Saturday, October 6, 2018

Jeremiah 31

Today's reading in our daily plan is Jeremiah 31. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • Today’s chapter is a promise of hope and joy for the future. The Lord said to the people of Israel that He had everlasting love for them and would restore them to happiness.
  • God declared He would bring all the Israelites back home from where He had scattered them across the earth and the people would sing, shout, and dance with praise and joy. The people would be delighted in health and abundance of land, crops, and happiness.
  • In verse 15, God says “Rachel weeps for her children.” Rachel was the wife of Jacob, who fathered 12 sons that became the forefathers of the 12 tribes of Israel. Rachel is crying, in this verse, for the exiles at Ramah, one of the cities from which the Israelites were deported. This verse is followed up with God’s promise that the exiles would return to Israel and there is no need for weeping any longer. God reminds the people that He is the father of Israel and just as a parent needs to punish their children when they do wrong, God never stopped loving Israel.
  • The people of Israel tried to blame God’s judgment on the sins of their parents (see verse 29) but God promised that He would make a new pact with the people and would write His law on their hearts instead of writing it on stone tablets (like He did with the Ten Commandments).
  • The passage ends with God explaining where the boundaries of the restored Jerusalem would be.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • God desires to do the best for His people if they will follow Him. He reaches for them with kindness motivated by a deep and eternal love. Even when the people were justly punished for the multitude of their sins, God loved them dearly and forgave them as soon as they turned back to Him.
  • The promise of God’s law engraved on the hearts of people offered a unique personal relationship with God himself. When you turn your life over to God, He uses the Holy Spirit to build into you the desire to obey Him. The foundation of this new covenant between God and each individual person is Jesus Christ.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • What areas in your life do you struggle with making excuses for your actions? Do you blame your genetics for your addiction? Are you unable to have a healthy, committed relationship because of the home life you had as a child? The actions and sins of people in your life can indeed affect you, but each person is still personally accountable for the sin in their own life. Today, can you meet up with a friend you trust to be honest with you and ask them to help you see what excuses you use for your sins?
  • Take some time today to pray to God and ask Him to soften your heart and open your eyes to see one sinful area in your life and the steps you need to take to move toward a smoother path in life where you will not stumble.