The Promise of a New Covenant, Part 2

Jeremiah 31 (cont)

Verse 3 tells us that God saw the backslidden nation of Israel and the nation of Judah as a chaste virgin. This was anything but the truth. From Solomon’s time right down to the captivity after the reign of Zedekiah the people were flagrantly involved in pagan worship of the most perverse sort, even erecting images of their false gods in the temple itself. The whole imagery of a backsliding people was a metaphor of a wild ass in heat seeking many lovers in the wilderness and under every green tree. Yet God was looking at the people through they eye of mercy. He saw them and He sees us for what we can be. He looks past our sins and our own backslidings even as He told Abraham as a childless old man, saying in Gen. 17:5 “behold I have made thee a father of many nations…” God deals with us according to our potential. It doesn’t mean that He ignores our shortcomings or that there won’t be consequences, but He woos us with His goodness in order to deliver us from the looming tragedy of our own willfulness.

13 Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow. 14 And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the LORD. 15 Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, [and] bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they [were] not. 16 Thus saith the LORD; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the LORD; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. 17 And there is hope in thine end, saith the LORD, that thy children shall come again to their own border. 18 I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself [thus]; Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed [to the yoke]: turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou [art] the LORD my God.

19 Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon [my] thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth. 20 [Is] Ephraim my dear son? [is he] a pleasant child? for since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the LORD. 21 Set thee up waymarks, make thee high heaps: set thine heart toward the highway, [even] the way [which] thou wentest: turn again, O virgin of Israel, turn again to these thy cities. 22 How long wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter? for the LORD hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man. 23 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; As yet they shall use this speech in the land of Judah and in the cities thereof, when I shall bring again their captivity; The LORD bless thee, O habitation of justice, [and] mountain of holiness.

In verse 8 of our chapter the Father promises to bring the people out of captivity in the north country. That is a sure promise to the nation of Israel but what does that mean to us? Psalm 48:2 speaks of God sitting as king in the “sides of the north”. North represents God’s judgment and retribution upon the sinfulness of the people. God’s promise is to bring us out of the north and into a house of mercy. The north speaks of consequences imposed because of our own sin and iniquity, things that have happened to us because of our own willfulness. Be honest with yourself – have you ever found yourself in a bad situation of your own making? God did not put the people of God into a place of suffering, they put themselves there yet even in the situation they got themselves into He promises that He will return them to the place of blessing and He promises you to bring you out of the north – the place of consequences and judgment into the place of recovery and blessing, even at times when you haven’t yet learned the lessons of the wilderness. In verse 11 we see that this promise is to “redeem Jacob…” Jacob is the part of us that is untransformed by the power of the Cross. Jacob is that part of us that has yet to wrestle with the Lord and have our name changed – yet God is working even so to redeem and recover us to a place of blessing.

In verse 13 the Father promises to take our virgin soul and cause our “young man” and our “old man” to rejoice together and to turn our mourning into joy. The young man is your spirit, renewed in Christ. The old man is that natural part of our lives that God does not neglect. He is not exclusively only interested in our spiritual welfare but our natural welfare as well. His promise is to bring our spirit man and our natural man into agreement into a place of blessing and rejoicing because He has (v. 14) satisfied the priests with fatness and satisfied his people with His goodness. God wants to satisfy you in all areas of your life with His goodness and thereby according to Rom. 2:4,5 to bring us to repentance by His Spirit.

To Be Continued Next Week
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