Jeremiah 31:1 “At that time,” declares the Lord, “I will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they will be my people.”
Verses 12, 13, and 14 of this chapter are dearly loved because of how they have been set to music, but I think we overlook this verse. At the time it was downright shocking. The Northern Kingdom, all 10 tribes worth, had been conquered and carried off to Assyria. That’s why verse 5 mentions “the hills of Samaria,” and verse 6 says, “the hills of Ephraim.” (Ephraim was often used to mean the Northern Kingdom.) We speak of “the 10 lost tribes,” but they were never lost to God, and when He brought Judah back from Babylon there were representatives of all the other tribes as well, because Babylon and then Persia had conquered Assyria, so geographically it was the same area. At the point Jeremiah prophesied this, the two kingdoms had been divided for hundreds of years, and the idea of their being reunited seemed preposterous. However, nothing is impossible for God! (Luke 1:37) Even reading the Bible we often fail to recognize just how miraculous it all is. Simple chance couldn’t account for it all, and on top of that, God told people about much of it ahead of time! We rightly make much of how many times, and in what detail, the birth, life, ministry, and death of Jesus are prophesied in the Old Testament, but we often lose sight of the recurring cycle of prophecy and fulfillment that is throughout the Bible. When we realize how often God has given advance notice of what was going to happen, we pay more attention to those prophecies that haven’t yet been fulfilled! At the same time, becoming obsessed with things like “where are we on the Revelation timeline” can keep us from being obedient and effective servants of God in our daily lives. In this chapter God doesn’t give Jeremiah any sort of schedule, He just says these things are going to happen. When we read the prophecies and promises in the Bible we need to ask God how He wants us to respond to them. Likewise, when we hear or read the pronouncements of modern prophets we need to ask the Holy Spirit for confirmation and “fact-checking.” There are fully valid prophecies being made today, but there is also a lot of junk arising from human imagination and wishful thinking. God’s prophets throughout the Bible had to deal with false prophets, and we need God’s discernment to distinguish between the true and the false – sometimes from the same person!
I wasn’t really exposed to modern prophecy until I got involved in the Charismatic Movement from 1973, but I grew up knowing about Biblical prophecies, and it never seemed logical to me that God would stop talking! Since my own baptism in the Holy Spirit I have been used in prophecy many times, most often in encouragement and admonition, but occasionally in a predictive way. One particular incident seemed medically impossible, but God fulfilled it anyway! I can no more take credit for that than I could take credit for the Rocky Mountains, but I can give God thanks and praise for using even me. There have been some specific prophecies about my ministry here that I long to see fulfilled, but I have to leave that timing in God’s hands. Meanwhile, I am to be faithful and available to my Lord all day every day, knowing that indeed, nothing is impossible for Him, and I can do nothing apart from Him. (John 15:5) When God has said it, it will be fulfilled, period.
Father, thank You for this encouraging reminder. Help me walk in growing faith, regardless of what my intellect and senses tell me, so that I will be instantly obedient for whatever You want of me, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!