Thru the Bible – Day 177

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Day 177 – Thru the Bible

Today we continue in Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 33 – The restoration of Judah is described as healing, prosperity, and security. This is what belongs to a people dwelling safely in the Promised Land. Jesus presents Himself as the fulfiller of these promises through His healing miracles (example, Matthew 9:2–6). Such miracles were themselves pointers to the consummation of God’s promises in His kingdom in the new heaven and the new earth, where there will be neither death nor pain (Revelation 21:3–5). God clearly can and does perform healing miracles in the present. But this power of God must be understood in the light of the teaching of the New Testament that we will suffer and be vulnerable to sickness until Jesus’ return (examples, John 16:33; 2 Corinthians 4:17; Gal 4:13–14; 2 Timothy 4:20; 1 Peter 4:12).

A significant restoration theme in Jeremiah concerns God’s covenant with David. The Branch theme (33:15) is found in Isaiah 11:1-9, where the imagery is of a stump, the remnant of the family tree of David’s father Jesse, from which sprouts a new branch, who brings in the messianic age.

Here in Jeremiah 33 the metaphor signifies that a descendant of David is to be the mediator of justice, righteousness, and salvation. Once again we are reminded that “The Lord is our righteousness”—but this time the nation receives that name, as it assumes the identity of its Mediator. The principle of righteous substitution (God’s righteousness for His people’s sin) has always been true, for there is no righteousness in us as grounds for our acceptance by a holy God. If we are to be saved, it must be purely by God’s grace as a gift of His own righteousness in Jesus (Romans 3:21–26).

The new emphasis in this passage, not contained in Jeremiah 23:5–8, is the utter permanence of the covenant with David. This assurance, based on the permanence of night followed by day, is repeated in 33:25–26. The “covenant” referenced here is the one expressed in 2 Samuel 7:12–16. It is also referred to in Isaiah 55:3 and is the subject of Psalm 89. Matthew introduces his Gospel with Jesus’ genealogy as the Son of David (Matthew 1:1–17). According to the apostle Peter, this covenant with David is ultimately fulfilled in the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 2:29–32). Paul outlines his gospel in Romans 1:1–4, which includes the important fact that it is the gospel “concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh” (Romans 1:3). As in 2 Samuel 7:14, the son of God is also the son of David. Paul reiterates this as central to the gospel: the Son of God is the Son of David. Thus the covenant focus moves from Abraham and his descendants as sons of God, through David’s descendant as a son of God, to Jesus the Son of God.

Reflecting on God’s grace in providing an alien righteousness, our hearts are transformed and we are compelled to love others in light of the way we have been loved.

How are you allowing this love to flow through you to those around you?

Jeremiah 34 – The chain of events in Jeremiah has reached the rule of Zedekiah, last of the Davidic kings of Judah. Ironically, his name means “The Lord is [my] righteousness”, but he showed that he had learned little from Jeremiah’s words. International ferment led him to believe he could successfully rebel against the Babylonians, for whom he was a puppet king.

Once again we see the futility of trying to steer history away from God’s intended purposes. God will accomplish what He has designed from the beginning. Not only has Jesus written the definitive human history by which we are accounted righteous according to God’s original plan (Genesis 3:15), but the book of Revelation as a whole tells of the end of history and the final victory of Jesus, who shall rule forever (Revelation 11:15–18; 18:1–10; 21:1–8).

At a time when many people of Judah had been taken as captives to Babylon, Zedekiah makes a covenant with the people which frees any Hebrews in servitude to them, a principle that had existed since Moses (Deuteronomy 15:12–15). The people agree to the covenant, then renege, thus breaking their covenant made before God. In doing so they profane God’s name and make light of God’s being witness to their covenant. They ignore their own history of being freed from captivity in Egypt.

This principle that Israel ignores—as God has done to you, so do to others—is amplified in the New Testament. At its base is the fact that we must not treat others in a way that contradicts God’s grace towards us (Matthew 6:15; 18:21–35; Romans 15:7; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13). God has shown such marvelous mercy to us sinners. How could we not treat others accordingly? When we love Jesus because we have apprehended His grace toward us, then we will love what and whom He loves (the downtrodden, disadvantaged, and discriminated against).

How do you allow Jesus love to flow through you to those who struggle?

Jeremiah 35 – Judah’s covenant breaking is now contrasted with the faithfulness of the Rechabites. When a previous king tried to get them to break their covenant of abstinence, they remained faithful to their vow to their leader. But the people of Judah have broken their covenant with God. The outcome is to be the punishments prescribed in the covenant.

The New Testament has many warnings against scorning the grace of God and being disobedient to our covenant status. Hebrews 3:1–4:13 applies Psalm 95 as a warning to Christians against unbelief and falling away (see also Hebrews 2:1–4; 5:11–6:12). Even warnings, stern as they may be, are expressions of God’s tender mercy toward wayward sinners. He loves us too much to let us walk in folly.

While our foolishness has earthly consequences, and our true following Jesus will result in us loving people better, how does knowing that Jesus has permanently completed our salvation give you assurance of our future?

Jeremiah 36 – God tells Jeremiah to write down all that He has spoken against Israel and Judah. This is to be a gracious warning and an opportunity for repentance (changing of one’s mind). Because Jeremiah’s movements have been restricted, he sends Baruch, his scribe, to read the scroll on a day of fasting in the Temple. When Baruch reads the scroll, it causes much concern. Eventually one of the officials reads the scroll to Jehoiakim the king, who contemptuously, and without repentance, cuts off sections of the scroll as they are read and burns them. God tells Jeremiah to rewrite the scroll, and to pronounce the removal of the blessings of the Davidic covenant from the king. Jehoiakim’s pride led him to have contempt for God’s word and to ignore the warnings of the wrath to come.

Contempt for God’s word is ever present in the world. Its most extreme form is contempt for Jesus—the Word of God incarnate—and rejection of His gospel. Nevertheless, God’s word cannot be thwarted. “It shall accomplish that which I purpose,” says the Lord (Isaiah 55:11). The word of our God will stand forever (Isaiah 40:8; Matthew 24:35).

How does knowing that God will fulfill His plans give you peace today?

What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?

Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.

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