The New Covenant

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Jeremiah has a message of hope in the midst of the gloom. God does not abandon His covenant people, even if His covenant people abandon Him. He yet has a purpose for those whom He exiled. There will be a new covenant, with better promises, and a better hope.

The New Covenant

At that time, saith YHWH, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people. Thus saith YHWH, The people that were left of the sword found favor in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest. YHWH appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. Again will I build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: again shalt thou be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry. Again shalt thou plant vineyards upon the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant, and shall enjoy the fruit thereof. For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the hills of Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto YHWH our God.

For thus saith YHWH, Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout for the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O YHWH, save thy people, the remnant of Israel. Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the uttermost parts 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 they return hither. They shall come with weeping; and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by rivers of waters, in a straight way wherein they shall not stumble; for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my first-born. Hear the word of YHWH, 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 YHWH hath ransomed Jacob, and redeemed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. And they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow unto the goodness of YHWH, to the grain, and to the new wine, and to the oil, and to 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, and the young men and the 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 YHWH.

Thus saith YHWH: A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children; she refuseth to be comforted for her children, because they are not. Thus saith YHWH: Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears; for thy work shall be rewarded, saith YHWH; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope for thy latter end, saith YHWH; and thy children shall come again to their own border.

I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus, Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a calf unaccustomed to the yoke: turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art YHWH 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 darling child? for as often as I speak against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my heart yearneth for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith YHWH. Set thee up waymarks, make thee guide-posts; set thy heart toward the highway, even the way by which thou wentest: turn again, O virgin of Israel, turn again to these thy cities. How long wilt thou go hither and thither, O thou backsliding daughter? for YHWH hath created a new thing in the earth: A woman shall encompass a man.

Thus saith YHWH of hosts, the God of Israel, Yet again shall they use this speech in the land of Judah and in the cities thereof, when I shall bring again their captivity: YHWH bless thee, O habitation of righteousness, O mountain of holiness. And Judah and all the cities thereof shall dwell therein together, the husbandmen, and they that go about with flocks. For I have satiated the weary soul, and every sorrowful soul have I replenished. Upon this I awaked, and beheld; and my sleep was sweet unto me. Behold, the days come, saith YHWH, 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 overthrow and to destroy and to afflict, so will I watch over them to build and to plant, saith YHWH. In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge. But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge.

Behold, the days come, saith YHWH, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith YHWH. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith YHWH: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know YHWH; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith YHWH: for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more.

Thus saith YHWH, who giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, who stirreth up the sea, so that the waves thereof roar; YHWH of hosts is his name: If these ordinances depart from before me, saith YHWH, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus saith YHWH: If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, then will I also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith YHWH.

Behold, the days come, saith YHWH, that the city shall be built to YHWH from the tower of Hananel unto the gate of the corner. And the measuring line shall go out further straight onward unto the hill Gareb, and shall turn about unto Goah. And the whole valley of the dead bodies and of the ashes, and all the fields unto the brook Kidron, unto the corner of the horse gate toward the east, shall be holy unto YHWH; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more for ever (Jeremiah 31:1-40).

The New Covenant
Prophetic Restoration

 
 
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Comfort My People

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The Judahites had been in exile awhile. Where was YHWH and His promises? Was He asleep, or too feeble in the face of Babylon and Marduk to save? Isaiah had a message of comfort and hope if they would only remain patient and trust in YHWH.

Comfort My People

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem; and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she hath received of YHWH’s hand double for all her sins.
The voice of one that crieth, “Prepare ye in the wilderness the way of YHWH; make level in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the uneven shall be made level, and the rough places a plain: and the glory of YHWH shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of YHWH hath spoken it.”

The voice of one saying, “Cry.”
And one said, “What shall I cry?”
“All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, because the breath of YHWH bloweth upon it; surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the word of our God shall stand forever.”

O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up on a high mountain; O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, “Behold, your God!”
Behold, the Lord YHWH will come as a mighty one, and his arm will rule for him: Behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and will gently lead those that have their young.
Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? Who hath directed the Spirit of YHWH, or being his counsellor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed to him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are accounted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing. And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt-offering. All the nations are as nothing before him; they are accounted by him as less than nothing, and vanity.
To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him? The image, a workman hath cast it, and the goldsmith overlayeth it with gold, and casteth for it silver chains. He that is too impoverished for such an oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a skilful workman to set up a graven image, that shall not be moved. Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he that sitteth above the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in; that bringeth princes to nothing; that maketh the judges of the earth as vanity. Yea, they have not been planted; yea, they have not been sown; yea, their stock hath not taken root in the earth: moreover he bloweth upon them, and they wither, and the whirlwind taketh them away as stubble. To whom then will ye liken me, that I should be equal to him? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and see who hath created these, that bringeth out their host by number; he calleth them all by name; by the greatness of his might, and for that he is strong in power, not one is lacking.
Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, “My way is hid from YHWH, and the justice due to me is passed away from my God?”
Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard? The everlasting God, YHWH, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary; there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to him that hath no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait for YHWH shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint (Isaiah 40:1-31).

Comfort My People
Prophetic Restoration

 
 
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The Necessity of Lament

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Life is full of challenges, difficulties, trials, and moments of distress and pain. We can go on and pretend these types of things do not affect us. Or we can lament our failures, trials, and distress, and live in healthy faith.

The Necessity of Lament

The Necessity of Lament
Lament

 
 
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The Day of YHWH in 586

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The prophets warned Judah. Israel served as an example. Yet Judah persisted in idolatry and ruinous foreign policy. The Day of YHWH came for them in 586 BCE. It was a destructive end. But it also proved to be a new beginning.

The Day of YHWH in 586

The Day of YHWH in 586
The Day of YHWH

 
 
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Covenant Transgressors

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God would heal Israel, if only Israel would truly turn to Him. It was not enough to merely try to placate YHWH; one must know Him and follow His ways.

Covenant Transgressors

Come, and let us return unto YHWH; for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: on the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live before him. And let us know, let us follow on to know YHWH: his going forth is sure as the morning; and he will come unto us as the rain, as the latter rain that watereth the earth.
O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the dew that goeth early away. Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth. For I desire goodness, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt-offerings.
But they like Adam have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me. Gilead is a city of them that work iniquity; it is stained with blood. And as troops of robbers wait for a man, so the company of priests murder in the way toward Shechem; yea, they have committed lewdness. In the house of Israel I have seen a horrible thing: there whoredom is found in Ephraim, Israel is defiled.
Also, O Judah, there is a harvest appointed for thee, when I bring back the captivity of my people.
When I would heal Israel, then is the iniquity of Ephraim uncovered, and the wickedness of Samaria; for they commit falsehood, and the thief entereth in, and the troop of robbers ravageth without. And they consider not in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness: now have their own doings beset them about; they are before my face. They make the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with their lies. They are all adulterers; they are as an oven heated by the baker; he ceaseth to stir the fire, from the kneading of the dough, until it be leavened. On the day of our king the princes made themselves sick with the heat of wine; he stretched out his hand with scoffers. For they have made ready their heart like an oven, while they lie in wait: their baker sleepeth all the night; in the morning it burneth as a flaming fire. They are all hot as an oven, and devour their judges; all their kings are fallen: there is none among them that calleth unto me.
Ephraim, he mixeth himself among the peoples; Ephraim is a cake not turned. Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not: yea, gray hairs are here and there upon him, and he knoweth it not. And the pride of Israel doth testify to his face: yet they have not returned unto YHWH their God, nor sought him, for all this. And Ephraim is like a silly dove, without understanding: they call unto Egypt, they go to Assyria. When they shall go, I will spread my net upon them; I will bring them down as the birds of the heavens; I will chastise them, as their congregation hath heard. Woe unto them! for they have wandered from me; destruction unto them! for they have trespassed against me: though I would redeem them, yet they have spoken lies against me. And they have not cried unto me with their heart, but they howl upon their beds: they assemble themselves for grain and new wine; they rebel against me. Though I have taught and strengthened their arms, yet do they devise mischief against me. They return, but not to him that is on high; they are like a deceitful bow; their princes shall fall by the sword for the rage of their tongue: this shall be their derision in the land of Egypt (Hosea 6:1-7:16).

Covenant Transgressors
The Book of Hosea

 
 
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Jeremiah’s Letter

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Jeremiah wrote to the Judahites already in exile. They were to settle down for a time while awaiting a latter restoration. We as Christians are in an exile; we do well to consider what Jeremiah has to say.

Jeremiah’s Letter

These are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders of the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. This was after King Jeconiah and the queen mother, the eunuchs, the officials of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the metal workers had departed from Jerusalem. The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon.

It said: “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the LORD.
“For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
“Because you have said, ‘The LORD has raised up prophets for us in Babylon,’ thus says the LORD concerning the king who sits on the throne of David, and concerning all the people who dwell in this city, your kinsmen who did not go out with you into exile: ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, behold, I am sending on them sword, famine, and pestilence, and I will make them like vile figs that are so rotten they cannot be eaten. I will pursue them with sword, famine, and pestilence, and will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, a terror, a hissing, and a reproach among all the nations where I have driven them, because they did not pay attention to my words, declares the LORD, that I persistently sent to you by my servants the prophets, but you would not listen, declares the LORD.’

Hear the word of the LORD, all you exiles whom I sent away from Jerusalem to Babylon: ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, concerning Ahab the son of Kolaiah and Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, who are prophesying a lie to you in my name: Behold, I will deliver them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he shall strike them down before your eyes. Because of them this curse shall be used by all the exiles from Judah in Babylon: “The LORD make you like Zedekiah and Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire,” because they have done an outrageous thing in Israel, they have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives, and they have spoken in my name lying words that I did not command them. I am the one who knows, and I am witness, declares the LORD.'”

To Shemaiah of Nehelam you shall say: “Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: You have sent letters in your name to all the people who are in Jerusalem, and to Zephaniah the son of Maaseiah the priest, and to all the priests, saying, ‘The LORD has made you priest instead of Jehoiada the priest, to have charge in the house of the LORD over every madman who prophesies, to put him in the stocks and neck irons. Now why have you not rebuked Jeremiah of Anathoth who is prophesying to you? For he has sent to us in Babylon, saying, “Your exile will be long; build houses and live in them, and plant gardens and eat their produce.”‘” Zephaniah the priest read this letter in the hearing of Jeremiah the prophet. Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: “Send to all the exiles, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD concerning Shemaiah of Nehelam: Because Shemaiah had prophesied to you when I did not send him, and has made you trust in a lie, therefore thus says the LORD: Behold, I will punish Shemaiah of Nehelam and his descendants. He shall not have anyone living among this people, and he shall not see the good that I will do to my people, declares the LORD, for he has spoken rebellion against the LORD'” (Jeremiah 29:1-32).

Jeremiah’s Letter
Sojourn and Exile

 
 
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