Jeremiah 31:23 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Once more they shall use these words in the land of Judah and in its towns when I restore their fortunes: "The LORD bless you, O abode of righteousness, O holy hill!" 24 And Judah and all its towns shall live there together, and the farmers and those who wander with their flocks. 25 I will satisfy the weary, and all who are faint I will replenish. 26 Thereupon I awoke and looked, and my sleep was pleasant to me. 27 The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of humans and the seed of animals. 28 And just as I have watched over them to pluck up and break down, to overthrow, destroy, and bring evil, so I will watch over them to build and to plant, says the LORD. 29 In those days they shall no longer say: "The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge." 30 But all shall die for their own sins; the teeth of everyone who eats sour grapes shall be set on edge. 31 The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt--a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the LORD. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: 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. 34 No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, "Know the LORD," for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.
Jeremiah, God’s preacher to the Kingdom of Judah, has repeatedly warned them that there would be dire consequences for disobeying their Covenant relationship with God. The Kingdom was conquered and Jeremiah was carried off into exile to Babylon in 586BC. The above passage was probably written during this period.
These are words of hope: Jeremiah says that the time is coming when the Covenant will be restored. But this “will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors”; instead it will be a covenant of relationship: the people will no longer be punished by exile for the sins of their parents. Instead they will have a personal knowledge/experience of God and will be forgiven.
Jesus followers are invited into a relational faith with the Divine: we accept responsibility for our actions, we apologise for our failures, and we celebrate new beginnings.
Ordinary 28 / Pentecost +21
50 A Friend of Souls
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 304.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.