Jeremiah 30-31: New Covenant
October 12, 2020
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Jeremiah 30-31, Ecclesiastes 9, John 4:15-26, James 5:13-20
Jeremiah is now told that God will restore Israel (30:3). So certain is this restoration to come that he is to make sure that he writes the words of his prophecy “in a book” (30:2). The words of God’s prophets were meant to be recorded for our use. So, the yoke that has been put around their shoulders will, in time to come, be broken (30:8), for God is with them to “save” them (30:11). He will “discipline” them, but in “just measure” (30:11), and there will be a restoration:
“For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the Lord….” (Jeremiah 30:17)
There will be again “songs of thanksgiving” (30:19). The reason for all this is finally God’s love:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.” (Jeremiah 31:3)
And they are to note well now that they are to return, remembering the way back from exile (31:21). All this is good news, of course, and it gives Jeremiah a “pleasant” sleep (31:26). But there is a yet more remarkable aspect to this. Israel’s return is not simply a restoration, but it is the start of a “new covenant” that will come (31:31), the fulfillment of the Old. This New Covenant is to be marked by a new intimacy between God and his people, a new closeness of relationship, and a new willingness to follow God from the heart:
I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people… for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 31:33-34)
God’s discipline is always intended to bring us good, not harm. He disciplines us for our good (Hebrews 12:11). This should encourage us towards holiness: “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). It also moves us to gratitude—that we, who live in the era of the New Covenant, can have, by God’s Spirit, a special intimacy with God, and the law written on our hearts.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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