Tuesday, August 18, 2015

God Still Loves Israel

Jeremiah 30:11-31:9

“For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.  For thus saith the LORD, Thy bruise is incurable, and thy wound is grievous.  There is none to plead thy cause, that thou mayest be bound up: thou hast no healing medicines.  All thy lovers have forgotten thee; they seek thee not; for I have wounded thee with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one, for the multitude of thine iniquity; because thy sins were increased.” (Jeremiah 30:11-14)

In the last days, God will restore Israel to the land and they will worship him forever.   He has chosen them as a special people, and promised that he will never destroy them completely, even though he will completely wipe out the nations that have hated and taken advantage of them.    They would not get by with their sin, however, because God loved them, he would correct them.    Hebrews 12:6-8 tells us, “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.   If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.”

The shame and embarrassment of being caught is often worse than any punishment for  sin, and harder to get over.    It is even worse for a person who left or betrayed their mate for someone who then dumped them because they feel both the rejection and the guilt and that is where Judah was.  They had dumped God for the power of other nations and gods, who then forsook them when thing went wrong and God has not pretended they did nothing wrong. 

“Why criest thou for thine affliction? thy sorrow is incurable for the multitude of thine iniquity: because thy sins were increased, I have done these things unto thee.  Therefore all they that devour thee shall be devoured; and all thine adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity; and they that spoil thee shall be a spoil, and all that prey upon thee will I give for a prey.  For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after. “ (Jeremiah 30:15-17)

Judah’s problem has been their own sin.  Like many people they cried and blamed God for their problems but it was their own actions that had resulted in what they were going through.   Because of their deliberate and ongoing sin, God has done things they don’t like to them but he hasn’t forgotten them.   The others who have hurt them will be taken captive by others and abused in the same way they abused Israel and Judah.  God will give them back their joy and blessings , though the world has called outcasts and said no body would ever want them. 

“Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will bring again the captivity of Jacob's tents, and have mercy on his dwellingplaces; and the city shall be builded upon her own heap, and the palace shall remain after the manner thereof.  And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small.  Their children also shall be as aforetime, and their congregation shall be established before me, and I will punish all that oppress them.  And their nobles shall be of themselves, and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them; and I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto me: for who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto me? saith the LORD.  And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.” (Jeremiah 30:18-22)

God will not punish the nation of Israel as much as they deserve, but will bring them back to their own land.  The city of Jerusalem will be rebuilt on the rubble from the original city.  They will have their own ruler and will rejoice and give thanks for what god has done.  The population will grow and they will worship god, and He will punish all that oppose them.  Their leaders and governor will be Jews themselves, and will turn to the Lord.  For a short time after they returned from Babylon, Judah experienced these blessings as Ezra and Nehemiah describe, but they are only a sampe of what will be received at the end of time.   

“Behold, the whirlwind of the LORD goeth forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind: it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked.  The fierce anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have done it, and until he have performed the intents of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it.  At the same time, saith the LORD, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people.”  (Jeremiah 30:23-31:1)

Like a tornado, God’s anger will go out and strike the wicked with no concern for who they are or how bad they are hurt.   Nothing will be able to stop his anger until it has run its course.  At the last days, God will again be the God of Israel and they will serve him. 

“Thus saith the LORD, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.  The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.  Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry.  Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria: the planters shall plant, and shall eat them as common things.” (Jeremiah 31-2-5)

In the past God delivered those of Israel who survived and were protected by God.  He has an everlasting love and will do the same thing again, drawing them to him.  Once again they will celebrate his blessings with music and dancing, they will again plant vineyards and reap the crops. 
For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the LORD our God.  For thus saith the LORD; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O LORD, save thy people, the remnant of Israel.” (Jeremiah 31:6-7)

In the end days, when God re-establishes Israel, They will worship God wholeheartedly.  The watchmen’s job will be to remind them to go to worship rather than warning them of the approach of their enemies.  They will once again be an important nation, and will be praising God and calling on Him, as we have seen in  previous chapters.

“Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither.  They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.” (Jeremiah 31:8-9)

About twenty years before,  during Josiah’s reign, in Jeremiah 3:17-Jeremiah prophesied, “At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.  In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers.”

Twenty years later they have been defeated by Babylon and are under attack again, and God repeats the prophecy, making it clear He has not forgotten his promises or turned his back on israel, even though they had turned their backs on him.

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