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GOD ACKNOWLEDGED AS THE WONDERFUL.
secrets of wisdom: ver. 16,
First—As the Creator, the Mighty God, ver. 17, 18: " Ah, Lord God! Behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth, by thy great power and stretched-out arm, and there is nothing too hard" or wonderful " for thee.”His might is alike manifested in the fulfilment of promise, to the children of promise, and in the execution of threatening upon those who dare the divine wrath: “ Thou shewest loving kindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them." “ The Great, the Mighty God, the Lord of Hosts is his name."
Second—He is then acknowledged as the Counsellor, ver. 19,—"Great in Counsel and Mighty in work; for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men, to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings:" And here, indeed, the divine counsel was required, to reconcile this strict execution of justice, with the bestowment of mercy. upon the guilty.—This can only be through their being brought into new covenant blessing; through their being made one with Him who hath made satisfaction for sin, and brought in everlasting righteousness; and who hath engaged to write his law upon the hearts of his restored people, depositing it in their inward partsworking all then- works in them.
Third—Correspondent to the name Wonderful, or God of Providence, the prayer then proceeds, verse 20—25,“ Which hast set signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, even unto this day, and in Israel, and among other men; and hast made thee a Name as at this day; and hast brought forth thy people Israel out of the land of Egypt, with signs and with wonders, and with a strong hand, and with a stretched-out arm, and with great terror."—His wonder-working power, as the God of Providence, was abundantly displayed in the bringing
his people out of the land of Egypt, leading them through the Red Sea; and conducting and training them in the wilderness; and in afterwards giving them the Land which he sware to their fathers to give them: a land at that time flowing with milk and honey. "And they came in and possessed it; but they obeyed not thy voice, neither walked in thy law: they have done nothing of all that thou commandedst them to do." He had dealt wondrously with them in kindness, as he had promised; but he had to deal with them as wondrously in judgment, according to the threatenings of that covenant, under which they had been given possession of the land. "Therefore thou hast caused all this evil to come upon them: Behold the mounts; they are come unto the city to take it; and the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans that fight against it, because of the sword, and the famine, and the pestilence. And what thou hast spoken is come to pass; and behold thou seest it." How trying to the faith were circumstances such as these, in which to receive such a commission as that which he had received! The prophet felt that God is indeed wonderful. " And thou hast said unto me, O Lord God, buy thee the field for money, and take witnesses: though the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans!" The prophet, even after recognizing the Lord as the Mighty God, as the Counsellor,
the Wonderful, appears to have been surprised at the words he was made to utter,
so seemingly inconsistent as they were with the circumstances in which he was placed: But he acts wisely in going to Him who could resolve his doubts by making plain his own words. And the Lord condescends, again and again, to confirm his word of promise; and that after a full recognition of the guilt both of Israel and Judah; and of the utter pollution of the place he hath more especially promised to deliver; and wherein he hath purposed to bless his people, lifting them up for ever.
II. THE COUNSELLOR.
Jer. xxxii. 26—44.
THE LORD'S RECOGNITION OF THE UNWORTHINESS OF ISRAEL AS UNDER
6 THEN came the word of the Lord unto Jeremiah, saying, Behold, I am the Lord"—the ever-living Jehovah, "the God of all flesh,”as which, He will be manifested, when will take place the manifestation of the sons of God: He is able to bring them forth, and to fulfil to them all He hath promised, notwithstanding their utter unworthiness, and their being, to appearance, entirely lost. This may seein difficult of accomplishment, but, saith the Lord, "Is there anything too hard ” or wonderful “ for me?"
The case of the city is declared, ver. 28, 29; of Israel and Judah, ver. 30; and again that of the city, ver. 31; and again that of Israel and Judah, ver. 32; their sin of omission, or refusal to receive instruction, ver. 33; their sins of commission, instanced in the defilement of his sanctuary, ver. 34; and in building high places to Baal, and committing other idolatrous abominations, ver. 35. There is thus a clear and repeated recognition of both place and people; and of their guilt or unworthiness, in all respects: so that there can be no doubt as to who are the people, and what is the place referred to in the words that follow.
1. The then approaching ruin of Jerusalem, and the weight of guilt, as to idolatry, which was about to involve in destruction the appointed place of the Lord's throne, are intimated, ver. 28, 29, “ Therefore thus saith the Lord; Behold I will give this
city into the hand of the Chaldeans, and into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar, King of Babylon, and he shall take it." The city was, in effect, taken in the fourth month of the eleventh year of Zedekiah's reign, and between the seventh and tenth days of the succeeding month, the Chaldeans, having returned from the pursuit and capture of the fugitive king, accomplished the predicted vengeance, " And the Chaldeans that fight against this city, shall come and set fire on this city, and burn it, with the houses, upon whose roofs they have offered incense unto Baal, and poured out drink-offerings unto other gods, to provoke me to
2. The extent of the evil, which the Lord recognises in his professed people, and which required to be avenged, was great. Its length and breadth are thus stated, ver. 30, “ For the children of Israel, and the children of Judah, have only done evil before me from their youth." Both the one house and the other, had thus lost all claim, in their own right, to the peaceful possession of the Land.
3. The particular form of evil with which they are charged, was idolatrythe practical rejection of the Lord from being their God: their denying themselves to be his people, by giving themselves up to the worship of idols, as is intimated in ver. 30, "For the children of Israel have only provoked me to anger with the work of their hands, saith the Lord.”
THE FORGIVENESS AND GRACE OF OUR GOD.
4. The aggravation of their accu make, on behalf of gods that could mulated guilt, as in the case of the not profit them: v. 35. “ They built capital, both the nations, and all orders the high places of Baal, which are in of the people, from the highest to the the valley of the son of Hinnom, to lowest, is noticed, ver. 31, 32, "For cause their sons and their daughters this city hath been to me a provoca to pass through the fire unto Molech, tion of mine anger and of my fury, which I commanded them not; neither from the day that they built it, even came it into my mind, that they should unto this day; that I should remove do this abomination, to cause Judah it from before my face,” &c.
to sin." 5. Their manner of acting with re It would be difficult to identify gard to the instructions he was pleased people and place, or to describe forto bestow on them; their contemptu feiture of the inheritance, more fully ous disregard of the words of his co than we have seen done. The chil venant, is intimated, ver. 33, “ And dren of Israel, brought out of Egypt, they have turned unto me the back, who afterwards were divided into the and not the face: though I taught two houses of Israel and Judah, and them, rising up early and teaching, who had so remained unprofited by yet they have not hearkened to receive the Lord's teaching; who had deinstruction.” They shewed their re filed the Lord's sanctuary, and so jection of the Lord by their neglect of utterly corrupted their ways! Jeruhis word.
salem, which had been so distinguished 6. The length to which they had by guilt, and which was to be, gone in rejection of the Lord, the co and has been, so remarkably distinvenant God of Israel, is stated, ver. guished in judgment—These are un34,“ But they set their abominations
doubtedly the people and place rein the house, which is called by name, ferred to in the succeeding promises. to defile it.” They had thus made The foregoing sevenfold description themselves a loathing to the Lord, even of the evil which was found in Israel, in the house which had been profes as under the Law, may be contrasted sedly set apart to His service.
with the following fulness of blessing 7. But the weight of their guilt is -the good to be bestowed upon the again to be considered, in the nature children of promise, according to the of the sachildren they were willing to Gospel. THE COUNSEL OF PEACE, ACCORDING TO THE GOSPEL.
ISRAEL has been recognised as ut-
,“ Behold I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath :"
As surely as Israel
was driven away in wrath, are they to be gathered out of all countries, and that by the Lord himself.
Well may it be said, when such en assembling of all Israel to Jerusalem shall take place, “Who can count the dust of Jacob?" Then will they be astonished at their own previous darkness and defilement, and at the multitude of the Lord's mercies towards a people so unworthy.
Second— The place unto which the return is to be, is as distinctly marked in the end of ver. 37: "And I will bring them again unto this place.”That Jerusalem is meant, there can be no doubt; and the return here referred
THE EVERLASTING COVENANT.
to, cannot be any which has yet taken place; for it follows, "And I will cause them to dwell safely." Compare ch. xxiii. 6, with ch. xxxiii. 16, by which it may be seen, that Israel is distinguished from Judah, and identified with Jerusalem, as dwelling safely.
Third— They had rejected the Lord from being their God, and were made Not his people; but now these are the marks whereby they shall be known. "And they shall my people, and I will be their God," ver. 38. He will be known as empliatically the God of Israel; and they shall be known to be in truth the people of the Lord.
Fourth — The oneness of Christ with his people is plainly intimated, ver. 39: "I will give them one heart," which can only be by their being given the mind of Jesus, and being given to say with Him, " Thy will be done" " and one way—that they may fear me for ever."—This is a unity of spirit and worship which is to continue, "for the good of them, and of their children after them." It is clear, that the words do not refer altogether to another state of existence; when the persons referred to shall neither marry nor be given in marriage. Nor can they be applied to a state in which there has not been inward, as well as outward, uniformity.
This has not, as yet, been to All Israel; but it is to be: and that in the present life: else how can it be said to be for the good of their children after them, as well as for their own good ? In the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess, that he is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Fifth__ The recognition which is made of the people of promise is that of their being objects of gospel mercy. They are restored, not as under the law; but thus are they his people, ver. 40.
" And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good." This is the favour with which the returning prodigal is received, as being thoroughly convinced
of the folly and evil of his own ways, as returning with one heart, in the one way appointed of the Father—as being given the adoption or sonship, in Him who alone is worthy: and his people thus brought to Him, God engages to keep, so that they will turn frorn Him no more.
" But I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me." This, certainly remains to be done to them as a people. But the Everlasting God, the Covenant-keeping God, has fully engaged to do it; and it must be done. And it will be done by their being unlike their stiffnecked fathers, through their being given to hearken diligently unto his word. See Isa. lv.
Sixth—The words, v. 41, “ Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good," imply, that joy in the Holy Ghost will be richly bestowed; and that an abundant entrance will be given into the good word of God. The Church of the first-born will be enriched by Him in all utterance, and all knowledge. The prayer will be answered—“ Thy Spirit is good. Lead me into the land of uprightness."
Nothing shall be wanting that is necessary to bring them into the blessing designed; and for this there must be a return to the very land from which they were cast out, and which is surely sufficiently indicated, when it is said, " And I will plant them in this land, assuredly"—that is, in truth or stability, upon the one all-sufficient Foundation laid in Zion—" with my whole heart, and with my whole soul." They are now to be found in a very different case than when they were a loathing to the Lord, as defiling his house with their abominations. Now will He delight in his people. Since these words were spoken, it surely cannot be said, that the Lord has planted any people in that land, with his whole heart, and his whole soul. And this was to be, and must yet be, according to the everlasting covenant ordered in all things, and sure. Oh, what blessing must abound to the people (and they are the very people of Israel, whose fathers were outcasts) who shall be
THE COUNSELLOR—THE MIGHTY GOD,
planted in that land by the God of made not a people, according to the truth, the God and Father of our Lord law, Chat they witht become whe mole Jesus Christ, with his whole heart, and truly the people of God according to with his whole soul!
the gospel: Having no confidence in Seventh-The salvation of Judah the flesh, but their entire trust in Him (which people were present with the in whom the covenant is fully and for prophet, and inhabited Jerusalem) ever established. is also declared, ver. 42-44, as in the All this promised good the Lord Seventh Thunder—“For thus saith will give: A pledge thereof was given the Lord, Like as I have brought all in the partial return of the remnant this great evil upon this people, so will I from Babylon, “ And fields shall be bring upon them all the good that I bought in this land, whereof ye say, It have promised them.” The evil hath is desolate without man or beast; it manifestly come, and hath been evi is given into the hand of the Chaldently resting upon the remnant of deans. Men shall buy fields for moIsrael, as being out of Christ; but as ney, and subscribe evidences, and truly will these, the brethren of Christ, seal them, and take witnesses in the according to the flesh, return unto the land of Benjamin, and in the places children of Israel, who shall have pre about Jerusalem, and in the cities of viously been made one with Him Judah; and in the cities of the mounwhom his brethren shall praise; and tains, and in the cities of the valley, so shall the Jews be received into and in the cities of the south. For I blessing, along with the whole house will cause their captivity to return, of Israel. And blessed they can be, saith the Lord." Soon may Israel only as participating in the blessing enjoy this promised return to their own of the first-born, the people who were cities. Soon may the song be sung
“ Thou art worthy to tyke the Book, and to open the Seals thereof:
Rev. v. 9, 10.
III. THE MIGHTY GOD.
Jer. xxxiii. 1—18.
Here is declared the Lord's ability to accomplish that which is written in the Book of the Covenant; which, as we have seen, is established upon better promises than those given according to the law. The Lord confirms his word: “ Moreover, the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison, saying, Thus saith the Lord, the Maker thereof, the Lord that formed it, to establish it." He is the Creator of Israel, whose power is equal to the accomplishment of all he hath purposed with
regard to them. He is the Maker of Israel, a people formed for himself, to shew forth his praise. And He hath been working with them, not merely to scatter them, and bring them to nought; but to establish them, according to his everlasting covenant. Yea, He will claim them as his own, saying, as in Deut. xxxii. 6, "Do ye thus requite the Lord, О foolish people and unwise? Is not He thy Father that hath bought thee; hath he not made thee, and established thee?" True, they are dead in themselves, but in Him is life. Jehovah, He which