Friday, August 21, 2015

A Beloved Child

Jeremiah 31:10-30

“Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.  For the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he.   Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the LORD, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all.

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.  And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 31:10-14)

God has no intention of breaking his promise to Abraham.  Though he has caused them to be scattered throughout the countries of the world because they have broken their contract with him.  One day the world will see God bring Israel back, defeating the nations that defeated them.  They will enjoy an abundance of food and drink, with healthy flocks and flourishing businesses.  When he does, they will never again face deprivation or sorrow.  The churches will not be struggling financially, and the people will be satisfied with what they have. 

“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.  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.  And there is hope in thine end, saith the LORD, that thy children shall come again to their own border.” (Jeremiah 31:15-17)

This prophecy was fulfilled with Herod’s killing of the babies in an attempt o Kill the messiah, as described in Matthew 2:16-18. “Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.  Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.”  It has been fulfilled repeatedly since the destruction of Jerusalem, with pograms, and attempted genocide of the Jews in country after country. 

“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.  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.  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.” (Jeremiah 31:18-20)

God views Israel as a beloved child, who has demanded their own way and run away from home to get it.  When they recognize they have made a mistake, and ask forgiveness, all God will remember is how much he loves them and the wonderful times they had together.  There is no question of his forgiveness, even though they had completely rejected him for years. 

“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.  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.” (Jeremiah 31:21-22)

Like a runaway daughter, all Israel needs to do is map out their way and start home.  The only thing keeping them from their blessings is the own pride and refusal to give in.  When they do, they will find their attitude has changed and they simply just want to show their love any way they can. 

“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.  And there shall dwell in Judah itself, and in all the cities thereof together, husbandmen, and they that go forth with flocks.  For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul.  Upon this I awaked, and beheld; and my sleep was sweet unto me.” (Jeremiah 31:23-26)

Like the runaway daughter who realizes how much she had and returns home, Judah will be talking about how good they have it with God’s blessing instead of griping about what they can’t have.  They will live in their own country and have their own farms and herds.  They will find themselves satisfied completely and be happy.  This is God’s dream for them, and he happy, knowing one day it will happen. 

“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast.  And it shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict; so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the LORD.  In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children's teeth are set on edge.  But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.” (Jeremiah 31:27-30)

In the future a time will come when, instead of destroying then and punishing them, God will bless, making the population grow as well as their flocks and herds.  He will work just as hard to protect and strengthen them as he has worked to punish them, and they will no longer have to suffer the consequences of their ancestor’s actions.  They will only have to deal with the consequences of their own actions.      

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