Today’s readings.. (1 Kings 4,5), (Jeremiah 31), (Mark 5)
Part of today’s 31st chapter in Jeremiah provides us with a sequel to the verses in ch. 30 that describe God’s reaction to the time when the world’s nations, at the climax of human history, regard Israel as “outcasts … for whom no one cares”
These verses greatly attract our interest because the attitudes today more and more fit this picture. No nation openly supports Israel, many are strongly against her.
Today’s chapter follows on from the final verse of Ch. 30; remember the words that attracted our attention there! “The fierce anger of the LORD will not turn back until he has executed and accomplished the intentions of his mind. In the latter days you will understand this.
But there are words that immediately follow – ignore the chapter break and read on – ‘At that time’, declares the LORD. I will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they shall be my people.”[ 31 v.1 ]
Now take note of Chapter 31 v.7 which reads, “… raise shouts for the chief of the nations; proclaim, give praise, and say, O LORD, save your people, the remnant of Israel.” The meaning is not totally clear, but it implies there is a time when leading nations learn the reality of God’s existence “and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth” [v.8]. To a limited extent this happened as Israel became a nation over 60 years ago. We know that about half of the Jews still live in other lands. We also realize that the land promised to Abraham through Isaac and Jacob, is a great deal more than Israel possesses at present.
This vision is completely contrary is to what many nations, especially the Islamic, are saying today. As we read on, more words jumped out at us (among a number of others). “Behold the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah (all 12 tribes) … this is the covenant I will make … after those days, declares the LORD, I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. I will be their God and they shall be my people.” [v.31-33]
This climax of human history also brings the return of Jesus to earth and the resurrection. These events are the trigger for these verses to be fulfilled. Let us so read God’s word that it becomes inscribed on our hearts.