Jeremiah 31* The restoration of Israel. (1-9) Promises of guidance andhappiness; Rachel lamenting. (10-17) Ephraim laments his errors.(18-20) The promised Saviour. (21-26) God's care over thechurch. (27-34) Peace and prosperity in gospel time. (35-40)1-9 God assures his people that he will again take them intocovenant relation to himself. When brought very low, anddifficulties appear, it is good to remember that it has been sowith the church formerly. But it is hard under present frowns totake comfort from former smiles; yet it is the happiness ofthose who, through grace, are interested in the love of God,that it is an everlasting love, from everlasting in thecounsels, to everlasting in the continuance. Those whom Godloves with this love, he will draw to himself, by the influencesof his Spirit upon their souls. When praising God for what hehas done, we must call upon him for the favours his church needsand expects. When the Lord calls, we must not plead that wecannot come; for he that calls us, will help us, will strengthenus. The goodness of God shall lead them to repentance. And theyshall weep for sin with more bitterness, and more tenderness,when delivered out of their captivity, than when groaning underit. If we take God for our Father, and join the church of thefirst-born, we shall want nothing that is good for us. Thesepredictions doubtless refer also to a future gathering of theIsraelites from all quarters of the globe. And they figurativelydescribe the conversion of sinners to Christ, and the plain andsafe way in which they are led. 10-17 He that scattered Israel, knows where to find them. It iscomfortable to observe the goodness of the Lord in the gifts ofprovidence. But our souls are never valuable as gardens, unlesswatered with the dews of God's Spirit and grace. A preciouspromise follows, which will not have full accomplishment exceptin the heavenly Zion. Let them be satisfied of God'sloving-kindness, and they will be satisfied with it, and desireno more to make them happy. Rachel is represented as rising fromher grave, and refusing to be comforted, supposing her offspringrooted out. The murder of the children at Bethlehem, by Herod,#Mt 2:16-18|, in some degree fulfilled this prediction, butcould not be its full meaning. If we have hope in the end,concerning an eternal inheritance, for ourselves and thosebelonging to us, all temporal afflictions may be borne, and willbe for our good. 18-20 Ephraim (the ten tribes) is weeping for sin. He is angryat himself for his sin, and folly, and frowardness. He finds hecannot, by his own power, keep himself close with God, much lessbring himself back when he is revolted. Therefore he prays, Turnthou me, and I shall be turned. His will was bowed to the willof God. When the teaching of God's Spirit went with thecorrections of his providence, then the work was done. This isour comfort in affliction, that the Lord thinks upon us. God hasmercy in store, rich mercy, sure mercy, suitable mercy, for allwho seek him in sincerity. 21-26 The way from the bondage of sin to the liberty of God'schildren, is a high-way. It is plain, it is safe; yet none arelikely to walk in it, unless they set their hearts towards it.They are encouraged by the promise of a new, unheard-of,extraordinary thing; a creation, a work of Almighty power; thehuman nature of Christ, formed and prepared by the power of theHoly Ghost: and this is here mentioned as an encouragement tothe Jews to return to their own land. And a comfortable prospectis given them of a happy settlement there. Godliness and honestyGod has joined: let no man think to put them asunder, or to makethe one atone for the want of the other. In the love and favourof God the weary soul shall find rest, and the sorrowful shallfind joy. And what can we see with more satisfaction than thegood of Jerusalem, and peace upon Israel? 27-34 The people of God shall become numerous and prosperous.In #Heb 8:8,9|, this place is quoted as the sum of the covenantof grace made with believers in Jesus Christ. Not, I will givethem a new law; for Christ came not to destroy the law, but tofulfil it; but the law shall be written in their hearts by thefinger of the Spirit, as formerly written in the tables ofstone. The Lord will, by his grace, make his people willingpeople in the day of his power. All shall know the Lord; allshall be welcome to the knowledge of God, and shall have themeans of that knowledge. There shall be an outpouring of theHoly Spirit, at the time the gospel is published. No man shallfinally perish, but for his own sins; none, who is willing toaccept of Christ's salvation. 35-40 As surely as the heavenly bodies will continue theirsettled course, according to the will of their Creator, to theend of time, and as the raging sea obeys him, so surely will theJews be continued a separate people. Words can scarcely setforth more strongly the restoration of Israel. The rebuilding ofJerusalem, and its enlargement and establishment, shall be anearnest of the great things God will do for the gospel church.The personal happiness of every true believer, as well as thefuture restoration of Israel, is secured by promise, covenant,and oath. This Divine love passes knowledge; and to those whotake hold upon it, every present mercy is an earnest ofsalvation.
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