“With weeping they shall come, and with pleas for mercy I will lead them back, I will make them walk by brooks of water, in a straight path in which they shall not stumble, for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.” (Jeremiah 31:9)
Jeremiah looked forward to a time when all peoples would be gathered into Israel, not just Jews. Those chosen included the disadvantaged, the weak and the despised from all nationalities and tongues. They would be united by their tears of repentance as well as their acknowledged need for the Lord. These are the ones the Lord has redeemed. These are the ones with whom He makes a New Covenant. This covenant would be different from the Mosaic Covenant, which the people of Israel and Judah had never been able to keep.
We who have faith in Jesus are the beneficiaries of this New Covenant. We have done nothing to deserve or merit it. It is all God’s work. In the New Covenant, God’s Law of love is not mere external law keeping. The Lord inscribes His Law in the heart, mind, and will of those who come to Him by faith. External written codes are removed as is the need for any human mediator. Having the Lord’s word in our heart helps us to resist temptation and walk in obedience as we respond to the Lord’s love, mercy, and unconditional forgiveness of our sins.
Yet we are as weak and vacillating as the children of the Old Covenant. We are Saints and sinners for we fall prey to all the temptation and idolatry which surrounds us in the 21st Century. The difference between us and the Jews of old is our faith in Christ. That faith humbles in the knowledge of our weakness and constant need for the Lord’s help. This humility helps us to look at ourselves and our weaknesses realistically, helps us treat our fellow Christian pilgrims with compassion, and enables us to extend mercy and kindness to all the wretched sinners still enslaved to Satan.