Christian and Bridget and the grandchildren arrived this morning. We headed to the pool for some “family fun.” Debbie and I returned to our condo unit while the rest of the family enjoyed some of the amenities at the resort. I think we will get our “heat-index” management plan implemented in the coming days.
BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. “…I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. Again I will build you, and you shall be built, O virgin Israel!” Jeremiah 31:2,3 ESV
In the 1980’s the “PTL Network” founded by Jim and Tammy Bakker was dominate and on “the top” of the church world. However, ethical and moral issues and financial dealings brought them down and ended top leaders in prison.
Richard Dortch was the Executive President. He tells of receiving a letter from David Wilkerson. The letter was a direct warning against the consequences of the pride that was dominate in the organization and calling for repentance and warning of God’s judgment.
While in prison Richard Dortch received another letter from David Wilkerson. He braced himself as he opened the letter and to his surprise instead of rebuke or condemnation he found reassuring words of mercy, love and a promise for a better future.
Prophets are not known for positive, encouraging words. Like Jeremiah, they are called to caution, warn and call to repentance and warn of judgment. But as rebellious as God’s people were and as serious as their present and immediate future, the Lord still had plans for their future. Even while experiencing the siege from the Babylonians armies and seeing thousands taken into captivity, the Lord gives Jeremiah a look into the future.
The is “good news” for the future from the Lord, “…I will make them walk by brooks of water, in a straight path in which they shall not stumble, for I am a father to Israel…..as I have watched over them to pluck up and break down, to overthrow, destroy, and bring harm, so I will watch over them to build and to plant, declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 31:9,28 ESV)
The Lord promises a future restoration and stability, “I will build you, and you shall be built…Behold, I will bring them from the north country and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth…” (Jeremiah 31:4,8 ESV)
The Lord promises to turn mourning into joy and to bring back the “song of Israel.” “Again you shall adorn yourself with tambourines and shall go forth in the dance of the merrymakers…Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.” (Jeremiah 31:4,13 ESV)
The Lord promises a return to fruitfulness. “Again you shall plant vineyards on the mountains of Samaria; the planters shall plant and shall enjoy the fruit.” (Jeremiah 31:5 ESV)
The Lord promises a new heart and a new relationship. “…this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Jeremiah 31:33 ESV)
God had a hope-filled future in store for his people, but they would not be the same people. They would have their hearts “re-set.” They would come to “know” the Lord in a far greater and personal way than they had known Him in the past. This is the good news from the prophet that would find its ultimate fulfillment in not just a “new” covenant but in the “New Covenant.” In that which is available to all through Christ’s death on the cross.
Prayer for today…. Lord thank You that You not only lead us to a new future, but create in us a new heart. When we “survive” that which can bring confusion and pain we are not only “brought back” but we are “made new.”