The nation of Israel was God’s chosen people, called by His name. YHWH made covenants with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David, which were eternal, unconditional, and unilateral. Which meant that they could never be broken. He had promised them a nation, a land, and a blessing.

That same God, YHWH, made a covenant with the church through the blood of Jesus Christ, which Jesus initiated at the Last Supper and ratified at the Cross. This new relationship was not revealed in the Old Testament, and it included gentiles, Greeks, and Jews. All who trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are also called by His name. That covenant was also eternal, unconditional, and unilateral. The loving and faithful God will never cancel either covenant.

During the Old Testament period, the nation Israel repeatedly disobeyed YHWH and committed spiritual adultery with other gods. There was a period of time in their history, which we call the period of the Judges when the nation of Israel “did what was right in their own eyes.” God disciplined them, they confessed and asked for forgiveness, God forgave, then they repeated the same pattern several times. Finally, God sent the northern kingdom (Israel) into exile in Assyria and subsequently the southern kingdom (Judah) into captivity in Babylon, even after Judah had witnessed God’s judgment to Israel.

The prophet Jeremiah ministered during the last five decades of Judah’s history. During that time, Jeremiah warned Judah of their sin and God’s judgment if they would not repent. His prophecies fell on deaf ears. While his prophecies predicted terrible times for Judah, there was a light in the darkness in chapter 29, where these words are recorded. “For thus says the LORD, ’When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place. ’For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ’plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. ’Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. ’You will seek Me and find [Me] when you search for Me with all your heart. ’I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD, ’and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,’ declares the LORD, ’and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.’” That will not be fully realized until Jesus Christ returns in glory and establishes His 1,000 year reign as King, literally sitting on the throne of David in Jerusalem.

 During the Old Testament period, the nation Israel repeatedly disobeyed YHWH and committed spiritual adultery with other gods. There was a period of time in their history, which we call the period of the Judges when the nation of Israel “did what was right in their own eyes.” God disciplined them, they confessed and asked for forgiveness, God forgave, then they repeated the same pattern several times. Finally, God sent the northern kingdom (Israel) into exile in Assyria and subsequently the southern kingdom (Judah) into captivity in Babylon, even after Judah had witnessed God’s judgment to Israel.        

Right now, this nation is doing what is right in its own eyes and it will get worse. We can still be salt and light in a land that has kicked God out of the picture.  The answer is a revival in the Church of Jesus Christ. So, live a day at a time in trustful obedience to the Word of God and hold onto this sure promise, “I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ’plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” My heart is heavy for the Church, but I am encouraged by the Blessed Hope of the imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Maranatha! Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Bill Olsen, Elder

 

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