Jeremiah 31

Jeremiah 31:27-37
31:27 [God would reestablish His people, give them a new beginning, and relate to them through a new covenant] “The days are coming [a reference to the messianic age],” declares the LORD, “when I will plant [a promise to repopulate the land] the house of Israel and the house of Judah [a way of referring to the whole people of God] with the offspring of men and of animals.

31:28 Just as I watched over them to uproot and tear down [God had watched over the judgments on Israel and Judah], and to overthrow, destroy and bring disaster, so I will watch over them to build and to plant [God would carefully watch over the restoration],” declares the LORD.

Note: God would be as faithful in restoration as in judgment.

31:29 [cf. Ezek. 18:2] “In those days [refers to the time of God’s replanting] people will no longer say [the particular proverb implied that the people were innocent victims of the sins of past generations], ‘The fathers [previous generations] have eaten sour grapes [sinned], and the children’s teeth are set on edge [interpretation (and misapplication of the proverb): we are being unfairly punished for the sins of the previous generation].’

Note: In what ways do people today try to “pass the buck”? Why do people tend to blame others for their mistakes or failures? How does society contribute to these attitudes toward responsibility? When you have been faced with personal failure, have you taken ownership or have you sought to place blame on others?

31:30 Instead [the coming restoration would be a time marked by the acceptance of individual responsibility before God], everyone will die for his own sin; whoever eats sour grapes—his own teeth will be set on edge.

31:31 “The time is coming [new covenant would be fulfilled in the future],” declares the LORD [emphasizes the Lord as initiator of new covenant], “when I will [certainty] make a new [Mosaic covenant at Sinai (cf. Ex. 19-24) in effect until new covenant made] covenant [inaugurated with Christ’s coming; cf. Lk. 22:20 and 1 Cor. 11:25] with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.

31:32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke [repeatedly failed to live according to terms of old covenant] my covenant, though I was a husband [and Israel like an unfaithful wife] to them [Israelites],” declares the LORD.

31:33 “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “[old covenant on stone tablets; note distinctives of new covenant] [1] I will put my law in [internalized] their minds and write it on their hearts [center of intellect, emotions, will]. [2] I will be their God, and they will be my people.

31:34 No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all [able to] know [refers to intimate, personal knowledge] me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For [3] I will forgive [basis of a personal relationship with God under the new covenant] their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

31:35 [confirms covenant would be fulfilled] This is what the LORD says [these words and the last words of v. 37 form brackets around this message], he who appoints [same word translated “set” in Gen. 1:17; emphasizes the eternal duration of the covenant] the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar — the LORD Almighty is his name:

31:36 [existence of a remnant of God’s people as secure as creation itself] “Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,” declares the LORD, “will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me.”

31:37 This is what the LORD says: “Only if the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth below be searched out will I reject all the descendants of Israel because of all they have done [people’s sins and unfaithfulness to the Lord],” declares the LORD.

Note: The Covenants of the Bible
• To Noah (Gen. 9:8-17) Never to destroy the Earth again with a natural catastrophe.
• To Abraham (Gen. 15:9-21) To give Abraham land.
• To Abraham (Gen. 17) To be Abraham’s God and the God of Abraham’s descendants.
• At Sinai (Ex. 19-24) To be the God of Abraham and his descendants.
• To Phinehas (Num. 25:10-13) To maintain a lasting priesthood with this family.
• To David (2 Sam. 7:5-19) To maintain a descendant of David on Israel’s throne.
• New (Jer. 31:31-34) To forgive sins and establish a permanent relationship with God.

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