Readings: Jeremiah 3 and 31
The Appalachian trail spans over 14 states. 992 of these miles trek over the southern states of Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. The other 1165 miles are in the north. To put this in the perspective of the kingdoms, divide our northern kingdom and southern kingdom up, the north is somewhere around 160 miles and the southern kingdom is 65 miles. These kingdoms are misicule compared to the man-made trail on the east coast of our great states. It does put this in perspective though. Jeremiah lived on the border of these two nations, a town called Anathoth. Remember Jeremiah was a priest in addition to a prophet. Priests could not own their own land. They were placed in areas within a territory. His territory was within the Benjamite nation. So honestly our propet Jeremiah was not partial to either nation. He lived on the border of the two.
If you remember two days ago we talked about King Josiah reaching out to the northern kingdom for the first time in years. His attempt was to purify the nation of assyrian negative influences. I predicted previously that he reached some gentiles in his efforts. But according to research I’ve done, his true goal was to unite the two nations again, expand his territory, and invite the northern tribes to join his own. That’s where we pick up with our prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah and Josiah were very similar in age. According to scripture he was positively influenced by Josiah and Josiah’s affection for the same God that Jeremiah held so dear. That’s where Jeremiah’s first prophecies begin. In those days the Lord also was on board with providing a tract for the northern tribes to come back to their homeland, or at least a familiar nation that worshiped the same God. Jeremaih 3 and 31, speak to northern Israel.
From Chapter 3‘
Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the Lord,
‘I will frown on you no longer,
for I am faithful,’ declares the Lord,
‘I will not be angry forever.
13 Only acknowledge your guilt—
you have rebelled against the Lord your God,
you have scattered your favors to foreign gods
under every spreading tree,
and have not obeyed me,’”
declares the Lord.
From chapter 31
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
4 I will build you up again,
and you, Virgin Israel, will be rebuilt.
Again you will take up your timbrels
and go out to dance with the joyful.
5 Again you will plant vineyards
on the hills of Samaria;
the farmers will plant them
and enjoy their fruit.
6 There will be a day when watchmen cry out
on the hills of Ephraim,
‘Come, let us go up to Jerusalem
to the Lord our God.’”
To put this in historical context, Ephraim is part of the northern kingdom and Jerusalem was part of the south. Here’s a map from wikipedia . It was God’s intention to pull the remnant of the north out of the hold of the assyrians and bring then back to bless them. Unfortunately there was a lot of bad blood between the two nations and this may not have been as easy as one would think.
My question to you today, what is God calling you from in order to bless you? Does something have a hold of you making it hard to give in to his blessings? Is there bad blood between family members keeping you from forgiveness? Or have you just gotten into a rut , and to change would be incomprehensible? God promises that he will build you up again. He loves you with a unfailing love. He wants you to dance again with the joyful.