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Monday, February 7, 2011

More than blessed

Not many people know, but I am a huge fan of Kay Arthur’s Precept on Precept Bible Study series. I’m currently working on Jeremiah, the second half of it, this semester. Her Bible studies are very intense, requiring anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour of homework five days a week. Kay’s Bible studies are intended for the student to delve in deeply into God’s word, very deeply. They have always been insightful to me, even though I have only been doing them for about a year.
As I’ve been studying the second half of Jeremiah, starting off with chapter 25, I have been greatly blessed with the things God has been teaching me. In particular, my heart was blessed today with the study of Jeremiah 31. No, not blessed, amazed. Astounded. Face-to-the-earth astounded. It was that powerful, and I wanted to share it with you.
As part of the studying of Jeremiah 31, the focus was on the new covenant God had prepared for the Israelites. Kay Arthur explains that this is the only place in the Old Testament where “new covenant” is mentioned, so that must mean it’s very important! The few verses in Jeremiah 31 that mentioned the new covenant did not have many detailed things to say except that the new covenant would be better than the old one. In order to understand fully what the new covenant is though, we have to go forward into the New Testament and see what the Bible has to say there about the new covenant.

And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
(Luk 22:20 ESV)

In that verse we finally see the impending fulfillment of the new covenant, which is fulfilled in the blood of Christ, the hope promised to Israel’s hundreds of years earlier is about to take place, and even now it has! In Hebrews 9, we read about the perfect blood of Christ which is able to eternally sanctify us, as opposed to the blood of lambs and goats which were temporary purification. Then we get to the most intense part of this new covenant and realize that this new covenant mentions US within it. Be excited!

Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called "the uncircumcision" by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands-- remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
(Eph 2:11-13 ESV)

We are the Gentiles, and we are the recipients of the new covenant God promised to Israel and Judah in the Old Testament. We, who were and are not God’s chosen people, we who had absolutely No hope, we are now part of this new covenant. We are invited into this covenant. Gentiles are now allowed to be God’s special people! It’s a wonderful thought, isn’t it? That God would feed the dogs the crumbs. A marvelous thought. Even more marvelous and incomprehensible is this thought,

So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean!
(Rom 11:11-12 ESV)

Because Israel sinned against God, we were allowed into the new covenant. Their rejection allowed us the ability to be received by God. God saves us so that His chosen people will come to Him. What does that mean? That’s right. If Israel had obeyed God, we wouldn’t be able to receive that heavenly inheritance. Sit there for a moment and let that sink in. Scary and humbling thought, is it not? To think that we were that close to not being children of that promise of eternal life! Oh how I thank God for including us into His promise! That verse just makes me appreciate and love my God even more than ever, for I have no clue where I’d be without Him.