Change Your Ways!

KEY VERSE: “Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the LORD your God; and the LORD will repent him of the evil that he hath pronounced against you.” —Jeremiah 26:13

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Jeremiah 26:1-6, 12-16

ONE OF THE sins of God’s typical people was their inclination to place confidence in the messages of false prophets, or ‘diviners’, rather than in the words of the Lord that were sent to them through his true and holy prophets.

They refused to heed the messages of God’s prophet, Jeremiah, preferring to believe those who told them that the nation was in no danger and who prophesied, “Peace, peace.” (Jer. 6:14; 8:11) Now that calamity was imminent, the Lord, again, through Jeremiah, took the occasion to warn them of the evil results of not accepting the word of his righteous prophets.

The tone of this whole message is that of God’s solicitude for the peace and prosperity of his people. They had sinned but he still loved them, and he wanted them to return to him and serve him with their whole heart. God is not vindictive, but merciful and kind, ever ready to forgive and bless his people when they come to him in the spirit of true repentance and ask for his mercy.

But the Word of the Lord through Jeremiah also said that unless the nation forsook its sin it would be destroyed. False prophets endeavored to counteract the effect of this message by assuring the people that there was no evil in the land, and that they would continue to enjoy peace. This appealed to the vanity of the Israelites, hence it pleased them best to hearken to the false prophets rather than to Jeremiah.

And so God’s forgiveness could not be extended to the nation at that time. But the prophecy of Jeremiah in a later chapter tells us that nevertheless God’s mercy will come to them by way of a long-range plan involving their eventual repentance and recovery—a plan that will effect a complete reversal of Israel’s experience through the Laws of the Messiah’s kingdom. This will be the time when, in fulfillment of the Lord’s promise through the Prophet Jeremiah, he will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.—Jer. 31:31

The New Covenant arrangements will not be limited to Israel and Judah, although these natural descendants of Abraham will be the first to have the blessings of the kingdom offered to them. Ezekiel 16:60-63 reveals that Gentiles will become associated with Israel and will be blessed together with them under the New Covenant arrangements.

The making of the New Covenant with Israel and the world will be a work requiring the thousand years of Christ’s reign, for it involves the writing of God’s law in the hearts of the people. This is one way of describing a work of restitution that will take place in the hearts.

As Moses was the Mediator of the covenant given at Sinai, so Jesus will be the Mediator of the New Covenant. The church of Christ will serve together with him as mediators or, as the apostle states it, “able ministers of the New Testament [or Covenant].” (II Cor. 3:6) The preparatory work looking toward the inauguration of the New Covenant began with the First Advent of Jesus. It will be his blood that will seal that covenant, and each one of his followers is being trained for the high position of joint-heirship with him in administering the terms of that covenant, but the covenant itself will not become operative until this preparation is completed.

Not until the time for this New Covenant to be active will Israel have ears to hear the Lord’s voice, and obey. Then Jeremiah will be a prophet, or teacher, honored by the people.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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