Vital signs- Wednesday December 7th, 2022
As we chain ourselves this Advent season once more to the great promises and hopes of God towards His people of which we read in the Scripture, these famous words are lodged in the hearts of many pious souls as a memorial of God’s covenant fidelity through the difficulties of a lifetime.
But to the original hearers of these words, they may have seemed a small consolation. They contrasted sharply with the well-wishing words of the false prophets who promised a speedy return from exile in their own lifetimes. Instead, these words of Jeremiah came hard and fast: “build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. … multiply there and do not decrease.” There was no abrogation of the punishment and no merciful limitation of the times. These words told the grandfathers and the fathers, "you will die in this land, far from home."
What was worse, regarding their very enemies—those who had dragged them from their ivory beds and burned their houses and left their families unburied—they were to “seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare!” They were bound not only to the full cup of wrath for 70 years but also to their persecutors! These were not their thoughts nor their plans. How were these words of hope or a future?
God’s plans are no amulets of quick good fortune or promises of special treatment, but the holy covenant faithfulness of the God who will bless "you" (plural) according to His divine plan, which was ever-present in His divine mind: the plan for shalom, peace and deliverance from evil and affliction, through the new covenant He would inscribe on their hearts when He forgives their sins (Jeremiah 31:31). As the author of Hebrews understood: God’s covenant redemption always envisions the consummation of all things in Christ, and it is in these thoughts and plans that all our deepest longings are transformed into the kind of hope that does not disappoint. For it is a hope built on faith that rises toward love.
Pray with me
This Advent, oh Lord, as we abandon all earthly hopes and set the anchor of our true hope firm within the veil of Your priestly ministrations before the throne of God, may we climb up the ladder of faith, drawn upward to travel the way of love to God . And as we long for Your appearing, may we never doubt but that there is prepared for us a sure rest in heaven through Christ our Lord. O come, o come, Emmanuel!
“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.”
Also, read Luke chapter 7 today
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