and you will be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel! Again you will take up your tambourines, And go forth to the dances of the merrymakers.”
Jeremiah 31:27-28 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man and with the seed of beast. As I have watched over them to pluck up, to break down, to overthrow, to destroy and to bring disaster, so I will watch over them to build and to plant,” declares the LORD.”
Even today the people of Israel, as a nation, continue to reject their Messiah, just as they have always rejected His Word. Put the remnant continues to be called out of every nation and tongue, and even from out of Israel. As they will forever be His people, and Jerusalem will forever be His city where His name dwells.
[Scriptures taken from the New American Standard Bible © 1995]