Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode 133 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Jeremiah 31 today and our focus is on the new and better Covenant and how Jeremiah, the depressed prophet with a death wish, sees hope coming. We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in  Thanks for listening!  Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\

Jeremiah was written hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus. It is the longest book in the Bible, by #of words (Psalms has more chapters, Jeremiah has more words) Interestingly, Psalms isn’t the second longest book in the Bible by words either – it’s the third. The second longest book in the Bible, in terms of Hebrew words, is actually the book of Genesis. Jeremiah was a prophet in Judah who began serving during the days of good king Josiah. Unfortunately, all of the kings after Josiah were bad, and ultimately, then the nation of Judah was sacked by the Babylonians towards the end of Jeremiah’s lifetime. Jeremiah saw much heartache in his life, and prophesied the judgment of God. Judah, while having more faithful to God leadership that the northern kingdom of Israel, still had more wicked kings than good kings, and of the last seven kings of Judah before the Babylonian captivity, only one – Josiah – was faithful to God. This led to Judah going into exile, and pretty much everybody ignoring the ministry of Jeremiah. He was faithful in his duties, but because he saw so much hardship and unfaithfulness around him, and because almost nobody actually followed God’s words spoken through Jeremiah, it appears that he went through some terrible times of melancholy, depression and despair. Consider Jeremiah 20:

May the day I was born
be cursed.
May the day my mother bore me
never be blessed.
15 May the man be cursed
who brought the news to my father, saying,
“A male child is born to you,”
bringing him great joy.
16 Let that man be like the cities
the Lord demolished without compassion.
Let him hear an outcry in the morning
and a war cry at noontime
17 because he didn’t kill me in the womb
so that my mother might have been my grave,
her womb eternally pregnant.

18 Why did I come out of the womb
to see only struggle and sorrow,
to end my life in shame?  Jeremiah 20:15-18 

As we have discussed before, the Bible does not sugar-coat things, though we preachers have often been guilty of that – the Bible is a raw book with raw and real emotions, and here we see Jeremiah despairing. His whole ministry wasn’t despair, however, because Jeremiah was enabled to look into the future – after the Babylonian exile  – and see a full restoration of Israel – a new hope, if you will. He looked forward prophetically to see a time when God would change the hearts of His people so that they did not go astray anymore. He saw a new covenant coming – a new and wonderful agreement between God and man. He describes it in our passage today in verses 31-34:

31 “Look, the days are coming”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. 32 This one will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors on the day I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt—my covenant that they broke even though I am their master”—the Lord’s declaration. 33 “Instead, this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days”—the Lord’s declaration. “I will put my teaching within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 No longer will one teach his neighbor or his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know me, from the least to the greatest of them”—this is the Lord’s declaration. “For I will forgive their iniquity and never again remember their sin. Jeremiah 31:31-34

This is one of the most hopeful passages of Scripture – pointing towards the coming of Jesus to die for our sins, and the coming of the Holy Spirit to transform our lives.

Martyn Lloyd Jones helps us to appreciate the beauty of this New Covenant:

Do you know about this [New Covenant]? Listen, defeated modern men and women, defeated by sin, afraid of life, afraid of the future, afraid of death, afraid of the judgment—here is the new covenant in Christ:You may be the foulest sinner in the world, you may have lived a life of sin until now, but I am able to tell you that there is a new agreement for you, the new covenant. If you believe that Christ, the Son of God, has borne your punishment and has died for your sins, then God tells you, “Their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” They will be gone, wiped out, washed away, never to be seen again. Not only that, He will tell you that He is your God, and you will begin to know Him. He will tell you that He has adopted you into His family, that you have become His child.
Then He will give you new life. He will give you new power, and He will work in you by His Holy Spirit. He will give you understanding of His Word. He will give you an entirely new outlook upon the whole of life. You will be like a new person in a new universe, all because you have believed. You will enter into the terms of this blessed new covenant, and you will be able to face death, judgment, and eternity in an entirely new manner.
We declare the Lord’s death and what He has done by His death. His blood is on the covenant. God is offering you this for nothing. Simply believe!

Only believe, and Thou shalt see
That Christ is all in all to thee.
J. S. B. Monsell

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “The Breaking of Bread,” in Authentic Christianity, 1st U.S. ed., vol. 1, Studies in the Book of Acts (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2000), 155–156. 

Bible Memory verses for the month of May: Matthew 28:18-20 18 Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  

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