Tuesday 27 November 2012

Bible Book:

Jeremiah 30:18-24 Tuesday 27 November 2012


The heart of this passage is a renewal of the covenant betweenGod and the people of Israel. The word 'covenant' does not appear.But verse 22 is a familiar biblical statement of what is at thecore of a covenant. A covenant establishes a new relation betweentwo parties. Marriage is a covenant. In the Bible, God and Israelpledge to each other unbreakable promises, gifts and non-negotiableobligations.

For the covenant to flourish, the people of Israel need a highquality environment - safe, encouraging and relaxed. At the timeJeremiah wrote, such an environment seemed as remote as could befrom their current circumstances. They were in despair. Jerusalemhad been destroyed. Anybody who was anybody had been exiled toBabylon. Nothing less than a miracle of astonishing generositycould reverse their plight.

That, however, is precisely God's promise and gift. Jerusalemwill be rebuilt. In the renewed city large numbers of faithfulpeople will enjoy life to the full, and thank God for all theirblessings. A leader will emerge out of their own number. (The lineof descent from David for Judah's kings is not in view here.) Thepeople will never again be humiliated.

Verses 23-24 are a repetition of Jeremiah 23:19-20. We cannot know if they wereoriginally included here. Their tone is different. God's angeragainst Israel's enemies is like a scorching desert wind. Behindthe sentiment is a common biblical idea: God's judgement or God'sword, once uttered, must be enacted. Israel had equal confidence inthe fulfilment of God's promise to themselves (verses 18-22) as ofGod's punishment of their enemies (verses 23-24).

To Ponder

  • In your experience of God's love, is there a dimension whichcould be called God's judgement? Is mercy always more powerful thanjudgement? Why?
  • In our litigious society, people seem to prefer a contract(with attention to the small print) to a covenant. What positivethemes fill out your sense of belonging to God's new covenant inJesus Christ?
  • In a noisy and sometimes a decaying urban environment, whereand how do you find peace and quiet?
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