Covenants in Jeremiah 32
The NASB audio listening has been good to me. The recording is not modern. I blame this on the gentlemen reading exceptionally fast. Though it took some time to accommodate I am now getting through the Scriptures much faster than it took to listen to the entire ESV. By the time this post goes live I expect to be done with the entire Bible. But currently I'm trying to catch up on all the thought provoking passages I've heard in the last couple weeks.
38 They shall be My people, and I will be their God; 39 and I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me always, for their own good and for the good of their children after them. 40 I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; and I will put the fear of Me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Me. 41 I will rejoice over them to do them good and will faithfully plant them in this land with all My heart and with all My soul. 42 For thus says the Lord, ‘Just as I brought all this great disaster on this people, so I am going to bring on them all the good that I am promising them. 43 Fields will be bought in this land of which you say, “It is a desolation, without man or beast; it is given into the hand of the Chaldeans.” 44 Men will buy fields for money, sign and seal deeds, and call in witnesses in the land of Benjamin, in the environs of Jerusalem, in the cities of Judah, in the cities of the hill country, in the cities of the lowland and in the cities of the Negev; for I will restore their fortunes,’ declares the Lord.” - Jeremiah 32:38-44
Crucial to understanding the covenant theology of Jeremiah is how pertinent it is to his audience. The judgement and calamity of the "weeping prophet" is surely to come upon the nation of Israel during the time of Jeremiah (Jer 32:42). And with this timeline in mind the Lord turns around and promises the restoration of the people. Therefore, the prophecies of Jeremiah must been seen as being fulfilled in the exodus from Babylon that is described and shown in Ezra, Nehemiah and the prophet Zachariah. For many this is a different take on the prophets than they are use to. Certainly these prophecies look forward to Christ (like Isaac & Solomon prefigured Christ) but they find their first fulfillment in the nation of Israel coming out of Babylon and back into their land.
This helps us to understand the "faithfully plant them in this land" (Jer 32:41) and ties us back to the great prophetic elements of the new covenant in Jeremiah 31 (Jer 31:27-28). God's concern in the book of Jeremiah is the nearness of Israel's redemption (Jer 29:10-14; 30:1-3). It is within this context that a couple fascinating things begin to stand out,
- There is "one heart" and "one way" for the people (Jer 32:39). This is a corporate statement as parallels the "new spirit" of Ezekiel and Jeremiah.
- The benefits of this blessing and covenant will cover the children (Jer 32:39). This is consistent with Jeremiah 31 and Isaiah 59:21 to a degree that makes it unquestionable that children are included in the new covenant. This makes sense in the "pre-fulfillment" exodus from Babylon as well as the new covenant established in Jesus Christ.
- This is an everlasting covenant that won't see the covenant people fall away (Jer 32:40). This also Ezekiel 11:20-21 and finds itself ultimately fulfilled in the church. As a covenant community the church universal remains enveloped in the Spirit of God.
Thinking in this line makes a profound impact on the book of Jeremiah. There is relevance for both the people who heard the prophecy, the exiles (like Daniel and Ezekiel) and the church today. Much of the book begins to make sense and the fulfillment of the prophecies seem natural and consistent with God's covenant relationship with Israel.