Part of Jeremiah 31 provides a sequel to the verses in chapter 30 that describe God’s reaction to the time when the world’s nations, at the climax of human history, regard Israel as “outcasts … for whom no one cares”. These verses attract our interest because the attitudes today fit this picture. Nations resist openly supporting Israel and many are strongly against her.
Today’s chapter follows on from the final verse of chapter 30. “The fierce anger of the LORD will not turn back until he has executed and accomplished the intentions of his mind. In the latter days you will understand this.” But there are words that follow immediately, “‘At that time’, declares the LORD, ‘I will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they shall be my people’” (31:1).
Take note of verse 7 which reads, “… raise shouts for the chief of the nations; proclaim, give praise, and say, O LORD, save your people, the remnant of Israel”. The meaning is not totally clear, but the verse implies there is a time when leading nations learn the reality of God’s existence “and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth” (verse 8). To a limited extent this happened, as Israel became a nation over 70 years ago. We know that about half of all Jews still live in other lands. We also realize that the land promised to Abraham is a great deal more than Israel possesses at present.
This vision is contrary to what many nations are saying. As we read on, more words jumped out at us. “Behold the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah [all 12 tribes] … this is the covenant I will make … after those days, declares the LORD, I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. I will be their God and they shall be my people” (verses 31-33).
This climax of human history brings the return of Jesus to earth and the resurrection. These events are the trigger for these verses to be fulfilled. Let us read God’s word so that it becomes inscribed on our hearts.