For Sunday, January 4, 2009
Second Sunday After Christmas Day
One of the things we all love to do is to try to figure out prophecy. In this passage there is reference to “the land of the north”. Some might want to say, “Aha, that must be Russia! And the mass migration of Jews from Russia to Israel could well be the fulfillment of this prophecy.
Possible . . . but not probable. The first problem with this line of thinking is that most of Israel’s enemies historically came from the north so that this could just as well be a reference to Assyria, Persia, or Babylon as to Russia. Secondly, this is the very same chapter of Scripture that announces the New Covenant at chapters’ end. No one suggests that the New Covenant is intended only for Jews emigrating from Russia, so why should the first part of the chapter be read any differently?
I think a better way to read this chapter is to see it focusing on God’s commitment to reconcile his people to himself. With the coming of Jesus this reconciliation began and it will continue until the New Heaven and the New Earth have been secured for all eternity forward. The so what is this: God so loves us that he is more committed to us than we are to ourselves. Therefore we can entrust ourselves to him that we might enjoy more and more of the blessing he intends for us.
Note this also. The blessings of God are tied to no national economy or national currency, nor even to a world economic system. Don’t despair when you see financial tremors continuing to reverberate worldwide. The ultimate bailout has already been put into effect. His name is Jesus.