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Rachel’s Weeping Is Ended

John Meade, on August 11, 2019. Part of the Crossway Church 2019 series

Big Idea:
Rachel weeps for her exilic children, but Jeremiah calls for all weeping to cease, because after their discipline is complete, Jesus fulfills their exile and leads the exiles to God.

I. Israel’s Painful Exile Gives way to a New Exodus and a New People (Jer. 31:15–22).

II. Christ Jesus Undergoes Exile and Leads his Exiles to God (Matt. 2:16–18; 4:12-17) (Matt 2:16–18).

1. To the church: brothers and sisters, Christmas dawned in a stable over 2,000 years ago and with the first coming of the Messiah, the New Covenant and the return from exile from the darkness of our sinful hearts was inaugurated. Our sins are forgiven in Christ. The Torah is written on our hearts, so that we all know the Lord and by grace follow his ways and keep his commands. The New Testament makes abundantly clear that God in Christ has brought it all about.

2. Second, we are still called exiles and strangers in this world according to 1 Peter. According to Hebrews, we do not yet see all things under Christ’s feet, but we see Jesus. That is, we live in between the times of Christ’s first and second comings, and as a result we will still experience great loss in this life. We grieve and mourn as Rachel did over her exiled children, even as our tears and sorrows have and will continue to give way to joy and consolation inexpressible. Because of Christ’s own resurrection in the past, we grieve as those who have hope for the future resurrection. Christ has conquered death, we are right with God. And these truths should bring us great comfort and joy today.

Jeremiah 31:15-22

15 Thus says the Lord:
“A voice is heard in Ramah,
lamentation and bitter weeping.
Rachel is weeping for her children;
she refuses to be comforted for her children,
because they are no more.”

16 Thus says the Lord:
“Keep your voice from weeping,
and your eyes from tears,
for there is a reward for your work,
declares the Lord,
and they shall come back from the land of the enemy.
17 There is hope for your future,
declares the Lord,
and your children shall come back to their own country.
18 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.
19 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.’
20 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.

21 “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.
22 How long will you waver,
O faithless daughter?
For the Lord has created a new thing on the earth:
a woman encircles a man.” (ESV)

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