God’s Saving Word: Justice and Peace
Jeremiah 31:23‒40: Jeremiah says that God will restore the people of the southern tribes of Judah and bring them home. God promises to make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah, putting the law within them and writing the law on their hearts.
The Future Prosperity of God’s People
23 The Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says, “When I restore the people to their land, they will once again say in the land of Judah and in its towns,
‘May the Lord bless the sacred hill[a] of Jerusalem,
the holy place where he lives.’
24 People will live in Judah and in all its towns, and there will be farmers, and shepherds with their flocks.
25 I will refresh those who are weary and will satisfy with food everyone who is weak from hunger.
26 So then, people will say, ‘I went to sleep and woke up refreshed.’
27 “I, the Lord, say that the time is coming when I will fill the land of Israel and Judah with people and animals. 28 And just as I took care to uproot, to pull down, to overthrow, to destroy, and to demolish them, so I will take care to plant them and to build them up. 29 When that time comes, people will no longer say,
‘The parents ate the sour grapes,
But the children got the sour taste.’
30 Instead, those who eat sour grapes will have their own teeth set on edge; and everyone will die because of their own sin.”
31 The Lord says, “The time is coming when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. 32 It will not be like the old covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and led them out of Egypt. Although I was like a husband to them, they did not keep that covenant. 33 The new covenant that I will make with the people of Israel will be this: I will put my law within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 None of them will have to teach a neighbor to know the Lord, because all will know me, from the least to the greatest. I will forgive their sins and I will no longer remember their wrongs. I, the Lord, have spoken.”
35 The Lord provides the sun for light by day,
the moon and the stars to shine at night.
He stirs up the sea and makes it roar;
his name is the Lord Almighty.
36 He promises that as long as the natural order lasts,
so long will Israel be a nation.
37 If one day the sky could be measured
and the foundations of the earth explored,
only then would he reject the people of Israel
because of all they have done.
The Lord has spoken.
38 “The time is coming,” says the Lord, “when all of Jerusalem will be rebuilt as my city, from Hananel Tower west to the Corner Gate. 39 And the boundary line will continue from there on the west to the hill of Gareb and then around to Goah. 40 The entire valley, where the dead are buried and garbage is dumped, and all the fields above Kidron Brook as far as the Horse Gate to the east, will be sacred to me. The city will never again be torn down or destroyed.”
Today’s Key Verse: Jeremiah 31:34b
[The LORD says:] “I will forgive their sins and I will no longer remember their wrongs.”
Reread verses 31‒34. This is the high point of Jeremiah’s message. In God’s new agreement with the people of Israel and Judah, God will write the laws directly on the hearts and minds of the people, and God will forgive their sins. What does having God’s law written on your heart mean to you?
Loving and merciful God, thank you for being my God and for your law which is now written on my heart. Open my heart and mind to your Word, that I may live each day in accord with your will. Amen.
Deuteronomy 1:9‒18: Moses delivers his first speech to the Israelites who are preparing to enter the Promised Land.