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(Part 29)


November 29, 2009

Today’s reading from the book of the prophet Jeremiah again points us to our theme for 2010.

“The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and Judah. In those days, in that time, I will raise up for David a just shoot; he shall do what is right and just in the land. In those days Judah shall be safe and Jerusalem shall dwell secure; this is what they shall call her: ‘The Lord our justice.’” (Jer 33:14-16)

Jeremiah had prophesied about the restoration of the Jewish nation, but this particular prophecy finds its fulfillment only in Jesus.

In the face of terrible affliction caused by the fall and destruction of Jerusalem, but in looking to God’s promises according to His covenant with His people, and in hoping for a reversal of their fortunes, God promises to raise a savior. That is Jesus.

The savior is a just shoot; he is the Lord our justice; he is righteous and just. Only in such a savior can we be safe and dwell secure.

Now God has indeed sent the Savior, His very own Son Jesus. As we accept Jesus as Savior and Lord, we are restored as God’s people. But this does not happen automatically. We need to do our part; we need to have our proper response. Today’s reading from the psalms show us the needed response.

First, we must have reverential fear for the Lord, which leads to being humble in His presence, for He is the Almighty and we are nothing. Apart from Him we are lost and know not the way. Only Jesus, who is the way, can show us the way. Thus our constant humble prayer should be: “Make known to me your ways, Lord; teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior.” (Ps 25:4-5a).

Second, we must be faithful to our covenant with Him. “The counsel of the Lord belongs to the faithful; the covenant instructs them.” (Ps 25:14). Living out our covenant allows us to enter more deeply into our life in Christ. Our obedience to our covenant enables us to grow in love and faithfulness. “All the paths of the Lord are faithful love toward those who honor the covenant demands.” (Ps 25:10).

What is the result of reverential fear, humility, and faithfulness to covenant?

The result is that we gain wisdom. Wisdom is knowing how to live according to God’s ways. It is what enables us to live lives of righteousness and justice. It is choosing the right path. If we “fear the Lord,” then “God shows (us) the way to choose.” (Ps 25:12). If we humble ourselves, then He “guides the humble rightly, and teaches the humble the way.” (Ps 25:9). If it is then God who guides us, then we will get to where He wants to bring us.

Where does God want to bring us? To the fullness of life according to His covenant promises. Because God is righteous and just, because His covenant is intended to pour out His blessings upon us, then we can look to a good life. “They live well and prosper, and their descendants inherit the land.” (Ps 25:13).

Job was severely afflicted but was restored, even double. We too in our affliction can look to God’s help and redemption. We, as the new people of God, the new Israel, will pass through this life’s valley of tears, but look to inheriting the land, the new Jerusalem, that God promises to His faithful people.

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