From: Nalani Cushing
Jeremiah 11 is hard to read. It tells of God’s mosaic covenant that is broken. Instead of the beautiful, hopeful promise, “So shall you be my people, and I will be your God”, we read of a broken relationship between God and his people. Instead of Israel being like a green, flourishing olive tree, planted by God himself, we read that “with the roar of a great tempest” God will set fire to that tree. Instead of obedience to God, we read of stubbornness and idolatry. Instead of listening to God, we read that the people of Israel have refused to hear the words of God, and that in turn, God will not listen to them.
This sounds utterly hopeless. God’s promises to create a beloved people seem forgotten, and destruction and disaster seem inevitable. Human evil seems too strong to heal.
Perhaps even more terrifying are God’s words in verse 14: “I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble”. It makes me think of the Psalms: “Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable? Has his steadfast love forever ceased? Are his promises at an end for all time? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” (Psalm 77:7-9).
We do not want the story to end here, in this brokenness and hopelessness. We long for redemption and healing. We long for everything to be made new. We long for God to make himself known. Are these all empty longings?
It is Advent, and this is what we can cling to: God has come to us, and a broken covenant is not the end of God’s story with us, his people. Because of the devastation and punishment Jesus experienced for us, and because of Jesus’ resurrection over death for us, we live in real hope. The kingdom of God has come, and we wait in real expectation and hope for God’s finished work.
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