Day 25

God’s People Brought Home

from the Lent 2020: His Love Endures reading plan


Jeremiah 30:1-24, Jeremiah 31:1-40, Amos 5:18-20, Matthew 2:16-18

BY Kaitlin Wernet

You may have seen Siena, Italy, on the news, either because of the coronavirus-related quarantine in the area or because its residents were filmed singing from their windows in the face of such hardship, but it has long been one of my favorite places in the world. While Americans have football and the Super Bowl, the Sienese have horse races and the Il Palio di Siena every July and August. Not unlike our own strong team affiliations, these Italians are die-hard fans for their individual contrada, or city division. You see, Siena is divided into ten contrade, each represented by a horse and a rider donning representative colors and flags.

The race itself takes place in the city center, and includes three laps around the piazza which take roughly ninety seconds, on average. Yet it’s the most-anticipated and beloved ninety seconds of the year; the rest of the year is spent in support of their home-turf contrada, waving flags and supporting their horse and rider, as well as the division itself, a loyalty that is passed down through generations to enjoy and carry on into the future.

In Jeremiah 30, we read about another kind of communal loyalty to tradition. Judah thought they’d never see their own ancestral land again. God, however, had different plans, and a new covenant: “I will restore them to the land I gave to their ancestors and they will possess it” (Jeremiah 30:3).

When I think of God’s people returning home, I can’t help but picture the reunion in the same style of celebration as Il Palio—bright colors, hooping and hollering, beaming with pride and excitement, as they “come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion… radiant with joy” (Jeremiah 31:12). Except this time, it’s God who is cheering on His children. It is He who is most excited to claim victory and freedom for His beloved and see them back home where they belong. Just as the Italians spent all year preparing for Il Palio, I like to picture God orchestrating the new covenant, anticipating radiant shouts of joy, long before His people returned home.

As we’ve journeyed through the book of Jeremiah, there have been warnings about the future and mountain-top moments of returning-home joy. But at the heart of this book and this Lenten season of remembrance and repentance is this: God can be trusted to hold both sorrow and joy, and He is faithful through it all. Thanks be to Him.

Post Comments (38)

38 thoughts on "God’s People Brought Home"

  1. LeAnn Schmitt says:

    So much in today’s reading! So grateful to God for his holiness and faithfulness! 31:21 is just one verse I highlighted and noted–remember where you’ve been, what God has brought you through, what you’ve learned!

  2. Churchmouse says:

    Finally Jeremiah has “pleasant sleep.” His prophecy of God’s righteous and harsh judgment of Israel gives way to a prophecy of great hope and restoration. We can practically see the burden lift from his weary shoulders. How comforting for us to be reminded that God says “I will discipline you justly” and also “I will turn their mourning into joy, give them consolation, and bring happiness out of grief.” God’s discipline is just, fair and it fits the offense. God’s discipline is not capricious. God’s love for His people is everlasting and so He is quick to move from discipline to forgiveness, compassion and restoration. In our times of discipline, may we remember His tender mercies. We don’t often understand the why or the way of God when we’re in a difficult season. When we don’t understand the ways of His hands, may we remember we can always trust His heart. In our difficult season, let us look up from our knees. Let us repent and let us hope. He walks through every difficulty with us. Just is His discipline. Great is His faithfulness. Deep is His love.

    1. Jen Brewer says:

      ❤️❤️❤️

  3. Lindsey says:

    These verses gave me so much hope today. They seem relevant to everything our world is experiencing, and I was deeply moved by God’s promises to His people (and to us) of His never-ending love. Like Angie, I marked Jeremiah 31:33-34 with “Thank You for Jesus.” Praise God that He is near and faithful to us, even when it’s hard to see.

    1. Kathy NewellAllison says:

      Lindsey, I agree! I got chills reading these verses just now of the Father’s care and concern for His people and His plan to bring them – US – home!

  4. Cassie Kendall says:

    It was amazing to read so much hope today! I really loved the end of chapter 31 in the Message:

    “If this ordered cosmos ever fell to pieces, fell into chaos before me” – God’s Decree – Then and only then might Israel fall apart and disappear as a nation before me. If the skies could be measured with a yardstick and the earth explored to its core, Then and only then would I turn my back on Israel, disgusted with all they’ve done.”

    All I could say reading this was wow! Israel has messed up over and over again, but look at how much God loves them! I can’t help but be filled with hope (especially in these trying times for all of us) and assured that God is completely in love with us all, despite our shortcomings. Love to you all!

    Also- be in prayer for all us moms- I’m currently working from home and keeping my 7 and 4 year old busy with schoolwork. I’m happy to say it is going well so far, but we have a long road ahead. :)

  5. Angie says:

    I underlined and circled so many statements in todays verses. God’s declarations, His promises of, “I will.”
    I wrote, “THANK YOU JESUS,” around Jeremiah 31:33-34 because that teaching within, that writing on hearts is for us today because of Jesus. God is our God and we are His people because of Jesus. He knows us and forgives our iniquity, never to be remembered again…because of Jesus.

    Then I wrote, When Jesus is all that is LEFT, everything is RIGHT.

    Trusting God as our loving and good Father, His Son, Jesus our redeeming brother, and the Holy Spirit to indwell, writing on my heart and in my mind His name and His Word.

    God’s people brought Home. Praying for you sisters and praying for lost souls to find Jesus during this time. He longs for all to come to salvation. Thank you Lord.

    1. Nancy Singleton says:

      I love that—“When Jesus is all that’s Left, everything is Right!”

  6. Sara Terry says:

    The verse “ I will discipline you justly and I will by no means leave you unpunished “ stuck out for me ( Jeremiah 31:11). For some reason , when I think of the word “justice” , I think of just desserts being served to someone else, you know … the “really bad guys”. Although we are all purified by the blood of Jesus, this verse reminds me that God has to set boundaries with us and enforce those boundaries , out of love ( much like I have to do with my toddler each and every day … I have rules I have to enforce which I do out of love . In the moment it doesn’t feel good, but I do it out of an over-arching love for my sons well being . Loving parents can hold both joy and sadness at the same time , and God is our loving parent . During this time of “exile” into our homes in 2020, I feel like I am being given the opportunity to reflect and repent for my sins and for our sins as a nation. This feels like an opportunity for God to bring our nation back to Him.

    1. Chris Swan says:

      If only we will heed! If only we will speak out against Sin! Then we will be restored!

    2. Nancy Singleton says:

      Amen!

  7. Kristen says:

    So many wonderful pictures in Scripture today: God as a Shepard, God as Redeemer, God as Provider. When I read this: This is what the Lord says:
    The people who survived the sword
    found favor in the wilderness.h
    When Israel went to find rest,i
    3 the Lord appeared to himA from far away.
    I have loved you with an everlasting love;j
    therefore, I have continued to extend faithful love to you.k
    4 Again I will build you so that you will be rebuilt,
    Virgin Israel.l
    You will take up your tambourines againm
    and go out in joyful dancing.
    5 You will plant vineyards againn
    on the mountains of Samaria;
    the planters will plant and will enjoy the fruit.

    I was thinking of times in my own life or in any of our lives where God sees what we are/have gone through that felt like I/we couldn’t go on, and He promises hope. You will go on, things will get better, and we will or have overcome by His help, love, and grace!
    When I read: For this is what the Lord says:
    Sing with joy for Jacob;
    shout for the foremost of the nations!
    Proclaim, praise, and say,
    “Lord, save your people,q
    the remnant of Israel!”r
    8 Watch! I am going to bring them from the northern land.
    I will gather them from remote regions of the earths—
    the blind and the lame will be with them,t
    along with those who are pregnant and those about to give birth.
    They will return here as a great assembly!u
    9 They will come weeping,
    but I will bring them back with consolation.B,v
    I will lead them to wadis filled with water,
    by a smooth way where they will not stumble,w for I am Israel’s Father,
    and Ephraim is my firstborn.x
    10 Nations, hear the word of the Lord,
    and tell it among the far off coasts and islands!y
    Say, “The one who scattered Israel will gather him.z
    He will watch over him as a shepherd guards his flock,
    11 for the Lord has ransomed Jacob
    and redeemed him from the power of one stronger than he.”aa
    12 They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion;ab
    they will be radiant with joyac
    because of the Lord’s goodness,
    because of the grain, the new wine, the fresh oil,ad
    and because of the young of the flocks and herds.
    Their life will be like an irrigated garden,
    and they will no longer grow weak from hunger.

    I see how God doesn’t forget any of us! He said that includes the lame, blind, and pregnant! They come back with weeping, but God brings consolation He provides, and God makes a smooth way so they don’t stumble. He is likened to a shepherd again. There is no better Shepherd than He to rely on, and He loves and cares for us! He never leaves or forsakes. He is all Good, and the Trinity provides all we need for this life and the unfathomable perfect joy we will have for eternity! I just heard a podcast about the fear of the Lord. That isn’t a bad thing. Yes, He loves us, but He is Holy, All Powerful, and Sovereign. Think of all He has done for us, and who He is. She was saying that should make us want to be in awe of Him, hold Him in highest regard, and see Him for all He is. This should invoke a response of wanting to honor and serve Him out of love, and not because we think we have to! (I’m paraphrasing, but hope I’m getting the message across.)
    When the Scripture talks about Racheal weeping. I have buried my first baby. I was devastated. But, God used her life. Even though she was stillborn, and never took a breath outside the womb, her life was used to bring me to Jesus, help others that have gone through this pain, and her life and all life has a purpose!
    Finally when I read: territory.
    18 I have surely heard Ephraim moaning,
    “You disciplined me, and I have been disciplined
    like an untrained calf.f
    Take me back, so that I can return,
    for you, Lord, are my God.g
    19 After my return, I felt regret;
    After I was instructed, I struck my thigh in grief.h
    I was ashamed and humiliatedi
    because I bore the disgrace of my youth.”
    20 Isn’t Ephraim a precious son to me,
    a delightful child?j
    Whenever I speak against him,
    I certainly still think about him.
    Therefore, my inner being yearns for him;
    I will truly have compassion on him.

    I’m reminded how God is faithful to forgive because of Jesus’ finished work on the Cross! How blessed we are that we don’t have to beat ourselves up, and God forgives when we mess up! He is Amazing! I’m thinking of that song that says: He’s more Awesome than I know! Let’s praise Him today!

  8. Erin Morioka says:

    I am reassured by God’s promises of faithfulness to His people in the verses, even though He still allows them to be punished.

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