Todays readings.. 1 kings 7, Jeremiah 33, Mark 7
“AND THIS CITY SHALL BE TO ME”
Today’s chapter 33 in Jeremiah shows that Jerusalem was now in a desperate situation as “the army of the king of Babylon was besieging it, and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the guard… ” [v.2] Imagine the prophet’s feelings – the test to his faith. When we come to v. 37, we see how God starts to unfold a fascinating long term vision of the future to him! How would Jeremiah have reacted? He does not say. Are there not comparisons with our reaction to God’s prophecies today!? Especially when ‘godlessness’ appears to totally surround us!
Jeremiah is told, “Behold, I will gather them from all the countries to which I drove them in my anger and my wrath and in great indignation. I will bring them back to this place, and I will make them dwell in safety. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever ….”
Those who know – in both heart and mind – the ultimate purposes of God – see how he appears to be starting the process of fulfilling them in our days – and they “fear and tremble” in their hearts. They are increasing sure they are seeing God’s promises through Jeremiah starting the process of fulfilment.
So what do we learn from Jeremiah’s record of God’s promises – as to what is yet to happen? “I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul.” [v.41]
Our hearts are further stirred when we link this with God’s other promises.This will become the time when, says the LORD, “this city shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth … They shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it.” [v.9]
This vision – for Jeremiah – is our vision too! Is it beyond our comprehension to envisage the time (how soon now?) when “the city shall be to” God – and to all genuinely God fearing people “a praise and a glory” which they will see – and in which they will share! Let us so believe and live so that we, by his grace, will be there, and see “this city” become to God “a name …. before all the nations of the earth.”
Finally, when “Jerusalem will dwell securely …. this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’” [v.16] Let us embrace this vision in our hearts as well as our minds, marvelling at the wonders when, by God’s grace, this vision becomes a reality – and we are there!