A STUDY OF THE BOOK OF JEREMIAH
Behold Days Are Coming
Jeremiah 31 SCC 4/2/17
GOD DELIGHTS IN REBUILDING AND RESTORING HIS PEOPLE
God longs for us to be satisfied with His goodness to us. He cares for and loves us.
Verses 2-6 At that time v 1 when? After God has accomplished the intent of His heart in His wrath against wickedness (30:24), what Jesus called the “Great Tribulation” (Matthew 24:21), all the families of Israel...shall be My people v 2. Why? Because of God’s grace, His everlasting love, and His lovingkindness undeserved by them v 3. He then gives three word pictures that will characterize God’s restoration of Israel: You shall take up your tambourines... v 4. Times of sadness will end with the Captivity ending. You shall plant...and shall enjoy them (their fruitfulness) … v 5. Time of peace and prosperity. There shall be a day when...let us go up to Zion, to the Lord our God v 6. Renewed commitment to God.
Verses 7-9 A time of joy v 7. No one will be too far away. God will gather them from the remote parts of the earth v 8 (cp v 10, 16-17, 23-24). No one will have obstacles to keep them from coming. God will make them walk by streams of waters, on a straight [level] path in which they shall not stumble v 9. Why? For I am a father to Israel and Ephraim is My firstborn.
Verses 10-14 He who scattered Israel will gather him v 10. They are ransomed and redeemed v 11. They shall come and shout for joy...they shall be radiant over the bounty of the Lord v 12. God will turn their mourning into joy v 13. And My people shall be satisfied with My goodness, declares the Lord v 14. Wow, what a change. For generations all Israel did was charge God with neglect, subversive motives and insensitive expectations (Ex 14:11; 17:3; Num 11:20; 14:3; 20:4-5; 21:5; Jud 6:13).
Application: Are you satisfied with Gods goodness in your life? Instead of comparing Gods bounty with another’s position in life, review His bounty to you alone with thanksgiving. That’s genuine worship—attributing worth and worthiness to God by gratefulness. God works to give goodness.
RESTORATION AND RENEWAL ARE POSSIBLE WHEN ONE REPENT AND TURN BACK
Verses 15-20 A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more v 15. Jeremiah pictures the weeping of the women of the Northern Kingdom as they watched their children being carried into exile in 722 B.C.
PT: In what sense was Herod’s slaughter of the babies (Matt 2:17-18) a “fulfillment” of Jeremiah 31:15? Matthew used the word “fulfill” to record an actual fulfillment of an Old Testament prediction. Matthew used the word in 2:17-18 to explain the sadness of the mothers of Bethlehem. The pain of those mothers in Ramah who watched their sons being carried into exile found its full potential 580+ yrs. later in the cries of the mothers of Bethlehem who cradled their sons’ lifeless 2 yr. old and under bodies in their arms.
God says refrain from weeping, they shall return…there is hope for your future v 16-17. Israel strayed into sin and was chastised v 18, and repented v 19 and turned back to God. Therefore, I will surely have mercy on him, declares the Lord v 20. Who does not want mercy!
Verses 21-22 They were to set up road marks...guideposts...direct your mind to the highway, the way by which you went, so they could return v 21. It will be a remarkable time for the Lord has created a new thing in the earth v 22. He’s leading into the information about the New Covenant in verse 27.
Verses 23-26 When God restores the nation of Israel, He will also restore the fortune of Judah v 23. There will again be a blessing on Jerusalem and Zion (holy hill). The land will be repopulated v 24 and God will satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes v 25. Jeremiah then awakes v 26. Instead of the weeping as he has been doing over the coming destruction, at news of the restoration, my sleep was pleasant to me.
PT: Repentance and restoration invokes peace and tranquility. All of the mourning dissipated now.
Note three times God say, “Behold, days are coming” (v 27, 31, 38) when God restores Israel in land.
Verses 27-30 (1) Days are coming when God will protect his people. God now vowed to provide a new beginning for His covenant people. In 1:10 God had said Jeremiah would be like a farmer, his message would uproot (announce judgment) and plant (announce blessing). The first part of the book was the uprooting judgment. Now God says, I will sow Israel and…Judah like seed v 27 to watch them grow and I will watch over them to build and to plant v 28. This will silence a proverb, evidently common in that day, the fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge v 29, that is, the fathers sinned, but the children suffered the consequences of it. This was a false proverb. It implied that God was unjust. As with all false doctrines, a kernel of truth in the teaching made it seem plausible.
PT: In the Ten Commandments, God said, I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me (Exodus 20:5). But the point is that the effects of sin are serious and long-lasting, not that God impulsively punishes the innocent for their ancestors’ evil ways. But when God establishes the New Covenant, they would see that God’s justice will guarantee that everyone will die for his own iniquity v 30. They will no longer say the old proverb.
Verses 31-37 (2) Days are coming when God forgives His people. This New Covenant will be with the house of Israel (the Northern Kingdom) and with the house of Judah (the Southern Kingdom) v 31. It will not be like the first covenant God made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt v 32. That covenant was the Mosaic Covenant in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Twice in that covenant God announced a series of punishments or “curses” on those who violated His Law (Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28), which the people did. Therefore, they were physically deported from the land of Israel to the land of Babylon and Jerusalem was destroyed in 586 B.C. God’s New Covenant will be an internalization of His Law. God will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it v 33, not just on stones (Exodus 34:1). They shall not teach again, each man his neighbor..., saying, Know the Lord, for they shall all know Me v 34.
Ezekiel 36:24-32 indicates that this change is the result of the Holy Spirit indwelling all believers. In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit did not indwell all believers. Under the old Mosaic Covenant, the sins of the people resulted in the curses. But under the New Covenant, God will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more v 34. How? God cannot simply overlook sin. Isaiah 53:4-6 says that the penalty of that sin will be paid by a substitute. In the Upper Room, Jesus announced that the New Covenant was to be inaugurated through the shedding of His blood (Matthew 26:27-28; Luke 22:20). The permanence of Israel is compared to the moon and the star’s v 35. If this fixed order departs from before Me, declares the Lord, Then the offspring of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me forever v 36. The power God displayed in creating the universe is the power that He uses in preserving Israel as a nation v 37. No one can destroy the people of Israel though many have tried to do so.
PT: Here is another polemic for creation. God declared He gives the sun for light by day. He declared the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night. He stirs up the sea so that its waves roar.
Verses 38-40 (3) Days are coming when God establishes a new city of Jerusalem for His people. God gives the exact boundaries of this city v 38-40a (Nehemiah 3:1; 12:39; Zechariah 14:10; 2 Kings 14:13; 2 Chronicles 26:9). It’s bigger than the city at Jeremiah’s time that was destroyed by the Babylonians and is bigger than the “Old City” of today. In addition to the dimensions, God gives 2 characteristics of the city:
It shall be holy to the Lord v 40b. The city and its inhabitants will be set apart to God who will dwell in her midst (It shall not be plucked up, or overthrown anymore forever. No more war. These characteristics will be fulfilled in the Millennial Kingdom. The whole new, enlarged city would be devoted to God, and it would never experience invasion or overthrow again.
Application: We can say that as God promises to be faithful to Israel in the future, His promise of our eternal future is just as assured. If God is not faithful, then creation would not be sustained by him. But since it is, he will also have a future for his people.
First, again, there is a literal future for Israel. It comes after judgment, now 2500 yrs., and repentance.
Second, that restoration is life changing and forever. We share in the outcome of this blessed state.