Tuesday, March 28, 2017

O Virgin Israel

I see in this next passage a great parallel to the human experience. We 'grow in grace' and our diminished capacity gets restored.

"There is hope for your future, declares the LORD, and your children shall come back to their own country. I have heard Ephraim grieving, 'You have disciplined me, and I was disciplined, like an untrained calf; bring me back that I may be restored, for you are the LORD my God. For after I had turned away, I relented, and after I was instructed, I struck my thigh; I was ashamed, and I was confounded, because I bore the disgrace of my youth.' Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he my darling child? For as often as I speak against him, I do remember him still. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him, declares the LORD. 'Set up road markers for yourself; make yourself guideposts; consider well the highway, the road by which you went. Return, O virgin Israel, return to these your cities.' " - Jeremiah 31:17-21 ESV

This is a parallel but not a perfect one. God is anthropomorphizing Israel. Israel isn't a person (anthropomorphizing is giving an object or thing human qualities). People 'slap their thigh' about their past. Their eyes look up and away as they sigh or groan remembering.

God speaks often against Israel in the scriptures but He never speaks against us. We only identify with the 'darling child' part of this passage. That is one place where the parallel breaks down. God does remember the transgressions of an institution but sin and sins of individuals have been paid for on the cross. We are prodigals who have returned. God has nothing but gifts for us and restored status. Our sin was cast into the deepest sea.

He gave them a way back and we have a way back also. Grace thinking is our way back. Maturity is when we return and set up landmarks as reminders.

'Return, O virgin Israel'

Yes. We are clean like that. Grace will establish that reality if we let it wash us. If we learn to think with God. Our groans will turn into laughter. Detachment will happen when there is a new healthy identification with what Christ has done on our behalf.


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