Jeremiah 31

* The restoration of Israel. (1-9) Promises of guidance and

happiness; Rachel lamenting. (10-17) Ephraim laments his errors.

(18-20) The promised Saviour. (21-26) God's care over the

church. (27-34) Peace and prosperity in gospel time. (35-40)

1-9 God assures his people that he will again take them into

covenant relation to himself. When brought very low, and

difficulties appear, it is good to remember that it has been so

with the church formerly. But it is hard under present frowns to

take comfort from former smiles; yet it is the happiness of

those who, through grace, are interested in the love of God,

that it is an everlasting love, from everlasting in the

counsels, to everlasting in the continuance. Those whom God

loves with this love, he will draw to himself, by the influences

of his Spirit upon their souls. When praising God for what he

has done, we must call upon him for the favours his church needs

and expects. When the Lord calls, we must not plead that we

cannot come; for he that calls us, will help us, will strengthen

us. The goodness of God shall lead them to repentance. And they

shall weep for sin with more bitterness, and more tenderness,

when delivered out of their captivity, than when groaning under

it. If we take God for our Father, and join the church of the

first-born, we shall want nothing that is good for us. These

predictions doubtless refer also to a future gathering of the

Israelites from all quarters of the globe. And they figuratively

describe the conversion of sinners to Christ, and the plain and

safe way in which they are led.
10-17 He that scattered Israel, knows where to find them. It is

comfortable to observe the goodness of the Lord in the gifts of

providence. But our souls are never valuable as gardens, unless

watered with the dews of God's Spirit and grace. A precious

promise follows, which will not have full accomplishment except

in the heavenly Zion. Let them be satisfied of God's

loving-kindness, and they will be satisfied with it, and desire

no more to make them happy. Rachel is represented as rising from

her grave, and refusing to be comforted, supposing her offspring

rooted out. The murder of the children at Bethlehem, by Herod,

#Mt 2:16-18|, in some degree fulfilled this prediction, but

could not be its full meaning. If we have hope in the end,

concerning an eternal inheritance, for ourselves and those

belonging to us, all temporal afflictions may be borne, and will

be for our good.
18-20 Ephraim (the ten tribes) is weeping for sin. He is angry

at himself for his sin, and folly, and frowardness. He finds he

cannot, by his own power, keep himself close with God, much less

bring himself back when he is revolted. Therefore he prays, Turn

thou me, and I shall be turned. His will was bowed to the will

of God. When the teaching of God's Spirit went with the

corrections of his providence, then the work was done. This is

our comfort in affliction, that the Lord thinks upon us. God has

mercy in store, rich mercy, sure mercy, suitable mercy, for all

who seek him in sincerity.
21-26 The way from the bondage of sin to the liberty of God's

children, is a high-way. It is plain, it is safe; yet none are

likely 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; the

human nature of Christ, formed and prepared by the power of the

Holy Ghost: and this is here mentioned as an encouragement to

the Jews to return to their own land. And a comfortable prospect

is given them of a happy settlement there. Godliness and honesty

God has joined: let no man think to put them asunder, or to make

the one atone for the want of the other. In the love and favour

of God the weary soul shall find rest, and the sorrowful shall

find joy. And what can we see with more satisfaction than the

good 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 covenant

of grace made with believers in Jesus Christ. Not, I will give

them a new law; for Christ came not to destroy the law, but to

fulfil it; but the law shall be written in their hearts by the

finger of the Spirit, as formerly written in the tables of

stone. The Lord will, by his grace, make his people willing

people in the day of his power. All shall know the Lord; all

shall be welcome to the knowledge of God, and shall have the

means of that knowledge. There shall be an outpouring of the

Holy Spirit, at the time the gospel is published. No man shall

finally perish, but for his own sins; none, who is willing to

accept of Christ's salvation.
35-40 As surely as the heavenly bodies will continue their

settled course, according to the will of their Creator, to the

end of time, and as the raging sea obeys him, so surely will the

Jews be continued a separate people. Words can scarcely set

forth more strongly the restoration of Israel. The rebuilding of

Jerusalem, and its enlargement and establishment, shall be an

earnest of the great things God will do for the gospel church.

The personal happiness of every true believer, as well as the

future restoration of Israel, is secured by promise, covenant,

and oath. This Divine love passes knowledge; and to those who

take hold upon it, every present mercy is an earnest of

salvation.

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