-Israel’s mourning will be turned into joy as God becomes their Lord again, and He makes them His people. God has loved them with an everlasting love and appeared to them from afar, building them up again from their deportation and giving them cause to celebrate extravagantly back in the Promised Land (Jeremiah 31:1-6). The LORD tells them to praise Him with gladness and shouts for His saving work in the regathering. Even the blind and lame will return, the woman with child, a great company will again be present in the land. With weeping they will come with the overflowing emotion of the ingathering, and by supplication God will lead them. They will have all the resources they need to sustain themselves again on a straight path with no stumbling because God is their Father (Jeremiah 31:7-9). “He who scattered Israel will gather him and keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock (Jeremiah 31:10).” The LORD, Himself, has ransomed and redeemed His people from a strong enemy, and the people will return with joy on the height of Zion, radiant over the bounty of the LORD. New grain, wine, and oil will flow, the herds will be young and plentiful, and their life will again be like a watered garden with no languishing forevermore (Jeremiah 31:11-12). There will be dancing of marriage festivities with young and old together as their time of mourning will be over and joy indeed will reign. The priests will have souls filled with abundance, and God’s people will be satisfied with His goodness (Jeremiah 31:13-14). The rendering of lamentation and woe, which Matthew picks up on with the slaying of the young at the time of Christ (Matthew 2:18), at this point and time in the prophecy will be forgotten. For the LORD tells them to restrain their voice from weeping now and their eyes from tears. Their work will be rewarded as they return from the land of the enemy into the hope and destiny of God’s chosen people. Repentance is a big part of this transformation as we see in Jeremiah 31:19. God’s instruction caused them grief, shame, and humiliation as they bore His reproach, but God has not forgotten His children and will always yearn for them with His heart and give them mercy by His very own declaration (Jeremiah 31:15-20). God does not want them drifting forever in the futility of their own deceptions and false ways of their own mind. He desires faith and dependence on Him, which will bring the comeback (Jeremiah 31:21-22). God’s refreshing Word continues with restoration of the people’s fortunes as they bless the LORD of righteousness on His Holy Hill (Jerusalem). They will dwell in unity and be generous with pleasant-sweet sleep and rest (Jeremiah 31:23-26).
-Jeremiah describes the New Covenant in Old Testament prophetic form in the remaining verses of the chapter. These are future events, partially fulfilled in Christ’s first incarnation and the sending of the Holy Spirit to indwell the believer. God is watching over His people to discipline them with plucking up, breaking down, overthrowing, destroying, and bringing disaster, but He will also oversee their building back up and the planting work in the rebirth of their nation. In this time, they will take on their own responsibility for iniquity. The days are coming when the LORD will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel (which will be opened up to all the nations) and the house of Judah. This covenant (promise, testament), inaugurated in the work of the Messiah will not be like the one which He made with the ancient fathers in the days of Moses when they came out of Egypt. This covenant was broken even though God had been a faithful husband to them. In the New Covenant, God will put His law within believers and on their heart (not stone tablets like the Mosaic Covenant). He promises in this dispensation to always be their God and they His people. They will have Him as their teacher because of a true and lasting relationship in which they will “know” Him. From the greatest to the least their iniquities will be forgiven by faith in the righteous One of Israel, and He will remember their sin no more! This is a guaranteed promise of the Creator to His nation and people. He will NOT cast them off even though they have transgressed His ways. The city (Jerusalem) will be rebuilt, and “it will not be plucked up or overthrown anymore forever (Jeremiah 31:27-40).” *Application* Jeremiah’s prophecy is reassuring and accurate as we see the rebirth of Israel in our modern times. The best is yet to come! The fact that one day, God’s people will return to Him and their true Messiah, Jesus Christ, is exciting news (Zechariah 8; 12:10)! While Christ has already made atonement and initiated the New Covenant in His blood (Matthew 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20), there remains a time of restoration that will show that God is indeed good and compassionate towards His people and all who receive Him as their Savior.
Verses to Memorize: Jeremiah 31:16, 33