|"Prodigal Son" - Artist unknown|
TO CHEW ON: "Again I will build you and you shall be rebuilt,
O virgin of Israel!
You shall again be adorned with your tambourines,
And shall go forth in the dances of those who rejoice." Jeremiah 31:4
A family feud, a rift between you and an old friend, a church split, a betrayal by a business partner… Most of us have experienced the severing of a trusted relationship and know its fallout of sadness, disillusionment and the ache of an empty place at the table, empty pews in church, the empty office.
Israel and Judah had split into two nations during the reign of Solomon's son Rehoboam. That was about 300 years before Jeremiah's time. Though the crisis pain of that split had no doubt long healed, the desire that the two nations of God's chosen people be reunited lingered. In today's reading we hear it in Jeremiah's prediction of together again: "I will be the God of all the families of Israel and they shall all be my people" - Jeremiah 31:1.
Let's look at the bright picture Jeremiah paints of that reuniting:
This is a worldwide ingathering "I will bring them from the north country, And gather them from the ends of the earth…" Jeremiah 31:8, 10.
There is repentance and renewed spiritual sensitivity: "They shall come with weeping, And with supplications I will lead them" - Jeremiah 31:9.
There is celebration, singing and dancing - "You shall again be adorned with your tambourines, And shall go forth in the dances of those who rejoice …. Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, And the young men and the old together; For I will turn their mourning to joy…" Jeremiah 31:4,13.
There is vibrant praise and worship - " ' Sing with gladness for Jacob, And shout among the chief of the nations; Proclaim, give praise and say, "O Lord, save Your people…" ' " Jeremiah 31:7.
There is hope: "Again I will build you and you shall be rebuilt" - Jeremiah 31:4.
There is new life and productivity - "You shall yet plant vines on the mountains of Samaria …. Their souls shall be like a well-watered garden…" Jeremiah 31:5, 12.
Over it all there is a sense of God's love, protection, and care - "Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you … He who scattered Israel will gather him, and Keep him as a shepherd does his flock … And My people shall be satisfied with My goodness says the Lord" - Jeremiah 31:3, 10-11,14.
The picture of God reclaiming His people Israel can be compared to what it's like when He brings humanity back to Himself, healing the rift that split us and God apart when Adam and Eve sinned.
He brings us from wherever we are and accepts us no matter what our condition. Our tears of repentance and renewed spiritual sensitivity soon change to joy, singing, celebration, praise, and worship as we realize our happy condition. Our relationship with our Creator leads to renewed life and creativity. In the Shepherd's care we find security and satisfaction.
If you haven't come home to the Father, He calls to you today: "Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindess I have drawn you…"
Come to Him today!.
PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for wanting me back and making a way. Help me today to appreciate and enjoy the benefits of being Your child. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.