Accept the Lordís Forgiveness

Explore the Bible Series

April 24, 2005

 

Background Passages:Jeremiah 29:1-33:26

Lesson Passage: Jeremiah 31:27-34

 

Introduction: These chapters mark an important turning point in the Prophecy of Jeremiah.The previous portion of the book described the terrible sins of the nation of Judah and the impending judgment of the Lord upon his people. Again and again, the prophet confronted Judah with its idolatry, oppression of the poor and weak, and spiritual adultery; now, however, the prophecy changes somewhat.The same issues still troubled Jeremiah, but he turned his attention, in these chapters, to Godís undying love for his people and the Lordís pledge to restore his people.Jehovah promised to establish a new and better covenant with his people.Even in the midst of judgment, God remembered mercy.

 

Chapter Twenty-nine serves as transition between the earlier sections of Jeremiah and this wonderful section on the new covenant. The prophet wrote a letter to the captives and sent it by the hand of two messengers, Elasah and Gemariah.These two men carried correspondence from King Zedekiah to the Babylonian ruler Nebuchadnezzar (See v. 3).Chapters thirty through thirty-three reveal Godís plans for restoring his people after they have remained in captivity for seventy years.

 

 

Outline of Background Passage:

 

I.                    Jeremiahís Letter to the Captives in Babylon (29:1-32)

A.     The circumstances of the sending of Jeremiahís letter (vv. 1-3)

B.     The captives should plan to stay in Babylon for many years (vv. 4-7)

1.      Build houses and plant gardens (vv. 4-5)

2.      Take a spouse and raise children (v. 6)

3.      Seek the peace of Babylon and pray for the Babylonians (v.7)

C.     Judah must refuse to listen to false prophets (vv. 8-9)

D.     Godís promise of future blessing (vv. 10-14)

1.      God will cause the people to return to Judah after seventy years (v. 10)

2.      Godís good will toward his people (v. 11)

3.      God will answer Judahís prayers (v. 12)

4.      God will be found by those who seek him (vv. 13-14)

E.      A grave caution against listening to false prophets (vv. 15-23)

1.      God planned to bring severe judgment on those who remained behind in Judah (vv. 15-20)

2.      Godís warning to the false prophet Shemaiah, a man who threatened to harm Jeremiah (vv. 24-28)

3.      High Priest Zephaniah warned Jeremiah of Shemaiahís criticisms (vv. 29-32)

 

II.                 The Future Restoration of Israel and Judah (30:1-31:40)

A.     Jeremiah instructed to write Godís words in a book (scroll) (30:1-3)

B.     Though enduring grievous anguish at the moment, the Lordís people would again know the Lordís favor (30: 4-9)

C.     The Lordís people admonished not to fear (30:10-11)

D.     Though their wounds seemed incurable, God promised to heal his people (30:12-17)

E.      God promised to restore Jacob (30:18-24)

1.      Jerusalem will be rebuilt (vv. 18-9)

2.      God will restore the families of Judah and the congregation of worshippers (v. 20)

3.      Godís people will be governed by their own rulers (v. 21)

4.      The people will enjoy a war relationship with God (v. 22)

5.      The Lordís people must remember the whirlwind of Godís wrath (vv. 23-24)

F.      Godís mercy on Israel (31:1-22)

1.      Godís everlasting love for Israel (vv. 1-6)

2.      A call to rejoicing (vv. 7-9)

3.      A declaration to the nations of Godís goodness to Israel (vv. 10-14)

4.      God consoled the weeping of Ephraim (Israel) and promised to ransom his people (vv. 15-22)

G.     Godís mercy on Judah (31:23-30)

1.      God will reestablish Judah as the home of justice and holiness (vv. 23-26)

2.      The Lord will again plant Judah and Israel in their land (vv. 27-30)

H.     The establishment of the New Covenant (31:31-34)

1.      God took the initiative to reveal a New Covenant (v. 31)

2.      The New Covenant different from the Old Covenant (v. 32)

3.      The New Covenant written on the heart (v. 33)

4.      The New Covenant and the forgiveness of God (v. 34)

I.        The certainty of Godís enduring love for Israel (31: 35-40)

1.      The created order as a testimony to the unchanging love of God (vv. 35-37)

2.      God will rebuild Jerusalem (vv. 38-40)

 

III.               Jeremiah Commanded to Buy a Parcel of Land in Anathoth (32:1-44)††††††††††

A.     Jeremiah falsely charged and incarcerated by King Zedekiah (vv. 1-5)

B.     Jeremiah purchased land from his kinsman as a testimony that the land would eventually belong to the Lordís people again (vv. 6-15)

1.      God commanded Jeremiah to redeem the family land (vv. 6-7)

2.      Jeremiahís kinsman offered the land during the prophetís imprisonment (vv. 8-10)

3.      The prophet preserved the land title (vv. 11-15)

C.     Jeremiah confused by Godís command to purchase the land (vv. 16-25)

1.      The prophet acknowledged Godís sovereignty and power (vv. 16-22)

2.      Israel sinned greatly and had brought judgment upon themselves (vv. 23-24)

3.      Yet, God commanded Jeremiah to buy property in an occupied land (v. 25)

D.     God answered Jeremiahís concern (vv. 26-44)

1.      Godís displeasure with Judahís great sin (vv. 26-35)

2.      God promised to gather his people again and establish an everlasting covenant with them (vv. 36-44)

 

IV.              Godís Plan for Judah (33:1-26)

A.     The Lordís word came a second time to the imprisoned Jeremiah (vv. 1-3)

B.     Judahís futility in resisting the Chaldeans (Babylonians) (vv. 4-5)

C.     In due time, God restored Judah (vv. 6-18)

1.      Health, healing, peace and truth (vv. 6-7)

2.      Cleansing and pardon (v. 8)

3.      Joy, praise, and honor (v. 9)

4.      Praise in the home and the Temple (vv. 10-11)

5.      Godís blessings on the land and the shepherds (vv. 12-13)

6.      Restoration of Davidís throne (vv. 14-18)

D.     Godís Faithfulness to the Davidic Covenant (vv. 19-26)

1.      Davidic Covenant as secure as Godís ďcovenantĒ with the sun and moon (vv. 19-21)

2.      The innumerable hosts of heaven and sand on the shore mirror the descendants of David and the Levites (v. 22)

3.      God did not forget his covenant with his ďtwo familiesĒ: Israel and Judah (vv. 23-26)

 

 

Thoughts from the Lesson Passage (Jeremiah 31:27-34)

 

This passage, and its sister text (Hebrews 8:8-12) has brought great encouragement to generations of Christians.God described the nature of the New Covenant in these verses. Please note these gleanings from the text.

 

  1. God took the initiative in establishing the New Covenant (v. 31):The Bible teaches sinners to seek the Lord (See II Chronicles 7:14; Isaiah 55:6; Matthew 7:7), and individuals must take this admonition seriously.However, the Scriptures also reveal that the Lord pursues his people like a shepherd seeks a lost sheep.Left to themselves, sinful men are lost and doomed to destruction.Indeed, they have no power or capacity to remedy their lost condition.Lost Judah had so gravely violated the Old Covenant that they had brought utter ruin on themselves.They had no capacity to restore their ruptured relationship with God.God must act in their behalf to renew, reconcile, and restore. Thankfully, God, because of his unyielding love for his people, promised to take the initiative and establish a new and better covenant with his people.
  2. God promised to write his law on the hearts of his people (v. 33): The Old Covenant was written on tables of stone, but the New Covenant will inscribe Godís commandments on the heart and in the mind.The precepts of the Lord will imprint the heart and mind of believers.They will yield to an external code of law, but they will do so because God has written the principle of obedience in their hearts.
  3. God pledged to identify himself with his people (v. 33b): He will be their God, and they will be his people.The people of God will bear the imprimatur of the Lord in their very character. He will become to them Friend and Father. They will be pardoned and justified of their sin and guilt, but they will also enter into the warmest filial relationship with the Lord through reconciliation and adoption.
  4. God will grant his people great knowledge (v. 34): They will know the Lord.Great mysteries will belong to the saints.Angels long to apprehend the things that the great and small shall freely know in the community of faith.God will intimately reveal himself, and all of his people shall know him.
  5. God will pardon the sins of his people (v. 34b):The offenses will not only be forgiven, but they will be forgotten.God will no longer allow the sins of his people to interfere with his relationship with them.

 

Above all, Hebrews Eight makes clear that this New Covenant finds its fulfillment and ratification in the Lord Jesus Christ.Our great High Priest and Mediator fulfilled and replaced the old shadows and types of the Old Covenant.This passage in Jeremiah should bring all of us, afresh, to the feet of Jesus, the Mediator of a new and better covenant.