“The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.” (31:3)
This passage is full of hope. The LORD’s anger is not forever and He will never forsake His people. In the middle of this glorious promise is one sad verse reading:
“Thus says the LORD, “A voice is heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; She refuses to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more.” (31:15)
This seems random and out of place, but it is later referenced in Matthew 2:18 when Herod slaughters the babies of Bethlehem in hopes of killing the new baby king Jesus. Hope is coming in a profound and unlikely way. But wait! There’s more!
“But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (31:33-34)
It wasn’t game over for Israel as they were systematically deported to Babylon. Not by a long shot. Their story was far from over, because their God was far from finished.
What season do you find yourself in? Is it hopeful? Hopeless? Beginning? Ending? Transitioning? Maintaining? Life is full of seasons. We are descending into winter. It’s exciting because it’s still crisp and fall-ish, but with Thanksgiving past, we can now get into the Holiday spirit! But then, after New Year, it will be January, and if you’re in the Northwest it means plenty more months of cold, wet, dark, non-Christmas winter. Sometimes those months make me disbelieve in Spring or Summer. Can the ground come to life again? Is it always going to be this cold and dark?? It’s easy to get caught up in these moments.
That’s what makes 31 such a wonderful chapter. In the midst of a terrible season for Israel, God leans back and joyously announces His exciting plans for the coming millennia.
“You know, one day, it won’t be such a battle to convince you to know me and do the right thing. The right thing will be at your core. You will know me! I will be yours and you will be MINE!”
This Day is very far off, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real. Just like a long winter doesn’t make Summer less real.
My details of my life seem very up in the air at the moment, but God has been gracious to me. He’s given me a healthy little nephew who reminds me how much life and abundance is still ahead, no matter what.
He loves us with an everlasting love. How does that change the way you see today?