Reflections from Jeremiah 31
I received a word from a dear friend that I am like Mary who pondered all these things in her heart. She saw with her own eyes the resurrection of her Son and also the redemption of the whole world.
During worship I heard the spirit say to me, "You are like Rachel weeping for her children refusing to be comforted."
I have desired the great work of redemption for myself, my family, for peoples and nations. Yet I have been slow to receive and know the comfort of God. Often times I more easily relate to anxiety and fear than His great comfort. My God is good and His mercy endures forever.
As The Lord said to Rachel so He says to us, "Refrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears; for your work shall be rewarded, says the Lord. And they shall return from the land of the enemy." (verse 16)
What is my work? My work is believing in the One God sent. When I stray from the path my heart becomes weak, despondent and hopeless.
In verse 17 of Jeremiah 31 The Lord declares, "And there is hope in your end, says the Lord, and your children will come again to your border."
The Lord is saying to Rachel, "Don't worry. Your children will come to themselves. They will journey home and find their identity in God."
What good news! We have watched the generations grope around in the dark, many times without a compass; searching for their purpose and identity. The promise of God is they will come home and possess the land. The hidden power of the cross is that Jesus can make us His possession if we will yield our rights to rule ourselves and our lives. His Spirit lives in us, may He rule and reign in us and have dominion over our lives. The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead is in us. Through us and in us He will raise the dead, open blind eyes, make the lame walk and open prison doors to all who are captive!
Many of us bear the reproach of our youth. We, through fear and rebellion, would not yield to the easy and light yoke of Jesus. We tried to remove our shoulder from the burden of Christ; believing His burden would enslave us. We misunderstood that His burden was meant to empower us.
"You have chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock (steer) not unaccustomed to the yoke; turn me and I shall be turned, for you are the Lord my God." (verse 18)
After we return to the Lord and repent he fashions a yoke for us to carry His Life to others. We can now receive His instructions. We can now be impregnated with His word. God is removing the shame and reproach of our youth.
He is saying to our hearts,"You are, you were and you will be my pleasant child." The Lord says in verse 20, "Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he a pleasant child? For since I spoke against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him,"says the Lord.
God is calling us back to Himself. Come to yourself! Set your gaze on Him. Return to the highway of holiness. Enjoy your pilgrimage. We must set our hearts towards God, to leap and bound like a free dancer, with our heart destined to align with His. There is a captivity. Do not be foolish.When we live our lives for ourselves we miscarry the justice of God. The Lord is our portion and He will protect us from all harm.
"He will satisfy the weary soul and replenish every sorrowful heart." (Verse 25)
We must embrace the new covenant. It is by the mercy of God we understand.
"But everyone shall die for his own iniquity. Every man that eats sour grapes his teeth will be set on edge. Behold the days come, says the Lord, 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 that day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they break, although I was a husband unto them, says the Lord.
This is the new covenant that God will put the law in our inward parts, and write it on our hearts. I will be their God and they shall be my people. We will no longer need to teach every man and all our neighbours, "Know The Lord. For they shall all know me from the least to the greatest. Because I will forgive their sin and remember their iniquity no more." (verse 34)
We are free from captivity because of the forgiveness of our sins. Even if God changes our circumstances (the land of Egypt) our hearts are still strangers to his rule and reign. We believe God is like Egypt. Although He delivered them with His mighty hand they did not know His heart. We are captive in our hearts and in our thoughts. He tried to know us like a groom knows his bride. But we have not opened to our groom. Egypt lives in our hearts. We cry for deliverance from our circumstances, from our enemies. We do not realize the enemy is a heart that does not know God. We continue to place the blame on God, others and ourselves. We do not realize who we are. When we come to ourselves it is like waking up from a dream and realizing who we are and who we will be.
We are guilty but He has redeemed us. Through repentance we will be freed from the shame and reproach of our youth. We will be clothed as a son of righteousness, a true son of God. Like the prodigal returning home we will realize we have a home and we have an identity. Serving ourselves enslaves us. Serving Him releases the captivity in our hearts and restores our identity.
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