Hope for the Future
Tim Temple


I am sure that everybody knows something about despair and disappointment. Maybe, and I hope it is true, some of your knowledge of that despair and disappointment is only second hand. Maybe you have only had to observe others going through a time of difficulty or grief or disappointment. But I know that for many of you, that experience of disappointment, perhaps even despair, is a first hand experience. You have been through it yourself and you know what it is.

As we come to the prophecies of Jeremiah, we find the people of Judah going more and more into a time of despair and disappointment and frustration. The book deals with the closing days of the great nation of what had once been the nation of Israel. Then after the days of Solomon, it divided into two nations, Israel and Judah—the northern kingdom, Israel, and the southern kingdom, Judah. Israel had gone into captivity already and now the nation of Judah with its capitol city of Jerusalem, the city of the great kings, was just about to be taken over by the Babylonians.

At the time, as we come to chapter 30, the city of Jerusalem had been under siege for more than a year. If you are familiar with the historical details of a siege of a city, you know that the armies would surround that city and cut it off from all its supplies so that all they would be able to live on would be whatever they had been able to plant and harvest within the city itself, whatever they may have been able to warehouse and store within the city before the siege began. Almost inevitably the siege of a city would wind up in suicide and cannibalism and the most horrible kinds of death.

That is where the city of Jerusalem was as we come to Jeremiah, chapter 30, but in that very time of despair, God gave them, through Jeremiah, an explanation of how they got there. Also, at that very darkest time in their history, God gave one of the Old Testament's greatest promises of future blessing.

These things are important to us from more than just an historical standpoint. We don't want to have just a history lesson as we look at the book of Jeremiah. A few of you probably enjoy history, but for most of us, it is a pretty boring thing to have to go through. But the Word of God is not just a history book. It deals with an historical people and with historical events, and that is good because we can verify the things that the Bible says by looking at history, but when God gives us history, it is a part of His plan that we will be able to learn by example and not by experience. God, in His grace, has recorded for us in His Word the experiences of other people who have made mistakes and messed up their lives and disobeyed Him in various ways. He records the lives of those people so that we, as we read their lives, as we hear about their lives, can pattern our lives in such a way that God can bless us.

It records some of the great victories that He brought into other peoples' lives. The old saying is that experience is the best teacher, but that is not biblically correct. Experience is probably the most thorough teacher. Experience may be the most difficult teacher, but God says example is the best teacher. If we will learn by example, then we won't have to learn by experience. That is why we have books like the book of Jeremiah which tell us about the sad spectacle, the sad example, of a nation who turned away from God.

Chapters 30-33, which we want to at least begin looking at today, are called by Bible scholars The Song of Jeremiah . The reason it is called that is that there are four parts in this passage. You know that in music, in a quartet, there is a tenor part, an alto part, a soprano and a bass part. Any of those sung by themselves may not sound like the melody, but blended together, they not only bring out the melody of the song but they enrich it and enhance it, and it is much more enjoyable to hear that kind of music. As Bible scholars through the years have studied these chapters in Jeremiah, they have found these four parts and the harmony of this wonderful message of the book of Jeremiah that brings out hope in even the worst of situations. Again, I remind you that this hope is not just for Israel; it is for us also.

The Certainty of Judgment

In chapter 30, beginning with verse 4, we find the first part in this harmony. It is a note of the certainty of judgment. Look at verse 4, as we read:

Jeremiah 30:

4 And these are the words that the LORD spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah.
5 For thus saith the LORD; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace.
6 Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness?
7 Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.

These verses are talking about this judgment that is in the process of coming on the remnant of the nation of Israel, these last people in this nation of Judah which had once been a part of the nation of Israel itself. He addresses it to that combined nation, Israel and Judah, in verse 4. He talks about this terrible trouble that is coming on them, that is already in the process of coming on them. He talks about the severity of it in a very realistic way. In verse 5, he describes men undergoing labor pains.

My dad used to say that if men had to have the babies, every family would only have one child because the most terrible kind of pain, I am told, is the pain of childbirth. Here God says, “This time of trouble that is coming upon you is so severe that the men act as if they are going through labor pains.”

In Matthew, chapter 24, Jesus, talking about this same period of time, the severity of the troubles of Israel, said in Matthew 24, verse 21, “It will be a time of great tribulation, such as not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.”

There is coming a time in Israel's history, God says, that will be a time of horrible, terrible suffering. The interesting thing is, if we are familiar with all that God has to say about the future, that even this terrible time of captivity of Jerusalem was not the complete fulfillment of that prophecy. Down through the years Israel has suffered terrible things, but in the very last days of human history, that terrible suffering will even be worse for Israel and for all others who are still on the earth at that time. With all of the holocaust and the horrors of that, with all of their dispersion throughout the world, all the terrible suffering that the Jews have had to go through, there is a day coming that will be even worse. Combined together, Israel presents a spectacle of suffering and of despair and of disappointment.

Reason for Israel's Suffering

In chapter 30, verse 15, God clearly points out the reason for that. Skip down to verse 15:

Jeremiah 30:

15 Why criest thou for thine affliction? thy sorrow is incurable for the multitude of thine iniquity: because thy sins were increased, I have done these things unto thee.

Now notice this: “Because of the multitude of your iniquities, because your sins have increased, I have done these things to you.” God stands, as though standing with His hands on His hips looking at Israel, and says, “I am the One Who has brought all of this upon you. I am the One Who is reponsible for all this suffering.”

I want to digress here for a moment and talk about suffering in a general way, a summary kind of way, because there are many people who read a verse like this and they say, “Aha, I told you so. God stands at the edge of Heaven and He looks over on the earth and as He sees people on earth beginning to have a good time, He finds some way to cut that out, and He does nothing but bring trouble and sadness into people's lives. God is this angry God Whom we have to be so careful not to offend.”

Verses like this would make it sound this way, wouldn't they? God says, “I am the One Who has done these things to you.” We need to remember when we come to passages like this that this kind of suffering is only one of four broad, general categories of suffering. I want to emphasize that today because there may be some of you, as I said in the beginning, who are even now in a time of great difficulty, a time of great hardship. Maybe if not yourself, you have a loved one or a close friend who is going through a time of great difficulty and you think, “Why does God do these kinds of things?”

Suffering Because of Being Born Into the Human Race

I want to remind you that there are four broad categories of suffering that comes because we are born into a sinful human race. In Genesis, chapter 3, verses 17-19, after Adam and Eve had both sinned, one hundred percent of the human race was sinful at that point because they were one hundred percent of the human race. Since that time, every person born into the human race has been born into that sinful state, that ability to commit sin whether we have actually exercised that ability or not.

All of us have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and even a little baby who chooses to resist what the parents want them to do is exercising that sin nature. God said in Genesis, chapter 3, verses 17-19, “Because of this sin, along with it is going to come the curse on the earth, the thorns and thistles and drought, and all kinds of difficulties that come with being a part of the human race.” Some of us suffer because of that with sinus infections like I have right now. Others suffer with having to have your air conditioner not work and suffer through the heat and all kinds of things that come just because we are human beings. God isn't singling us out for any kind of punishment. It is just because the human race is sinful and God has inflicted these difficulties on us to remind us of what had been ours and what was lost because of sin.

Suffering Because of Disobedience

There is a second category of suffering. This is the one that probably most people think of as the only category of suffering, and that is what I would call suffering as the natural result of our sin . That is what had happened in Israel. God had clearly outlined for them in great detail how He wanted them to live, the things that would bring prosperity to them, the things that would bring success to them, the things that would bring peace to them. He had clearly told them what to do, but over the years again and again, the nation of Israel and the individuals within the nation of Israel rebelled against that. They had refused to do the things that God wanted them to do. They had thought of God as a stingy God who wanted to hold them back from fulfillment and joy. Many people today still look at God in that way, and they read in God's Word that we should not do this and we should not do that and they think, “God is just trying to rob me of my fun.”

What God is doing as He gives us these instructions in His Word is giving us the manufacturer's handbook. He is telling us how the human being will function most fully and at its best and at the optimum. When we get a car or some other piece of equipment, we get a manufacturer's handbook along with it. Of course, we all know that one of the basic rules of working with electronics or working with equipment of any kind is, “If all else fails, read the directions.” Many times we only read the directions when we simply cannot get the device to work or when we have fouled it up so badly that we can't figure out how to fix it. The very same thing is true with the Word of God. Many people don't read the Bible until their lives are so fouled up that they don't know what to do. That is because God tells us how to have a life that is meaningful and fulfilling. He tells us that in His Word, and in order to do that, He has to tell us to do this and do not do that: Don't think about this and don't look at that. It is to our detriment when we say, “God is just being stingy with me. God is trying to keep me from having something that I want.” And so a second category of suffering is suffering that comes because of disobedience to God.

Galatians, chapter 6, verse 7, says:

Galatians 6:

7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

If we sin we can expect that sin to bring definite results in our lives because we are not operating on the basis that the Designer knows is best for us. As I say, many people, as soon as something bad happens, begin to say, “Oh, God is punishing me for this or that thing that I have done.” That may be the case. That may be why you are in that difficulty today, but it may not be because there is a third category of suffering.

Suffering Because of Discipline

That is something that only comes for the believer in Jesus Christ. In fact, it is sort of a double dose for a believer. When a believer in Christ sins willingly, when a believer in Christ disobeys what God has to say, not only will he have the natural results of that sin, but he will also have the disciplinary suffering that God brings into the lives of his children. I say this reverently today, but I say it factually: God faces a dilemma when one of His children sins. When we who have accepted Christ as our Savior commit sin, God cannot condemn us with the world. I Corinthians, chapter 11, tells us that He cannot condemn us with the world and therefore He has to chasten us and discipline us. He can't send us to Hell and so He has got to bring us to that place where we will confess our sins and come back into fellowship with Him; so for the believer, not only do we have whatever the results of our sin might be, but God also will bring difficulty into our lives, bring pressure to bear on us because He wants us to be in fellowship with Him.

He wants us to confess that sin and He brings those difficulties into our lives to get our attention. I have said this often before, but I want to say it to you again: If you are in a time of difficulty, if you are in a time of suffering, the very first thing you should do is make a very careful inventory. “Is there something that God is trying to get my attention about? Is there some sin that I have committed that God is trying to awaken me to and come to grips with so that I will confess it and forsake it and be restored to fellowship with Him?”

As I have already said several times, that is not the only reason for suffering, but it certainly is the first thing a Christian ought to ask himself because that is one of the major purposes for suffering that God has as He deals with us as His children. If you make a mental inventory, if you ask God to open your eyes to any sin that might be there that you have rationalized away or have stuffed down to the point that you are not even willing to realize what it is, ask God to open your eyes to that. If and when He does, confess that sin and know His forgiveness. If He doesn't open your eyes to any sin, and if you are honest with Him and you don't find any sin there, then you can know that that suffering that you are going through is for one of these other purposes. That is a very important third category of suffering.

Suffering for Righteousness' Sake

There is maybe a broader category, the broadest of all perhaps, that is what I am calling suffering for righteousness' sake . There are those things that God allows some of His choicest servants to go through, not because of anything that they have done wrong, maybe not even because of anything they need to learn, but because of what God can teach others through their suffering. Maybe it has to do with what God can teach them through their suffering, but it is suffering that God brings into our lives, not because of anything that we have done wrong, but because there is something that we or someone else can learn from that.

The best example of this is Job, who is described in the book that bears his name there in the Old Testament. Someone has said that the biggest problem that Job had in all his suffering was that he did not have the opportunity to read chapter 1 of his own book. In Job, chapter 1, verses 6-12, we are told how Satan, who has the ability to go into God's presence in Heaven, said, “Those humans on the earth just worship You because they are afraid of You, or they worship You because You have given them so much. I believe that all of this worship that You are getting is just hollow, empty praise.”

God said, “Is that so? Have you thought about my servant, Job? He is a just man and he worships me because of Who I am, not because of anything I have done for him.”

Satan said, “Well, he is a billionaire. Of course, he worships You. He has a beautiful family. He has everything. You have done everything for him. Of course, he is going to worship You.”

So God said, “You can take away anything that he has except his life. I will show you whether he worships Me for Who I am or for what I have done.” The story goes on to say how God allowed Satan to take away Job's family, his flocks, his herd and his wealth. On top of that, he inflicted him with four holier-than-thou friends who came and told him what a sinner he was and that was why he was suffering. He went through all of that suffering because God had brought it upon him to teach Satan a lesson. That is probably one of those things that you or I would say, or maybe Job would even say, “If it wasn't for the honor of the thing, I'd just as soon not.” But God taught Satan a lesson and recorded it in the Scripture for all of us to see that it is possible and that what God desires most and what God honors most is those of us who love Him regardless of what He does or does not do for us.

Someone has said, “What God wants is for us to seek His face and not just His hand.” How much of our worship of God is because of what we hope He will do for us instead of what we know He has done for us? So there is that special category of suffering that God allows some of His choicest saints to go through because He knows He can trust them to be a lesson to others.

Again, it may be that some of you are in that category of suffering today or some of your loved ones or some of your friends are suffering today and you can't imagine why God would let a person like that go through that kind of suffering. God would say, if we had the opportunity to talk with Him face to face, and perhaps will say to us when we get to Heaven some day, “I have allowed him to go through that or I have allowed her to go through that because of the effect it will have on so and so's life, because of the effect it would have on such and such a situation.” A very honorable way to suffer, but definitely one of the areas of suffering. There are many sub-points in those categories of suffering.

Coming back to Jeremiah, they are being punished, God says, because of their sin, because of their wickedness, and God was saying to them through all of that difficulty, “Turn around and come back to Me.” He had sent them prophets over a period of four hundred years who kept telling them, “Your suffering is because of your sin. Confess your sin and come back to God and everything will be right.”

There was a time or two through the years, when they had a king or two who would bring them back to God, and sure enough, the blessings increased again, but sooner or later, they would wander away into their own selfish disobedience of God and His Word. So the first part in this song of Jeremiah is that song of despair and discipline.

The Certainty of Joy

Chapter 30, verses 8-9, bring out a second part in the harmony, a second part that is very different. That is the certainty of joy. Look at verse 8:

Jeremiah 30:

8 For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him:
9 But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them.

He is talking about this Babylonian captivity that they are just on the verge of going into. History records and the Bible records that after seventy years of that captivity, God did release them from that. But, really He is not talking only about that in these verses because Jeremiah goes on to point out and the history of the Bible records that they were delivered from that, but notice in verse 9 something that is even beyond our day that hasn't been fulfilled yet. He says:

Jeremiah 30:

9 …David their king, whom I will raise up unto them.

There is coming a day, which is still future as far as we are concerned, when one of David's descendants will sit on the throne of David, ruling over Jerusalem. One of the reasons that we believe the thousand year reign of Christ will be a literal, physical reign of Christ, is verses like this that tell us clearly that a descendant of David, someone of the house of David, will rule over Jerusalem, and that has never taken place even to this day. So God is making promises to them that will be fulfilled seventy years later, but also that will be fulfilled at least two thousand years later, three thousand years later. At some point in the future, God is going to restore Israel to its place of centrality in the world and Jesus Christ, the son of David, the descendant of David, will sit on the throne in Jerusalem, ruling over all the nations of the world in the literal sense. So this is a note of great joy that God brings into this song. There are other details farther down in the chapter. Look down in verse 18, where we read:

Jeremiah 30:

18 Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will bring again the captivity of Jacob's tents, and have mercy on his dwellingplaces; and the city shall be builded upon her own heap, and the palace shall remain after the manner thereof.
19 And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small.
20 Their children also shall be as aforetime, and their congregation shall be established before me, and I will punish all that oppress them.
21 And their nobles shall be of themselves, and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them; and I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto me: for who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto me? saith the LORD.
22 And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.

“There is coming a day,” God says on the verge of this captivity, “when your own people will be governing over you. Your rulers will come from among your own people. You won't be under the domination of other nations.”

Of course, even down to this day in which we live, even though Israel now has their own sovereign state, they still are very much hampered by and intimidated by and influenced by the other nations of the world, but God says there is coming a day when you will decide for yourself what you are going to do and the other nations of the world will simply have to sit back and watch you do it. That is still future, too, so God is making wonderful promises to Judah here. Look at chapter 31, verse 7:

Jeremiah 31:

7 For thus saith the LORD; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O LORD, save thy people, the remnant of Israel.
8 Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither.

That is a wonderful promise, isn't it? In 1949, when the state of Israel was reestablished, within the memory of many of you here today, within the lifetime of most of us here today, the state of Israel was restored and many people thought that that was the fulfillment of this prophecy and other places in the Scripture where this prophecy is stated. Actually, I believe that it was only the beginning of the fulfillment of it because it also goes on to say that they would be there in belief and worship and praise of God. At this point in time, that is not the case. They only recognize God in the very generic sense. It is technically illegal to talk about Jesus Christ in Israel, but the formation of that state in 1949 was at least the beginnings of the fulfillment of this prophecy and shows how easily it can happen. Look at verse 12:

Jeremiah 31:

12 Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the LORD, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all.

Then skip down to verse 28:

Jeremiah 31:

28 And it shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict; so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the LORD.

Wonderful promises of God to the nation of Israel. “Just as I have disciplined them, someday I will lift them up,” He says. Obviously, those promises haven't been completely fulfilled yet. Some of the areas that will someday belong to Israel are still in the hands of other nations at this time. But, what a hope they have! What a beautiful promise from God!

Think carefully about this as we think about these great promises from God. When were these promises given? They were given, if you think about it, when all human hope was gone, when there was nothing more they could do humanly. When they were on the very verge of captivity, they were a wicked and wayward people. They were stubborn and rebellious. God had been dealing with them for centuries trying to turn them around. It had been four hundred years since the days of David and the height of the nation's glory and power. Even though, as I said a few minutes ago, reforms had come occasionally, they had continued in their downward spiral in their rebellion against God until now their city was about to be taken into captivity.

Why would God bring to them such a promise at a time like this? Why would He bring to them in their darkest hour these great prophecies of future glory and joy? That is because God is a God of grace and a God of hope and a God of peace. It turns out that the dominant note of this song is this song of the promise of future joy.

The Completeness of His Love

There is a third note sounding in this song which ties these other two notes together. That is the completeness of God's love. It helps us understand how God could take wicked and wayward and rebellious people and make promises like that to them. Look at the first few verses of chapter 31. We skipped over these just a few minutes ago. Look at verse 1:

Jeremiah 31:

1 At the same time, saith the LORD, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people.
2 Thus saith the LORD, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.
3 The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

God says to Israel, “I'll be with you in the midst of your trouble. You don't have to go through it alone. You have to go through it because of your sin, but you won't be alone. I will be there to sustain you through all of those troubles.”

Look at the middle of verse 3 again and notice this very significant statement: “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” That is an amazing statement from God. It is a very beautiful phrase, and it is much more significant than we might think just in reading through it. The word everlasting there is one of those words which, even in the original language, is hard to define. It speaks of more than just the duration when it says everlasting. It means more than just eternal. It has an element of mystery in it. It refers to what we might call the vanishing point.

Think with me about this for a minute. Let your mind run back over all the years of your life as far back as you can remember, the earliest of your memories. You come to a place where you can't really remember anything earlier than that. Now, you have heard about things that you did, maybe, before that time, but in your own memory there is a place beyond which you cannot go back. It is the vanishing point of your memory, but you know that other things took place before that.

Now let your mind run forward as far as it can into the future of what you know certainly is going to happen. Again, you come to the vanishing point, the place where you can't really predict. Even though you know from God's Word what is promised in the future, you can't visualize that for yourself—the vanishing point. That is the idea of this word everlasting . It is a word which really means “beyond dimension.” It means “greater than we can fathom with our human mind.”

Paul wrote about this same idea in Ephesians, chapter 3, when he prayed for the Ephesians that they would know what is the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of God. God's love is greater, broader, deeper, higher, wider, whatever human dimensions that we might put on it, than we can comprehend with our mind. God says, “I have loved you with this indescribable, unfathomable love.” When you get to that difficult place in your life, or if you are there today and what is worse, maybe a part of the suffering is that you know that is the direct result of sin that you have committed in the past, that it is the reaping of what you sowed, then you are in a difficult place.

When you come to that place at some point in the future and you are tempted to cry out, “Why did I do those things? Why didn't I listen to people who gave me advice? Why didn't I listen to the Lord, whose voice came through those other people? Why did I let myself get into this situation?”, God wants to remind you today that He loved you in the midst of that situation. He loves you with that everlasting love, that indescribable love, the unfathomable love, that love that really doesn't make sense, because you are there because of what you brought on yourself or you are there because of some reason you can't even imagine. God's love is there with you and you can't even imagine how great and how deep and how real that love is. In a sense God is saying to us. “Look, this thing may be painful for you; it may be difficult for you; but this very hurt that you are going through is something that I am going to use to produce in you the character that both you and I want you to have, and that is why I am allowing you to go through it. It will mellow you. It will refine you. It will soften you. It will make you like Jesus Christ rather than a hard, callused, resistant, self-centered person. You will become through this difficulty open and responsive and selfless and useable to Me. I love you enough to bring you through this time, in fact, to go through it with you.”

That is what God is saying to Judah and to us. This mysterious quality of this love draws us to Him, even in the suffering that He had to bring upon us to be faithful to Himself. “I have loved you with an everlasting love,” He says, “therefore, I have continued My faithfulness to you. I haven't kept you from the results of sowing to the flesh in your life, but because I love you, I am not going to abandon you to that. Rather, I am going to teach you through it.” That is God's everlasting love. That sounds strange to us, doesn't it? It doesn't fit with the way we would do things. It doesn't fit with our concept of the wages of sin. In the first place, we want to escape the consequences for our sin if we can, just not have to go through it. God says, “No, My laws are immutable. You violate My law and you have to go through the consequences. You jump off a building and I'm not gong to disable the law of gravity just so you won't get hurt. The same thing is true of all My law. You are going to have to go through the consequences, but I will be there with you. Not only that, but I will use that suffering to bring about something in your life that would have never been there had I not allowed it to be that way.”

God's Provision for a New Way of Life

That brings us to the last notes of this song of Jeremiah, and it is found in verses 31-40. It is a note of a comprehensive new way to live. We have seen the certainly of judgment and the certainty of joy, and the completeness of God's love. To top that all off, here is the provision of God for a whole new way of life. Look at verse 31:

Jeremiah 31:

31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Here is a wonderful promise from God of what He is going to do with the people of Judah, something that they could never do for themselves, something that we could never do for ourselves. Despite all their failure, He is going to turn them around and He is going to do it by a new process which He outlines here. That process is in three steps. First, He says, “I will put My law within them and write it upon their hearts.” You see, God is going to give them a new motive, something that comes from within, not from the outside. The law was a pressure that came in on them from the outside. God says, “In My new covenant I am going to put My love in their hearts, and they will desire to respond to Me.” A new covenant, something within us, a motivation to respond out of love for God, not out of fear of God. The amazing thing is that God has made that new covenant to us. He has extended that new covenant to us in the death of Jesus Christ. I will say more about that in just a minute.

The second step in God's plan is a new power. He says, “I will give them the power to obey me. I will be their God and they will be My people.”

The third step is in verse 34, a new family. Notice Jeremiah 31, verse 34:

Jeremiah 31:

34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD…

All of those in the family know each other. That is why when Christians meet one another, even though they have never met before, maybe they are from opposite sides of the globe, they have something in common because they are members of God's family. They know the same Lord and they share the same life. That is why we can fellowship with each other, no matter what our human associations may be.

The basis for this new covenant is given in the final words of this section. It all rests on this foundational statement in verse 34. Look at it again:

Jeremiah 31:

34 …for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

That is how God proposes to win this battle. When we can't respond the way we know we should to the commands of God, how are we going to do that? It is a hopeless situation, isn't it? God says, “I'm going to put My Word, My desire, My love in your hearts.”

Someday, historically speaking, God is going to do that with Israel as a nation, but He has already done it for those of us who know Jesus Christ. Jesus, when He was on the earth, at the very end of His life, said to the disciples as He gave them the communion elements, “This is My blood of the new covenant, My blood which is shed for you.” That covenant that God is going to someday make with the nation of Israel has been made with us in the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ, and God, when we accept Christ as Savior, gives us the desire to obey His Word. He doesn't take away the desire to obey the sin nature, but gives us a new desire to obey His Word. He gives us the ability to understand His Word through the indwelling Holy Spirit. He gives us the power to obey His Word through the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. So that new covenant has already been made with any of us or all of us who have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior. Someday it will be true for the nation of Israel. But it is available to us even now. That is why the Sermon on the Mount begins with bankruptcy. Jesus, as He talked to His disciples, said in Matthew, chapter 5, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”


Have you reached that place today? Do you realize that you cannot, in your own strength any more than Israel could, keep the law of God, obey the instructions of God? Are you ready to say, “Just as I am without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me, and that Thou bid'st me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.”

We have no standing any more than the citizens of Judah did at the close of their kingdom to approach God and say, “God save me. God, let me be Your child,” except for His everlasting love, His love that is beyond our comprehension, His love which was expressed at the Cross of Jesus Christ.

In Revelation, chapter 3, verse 20, He tells us that He stands at the door and knocks. He says, “Open the door and let Me come in and have fellowship with you. Respond to that ability that I have put in your heart to respond to Me and be a part of My loving relationship.”

You can say that to Him right now. Without one plea, without one leg to stand on, “I come to You because You asked me to.” If you have never trusted Him as your Savior, you can come to Him for salvation today. If you are out of fellowship with Him, you know Him as your Savior, but you have disobeyed Him, you have gotten away from Him, you can come back to Him for fellowship today and have those sins forgiven and forgotten and remembered no more forever, through the blood of the new covenant.

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