(40 verses, 7:40 to read)
What I am about to READ:
God’s promise to restore His people and He will replace the old covenant with a new covenant based on His forgiveness.
MARK & LEARN
2: As God led Israel through the desert when He led them out of Egypt, so He would again lead His people into the desert on their way back home to Judah.
3-6: God’s boundless love alone prompted God to restore His people.
7-14: Here the Lord speaks of the New Testament era. Israel is the “chief of the nations” (verse 7). Israel would be gathered from the ends of the earth (verse 8). He speaks of Israel and Ephraim (verse 9). Verse 12: This description of the Promised Land is far more glorious than Canaan was when the Jews returned from Babylon. The Israelites would sorrow no more (verse 12), which was certainly not the case when they returned from Babylon. They still had many years of sorrow in their future. Although some of the promises in this section, for example, those in verse 13, could refer to the joy the Jews experienced when they returned from Babylon, they are far too extensive and long-lasting to refer to that period.
15-28: Matthew applies verse 15 to the slaughter of the innocent children in Bethlehem. All Israel’s sufferings at the hands of its enemies came to a head when Jesus was persecuted by Herod. Yet even for the women in Bethlehem there was hope. The sorrow of seeing their children go off into captivity will be replaced by the joy of seeing them return to their homeland. Even the dead children in Bethlehem would someday be restored to their mothers in heaven.
31–34: Behold, a NEW covenant!
Are there two covenants?
Well, there have always been two covenants. The new covenant actually came before the old covenant. It was the PROMISE God gave to Abraham to bless him and all nations through him. This promise was based on the promise of a Savior that God had given to Adam and Eve. God’s Old Testament people were saved on the basis of this promise, through faith in it. God also gave a second covenant, which we call the old covenant to Israel. The old covenant was to keep Israel intact as a nation until Christ came. It was a law covenant. If, and only if, Israel kept God’s laws, would He bless them in the land of Canaan and through Israel give the nations a witness to the glory and power of the true God. The Israelites broke God’s laws, showing themselves to be just as wicked as the nations around them. Although God had given them merciful blessings, they rejected His will. God punished them for their disobedience and took away their land and his blessings. The promises of the new covenant are better promises because they are not conditional as the promises of the law were. They alone have the power to put God’s law on our minds and write it in our hearts, that is, make us willing to keep the law. (See Galatians 3:12, 14 and Hebrews 10:1–4, 11–12)
34: The new covenant was put into effect by the blood that Christ poured out on the cross. It’s God’s covenant of forgiveness. (See Hebrews 9:15)
35-36: The Lord promises that God’s Old Testament people would never cease to be a nation in His presence. In the future their status as a nation would be based on the eternal Gospel, not on the Law.
Verse 34: “I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” As human beings we struggle to “forgive and forget.” Even when we commit to forgive, we may never “forget” – especially sins that are particularly hurtful! Whether it’s our own sins that have caused great hurt and pain, or the sins of others that have caused us to suffer, some sins are too hard to forget. Yet, that’s not how God deals with us. He remembers your sin no more. Your sins are covered by the blood of Christ. When God looks at you He sees only a righteous, holy, precious son or daughter, completely covered in Christ. May God grant us the ability to see our brothers and sisters forgiven in Christ the same way.
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Pastor Kevin Zellers, Jr.