November 1, 2007

Jeremiah 31-32 - Everlasting Love

From today's Bible reading:

Jeremiah 31:

At that time, declares the LORD, I will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they shall be my people.

Thus says the LORD:

The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness;
when Israel sought for rest, the LORD appeared to him from far away.

I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.

Again I will build you, and you shall be built,
O virgin Israel!
Again you shall adorn yourself with tambourines
and shall go forth in the dance of the merrymakers.
Again you shall plant vineyards
on the mountains of Samaria;
the planters shall plant
and shall enjoy the fruit.

For there shall be a day when watchmen will call in the hill country of Ephraim:
Arise, and let us go up to Zion, to the LORD our God.

I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.
I will feast the soul of the priests with abundance,
and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness,
declares the LORD.

Thus says the LORD:

Keep your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears,
for there is a reward for your work, declares the LORD,
and they shall come back from the land of the enemy.

Is Ephraim my dear son?
Is he my darling child?
For as often as I speak against him,
I do remember him still.

Therefore my heart yearns for him;
I will surely have mercy on him,
declares the LORD.

Return, O virgin Israel, return to these your cities.
How long will you waver, O faithless daughter?

For the LORD has created a new thing on the earth: a woman encircles a man.

I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, Know the LORD, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

(He will forget it--or at least not bring it to mind anymore!)

Thus says the LORD,

who gives the sun for light by day
and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night,
who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—
the LORD of hosts is his name:

If this fixed order departs
from before me, declares the LORD,
then shall the offspring of Israel cease
from being a nation before me forever.

(Israel is as established as natural law--such as gravity.)

Thus says the LORD:

If the heavens above can be measured,
and the foundations of the earth below can be explored,
then I will cast off all the offspring of Israel
for all that they have done,
declares the LORD.

(But the heavens can't be measure and the foundations of the earth cannot be explored!)

Jeremiah 32:

Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.

You show steadfast love to thousands, but you repay the guilt of fathers to their children after them, O great and mighty God, whose name is the LORD of hosts, great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the children of man, rewarding each one according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds.

You have shown signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, and to this day in Israel and among all mankind, and have made a name for yourself, as at this day.

You brought your people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and wonders, with a strong hand and outstretched arm, and with great terror.

And you gave them this land, which you swore to their fathers to give them, a land flowing with milk and honey.

And they entered and took possession of it.

But they did not obey your voice or walk in your law.

They did nothing of all you commanded them to do.

Therefore you have made all this disaster come upon them.

The children of Israel and the children of Judah have done nothing but evil in my sight from their youth.

The children of Israel have done nothing but provoke me to anger by the work of their hands, declares the LORD.

Now therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning this city of which you say, It is given into the hand of the king of Babylon by sword, by famine, and by pestilence:

Behold, I will gather them from all the countries to which I drove them in my anger and my wrath and in great indignation. I will bring them back to this place, and I will make them dwell in safety.

And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.

I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them.

I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.

I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul.

For thus says the LORD: Just as I have brought all this great disaster upon this people, so I will bring upon them all the good that I promise them.

Fields shall be bought in this land of which you are saying, It is a desolation, without man or beast; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans.

Fields shall be bought for money, and deeds shall be signed and sealed and witnessed, in the land of Benjamin, in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, in the cities of the hill country, in the cities of the Shephelah, and in the cities of the Negeb; for I will restore their fortunes, declares the LORD.

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