Nothing Is Too Difficult

Ben Van Arragon

Read: Jeremiah 32:17-23 Ah, Lord God . . . Nothing is too hard for you. (v. 17) Periodically I counsel couples in crisis. When there is conflict or neglect between partners, it can be encouraging to recall times of mutual fulfillment and happiness. It helps to remember when life together was good. In Jeremiah, God repeatedly used marital language. God called himself Israel’s “husband” (Jeremiah 31:32). He called his people an unfaithful spouse (3:20). Jeremiah recalled God’s faithfulness and recounted …

A New Covenant

Ben Van Arragon

Read: Jeremiah 31:27-34 I will make a new covenant with . . . Israel . . . (v. 31) At Mount Sinai, God established a covenant with his people. He offered the law as a means of making life right and making Israel right with him. They accepted the terms: “It will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment” (Deut. 6:25). Israel’s life with God was a partnership. Their contribution was obedience. They failed, …

I Will Be Your God

Ben Van Arragon

Read: Jeremiah 30:18-24 I will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob. (v. 18) In the first half of Jeremiah, God threatened judgment; in the second half, he promised restoration. The judgment was concrete: in 587 BC, God sent his rebellious people into exile. The restoration was abstract, and consisted of three future actions: God would raise up a godly king (v. 21); God’s wrath would be satisfied (vv. 23-24); and God would restore his city and its inhabitants …

Hope and a Future

Ben Van Arragon

Read: Jeremiah 29:10-14 I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. (v. 11) Jeremiah 29:11 is one of the most-quoted verses of the Hebrew Bible. There is something universally comforting about God’s promise of “hope and a future” (NIV). But the verses surrounding it are no less powerful. God opened with a revelation: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you” (v. 10). This verse reveals two astounding things: The exile would not last …

Rooted in Love

Ben Van Arragon

Read: Jeremiah 29:1-9 Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. (v. 7 NIV) When my family and I first moved into our church’s parsonage, we had to get over the sense that this house wasn’t our house. A church member urged us to hang pictures. A year later, we started to plant a garden. Ten years later, the house feels different to us. Pictures on the walls and flowers in the …

A God Nearby

Ben Van Arragon

Read: Jeremiah 23:23-24 Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? (v. 23) The first Toy Story movie begins with a crisis. Woody, a toy cowboy, experiences a fate worse than death: separation from his beloved owner, Andy. When he realizes his predicament, Woody cries in despair, “I’m a lost toy!” To God’s people, the exile was a fate worse than death. Separation from their homeland represented separation from their God. The Israelites …