Thursday, August 26, 2021

Into the Hands of the Enemies

Week 34 — Book of Jeremiah

Read: Jeremiah Chapter 34




Lachish, a royal citadel and ancient city of the kingdom of Judah, is located SW of Jerusalem. This old Canaanite city that is captured by the Israelites under Joshua’s leadership (Joshua 10:31-33) becomes a strong fortress of Judah (920 BC) during the reign of Rehoboam, Solomon’s son. In Micah 1:13, the prophet warns Lachish of the coming destruction from Assyria and the spreading of destruction to Judah. Ultimately seized by the Assyrians and later destroyed by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar in 587 BC, Lachish will be conquered. Mentioned in Nehemiah 11:30, post-exiles resettle the city.


Lachish, located between the coastal plain and the hills of Judah, is “surrounded by deep valleys on all sides.”[1] The “inner wall is over 12 feet thick”[2] which provides good security. “Communication by tablets in cuneiform script”[3] have been found, proving the essential “internal communication”[4] format. Ostraca, ancient pottery sherds with writing on them, are unearthed by archaeologists and become part of the Lachish Letters.


The Lachish Letters, partially discovered in 1932-39, are written in classic Hebrew script. Archaeologists also believe Lachish had been burned because of extensive charcoal debris found. Believed to be modern-day Tel ed-duwier, Lachish remains “one of the most significant sites of the Holy Land”.[5] The “early Hebrew writings on bowls, seals, a stone altar, and 21 pottery sherds on which were written letters about the attach on Lachish and Jerusalem by Babylon in 586 BC”[6] have been excavated.


This group of 21 pottery sherds is known as the Lachish Letters. In one letter, the message says, “Signals from Azkaban could not longer be seen.”[7] The archaeologists’ find leads scholars to believe it had been written “shortly after the events noted in Jeremiah 34:7”.[8] Today, this piece of potsherd and its inscriptions is included in an exhibit at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.





Chapter 34 can be marked on a timeline about 588 BC and brings a warning to Zedekiah. Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonian army revels in a successful military campaign. Lachish, 23 miles SW of Jerusalem, and Azekah, 18 miles from Jerusalem, remain the last two “fortified cities” to fall. Along with Nebuchadnezzar, he instructs many vassal countries to also send soldiers.


The LORD tells Jeremiah to speak to Zedekiah and bring the bad news. Jerusalem is to be given to Babylon, and the city shall be burned. While Zedekiah would not escape, he would live to see Nebuchadnezzar “face to face” and then be taken to Babylon. Zedekiah would be spared death “by the sword” and die in peace, but as a captive in Babylon.


This chapter recounts Zedekiah’s renewed promise to honor the covenant and with “all the people of Jerusalem” to free the Hebrew slaves. There had been a change of heart, and he “made the male and female slaves return.” (v11) Historically and to be obedient to the Law of Moses (Exodus 21:1-11), the Hebrew people are to free all slaves after seven years. Although, this had not been observed for a number of years, they tried to resume this, perhaps to see the favor of God. In verses 15-16, God confronts their disobedience. God restates the outcome of the Babylonian invasion and Judah’s captivity because they did not keep their promises.


We see the description of the covenant ceremony (v 18-19) which is the same ceremony between God and Abraham (Genesis 15:7-21). This ancient ritual seals a covenant, signifies an oath. The chapter ending brings images of death and doom to those breaking their promises. Zedekiah and the royal family will be taken into captivity. Jeremiah’s prophecy is being fulfilled.





Only those who are innocent and who do what is right. Such people speak the truth from their hearts and so not tell lies about others. They do no wrong to their neighbors and do not gossip. They do not respect hateful people but honor those who honor the LORD. They keep their promises to their neighbors, even when it hurts. They do not charge interest on money they lend and do not take money to hurt innocent people. Whoever does all these things will never be destroyed. Psalm 15:3-5 NCV 

Christians demonstrate their relationship and fellowship with God in the everyday, ordinary, getting-up, going-to-work, having-lunch, sitting-in-car line, helping-with-homework, cleaning-the-kitchen-again activities. Worshiping God is not confined to the church building. When our inner integrity merges with our outward sincerity, the heart reveals its true intimacy with Jesus. Desiring to serve or wanting to love, wishing for faith or longing for hope, simply is not enough. Behavior becomes the thermometer for our worship. Integrity exceeds doing what is right by doing it for the right reason. Sincerity has only room for truth, honor, and love. Are you lukewarm?

"In the stillness, our false, busy selves are unmasked and seen for the imposer they truly are." Richard FosterPrayer, Finding the Heart's True Home  

If we take inventory of our behavior, what will we find? What happens when we remove our masks? Our exposed frailties and bare excuses reveal control, busyness, apathy, carelessness, greed, prejudice, rationalization, self-consciousness, fear, anxiety and more. The simplicity of Psalm 15 lays out the characteristics for one who desires to abide in God's presence, to live with sincerity of His purpose. So, take off the masks. Work, speak, and think, making Christ the center of your intentions.

"He who does these things will never be shaken." Psalm 15:5 NASB 

This phrase, a promise of a faithful God, appears at least 8 times in Psalms and Proverbs.The Hebrew word mot describes something that "falters, falls, shakes, slips, or staggers." With these last words, God reminds us that our completeness in Him; He is our sure foundation. In our weaknesses, we are certain to falter, likely to fall, sometimes shake, and frequently stagger; yet God embraces our frailties and failures with mercy. God calls us, first, into His holiness to restore our inward integrity, then reveals Himself to others through our outward sincerity. God calls us to walk among the bruised and broken, sit beside the outcasts and overlooked, encourage the frail and fallen. We are to do this with sincere hearts in the name of Jesus, knowing we will never be shaken. 





The people of Judah try bargaining with God once times get tough – then change their ways when everything gets easier.

  • Do you make bargains with God to achieve outcomes you desire?

  • Do you keep those promises to God, keep those new behaviors when the difficulty passes? OR do you resume your former ways of thinking and living?


Donna Oswalt

[1] IVP Bible Background Commentary/ Old Testament, Lachish

[2] Ibid

[3] Easton’s Bible Dictionary, Lachish

[4] Ibid

[5] New Kings James Version Study Bible, Notes on Lachish

[6] Ibid

[7] Ibid

[8] Ibid

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Great and Mighty Things

 Week 33 – Book of Jeremiah

Read: Jeremiah Chapter 33 


Baruch, the scribe, the son of Neriah, and Jeremiah’s secretary, comes from a respected family in Jerusalem. Serbiah, the brother of Baruch is “a minister to King Zedekiah”.[1]  In 1978, the seals of the two brothers, the bullae, are discovered in an Archaeological excavation. “The bulla of Baruch reads to/from Baruch//son of Neriah//the scribe.”[2] In the seal, the title, hspr, “indicates Baruch’s position as a royal clerk.”[3] Mentioned three times in association with Jeremiah, some scholars credit Baruch with recording the “autobiographical chapters” of Jeremiah.

Baruch is mentioned in Jeremiah Chapter 32 in the role of preserving the deed of purchase of the field in Anathoth. Possibly having visited Jeremiah in prison after the land deal, Baruch is entrusted with the legal documents. In Chapter 36, Baruch writes the scroll and reads it to the people in the Temple. When the scroll is read to the king, the king destroys it. Baruch, along with Jeremiah, goes into hiding and rewrites the scrolls.

As secretary to Jeremiah, Baruch likely recorded Jeremiah’s dictations about the Babylonian invasion. “Some scholars discern in Jeremiah’s dictation of scrolls to Baruch important clues for understanding the origins of the book of Jeremiah.”[4] 

From the tribe of Judah and friend of Jeremiah, Baruch demonstrates bravery and faithfulness to God’s prophecy. “Postexilic Judaism elaborated on his character, attributing to him the composition of one apocryphal book.”[5] The Book of Baruch, a book in the Apocrypha, is accredited to Baruch. Writings of this book are found in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament. Believed to be from an influential family, most commentators believe Baruch and Jeremiah are taken to Egypt at the fall of Jerusalem.



This is the last of the chapters (30-33) that make up the Book of Consolations, the grouping that expresses the promise of restoration for Israel, that gives much focus to the messianic promise. 

Jeremiah, still imprisoned, asks God for guidance. The reply to Jeremiah comes in a familiar verse, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” And what are some of these unknowns? “The Lord gave [Jeremiah] further words of assurance and encouragement – promises that relate to the end times.”[6]

Jeremiah brings a prophesy to Judah that the fall of Jerusalem is coming followed by hope, “Behold, I will bring health and healing… the abundance of peace and truth.” (v 6) The captives will return, both Israel and Judah, meaning people from all the tribes of Israel, so they can rebuild. God expresses His plan for the rescue and redemption, for the forgiveness of their sinful rebellion. They will “be a testimony to all the nations of the world of the marvelous goodness and all the prosperity of God.”[7] Jerusalem and the people of Judah will be a light to the world, a light of glory for God.

In these verses, we see restoration where there has been rebellion, pastures where there has been destruction. Joy and gratitude will replace sorrow and disobedience.   “Since these blessings didn’t come during the postexilic period, we have to believe they will be realized when the Lord returns and restores His people and their land.”[8] The greatest blessing will come when the Lord promises, “I will perform that good thing which I have promised to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah… a Branch of righteousness… THE LORD OF OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (vs 14-6) This promise speaks to the end times when people will “call Jerusalem The Holy City.”[9]

This righteous branch is referred to previously in Jeremiah 23:5. The Messiah will execute justice and righteousness in the land. This new and final messianic king will be a mediator of righteousness. This great leader will be both king and priest. The Book of Consolation concludes with the image of unmeasured possibilities. God’s covenant with Abraham and his descendants continuing through David and his descendants will be fulfilled with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The covenant of God promises, “I will have mercy on them.” This future promise of grace reveals a future Promised Land of eternity.



“This is the record of the ancestors of Jesus the Messiah, a descendant of King David and Abraham:” Matthew 1:1 NLT

For centuries, prophets deliver the Lord’s decrees to prepare, instruct, discipline, and encourage the people of Israel. In times of disobedience, crisis, war, famine, captivity, and in times of celebration, peace and abundance, God’s presence dwells with to those who seek Him. Then, a period of 400 years of silence passes as the people continue to wait for the coming of the promised Messiah. In the decades leading up to the Messiah's birth, Rome controls Jerusalem, and its own Herod the Great rules Judah, while Cleopatra rules Egypt. Matthew’s record of the ancestors from Abraham to the Messiah reveals God’s Promise arrives through a diversity of peoples, generation by generation.

Some of the ancestors are heroes of faith while others are outcasts; some are simply ordinary people, and others leave a trail of sinfulness. God is not limited by time or place, race or gender, nor is His work limited by human frailty. He is a God of forgiveness and new beginnings. God calls each of us to be a part of His Master Plan. God, sometimes I must wait through the seemingly endless silence. When I want to rush ahead, give me patience to endure, faith to trust, and wisdom to listen. Count me alive in Christ. Give this ordinary person extraordinary possibilities.




When we wait in silence or what seems like endless chaos or even in the boring ordinary of life, the end results are frequently hidden. The struggles are real, and unfulfilled promises can make us cynical, despondent, frustrated, or simply weary. What are the options?


For me, I see two. Wrestle and whine with all the feelings or look ahead to a better possibility. I admit that maybe seeing the glass half full is more my nature. Trying to take note of circumstances I cannot change, I look for ways to go around, to soar above, or simply survive through. For me, I find I can only do this with God’s strength and wisdom and grace.


How about you? What works for you? (and... can you identify what does NOT work?)


[1] Harper’s Bible Dictionary, Baruch, p 95

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

[4] Eerdman’s Dictionary of the Bible, Baruch

[5] Harper’s Bible Dictionary, p 96

[6] Wiersbe Study Bible Jeremiah, Chapter 33

[7] Ibid, verse 9

[8] Be Decisive, Taking a Stand for Truth; Wiersbe, Warren p 138

[9] Wiersbe Study Bible

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Buy a Field

Week 32 – Book of Jeremiah

Read: Jeremiah Chapter 32



“Anathoth, with its pasture lands,”is the hometown of Jeremiah. Located approximately 3 miles NE of Jerusalem, it is a Levitical town. In both Ezra Chapter 2 and Nehemiah Chapter 7, there is a list of the numbers of Hebrew people who return to Judah and Jerusalem after exile in Babylon. The lists include 128 men from Anathoth. The land that Jeremiah purchased is resettled.


No lands are given to Jacob’s son Levi who descendants provide the religious leadership for Israel. Moses and his brother Aaron are from the tribe of Levi. This priestly tribe finds its homelands in cities given to the Levites or priests “to live in with their pasture lands” for the cattle. (Joshua 21:2) These places are to come from the inheritance of the sons of Israel (Jacob). “Aaron the priest gets thirteen cities by lot” from the tribes of Judah and Simeon and Benjamin. (Joshua 21:4)


Specifically, from the tribe of Benjamin, there are four cities with pasture lands given, to include Anathoth. (1 Chronicles 6:60) While not for certain, one possible thought is that Anathoth is named for one of Benjamin’s grandsons, the son of Becher, Anathoth. All Becher’s sons are described as men of valor. (1 Chronicles 7:6-8,9) “Abiezer, one of David’s military leaders, was from Anathoth (1 Chronicles 11:28) as was the soldier Jehu (1 Chronicles 12:3) and the priest Abiathar (1 Kings 2:26).”[1] Unfortunately Abiathar, who served during Solomon’s reign, is accused of a conspiracy. Anathoth is long known as a settlement in the Judean hills that cultivates crops, olives, vineyards, and is desirable pastureland for sheep.




With a writing style change from poetry to prose, Chapter 32 opens in 587 BC during Nebuchadnezzar’s eighteenth reign and a year before his final victory. The “deportation of the people was close at hand.”[2] Zedekiah is the vassal king of Judah, and the Babylonian army occupy land surrounding Jerusalem, including Anathoth. Jeremiah is now I’m prison in the palace because of his prophesy. The prophesy even predicts Zedekiah’s captivity to Babylon.


Jeremiah’s cousin comes and asks him to buy some land in Anathoth. “The law calls for a kinsman to redeem any land that is likely to pass out of the control of the family (Lev. 25:25). It appears that this is what drives the family to ask Jeremiah to purchase the ancestral property.”[3] Battles with the Babylonian army have been going on in the area for a year and buying the land seems like a poor investment. Yahweh tells Jeremiah to buy a field in Anathoth, in the territory of Benjamin. So, Jeremiah does, for seventeen shekels of silver.


We see this transaction is officially recorded – written on a scroll, sealed, and witnessed. Jeremiah takes the “deed of purchase and a sealed copy to Baruch, his scribe, with instructions from Yahweh to put them “in an earthenware jar.” The purpose signals hope, a hope that “houses, fields, and vineyards will once again be bought in this land.”


“True prayer begins with worship and focuses on the greatness of God.”[4] In verse 16, we see Jeremiah’s prayer as he acknowledges God’s greatness, “You’ve made the heavens and earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for You.” In this prayer, Jeremiah speaks to God’s great purpose and numerous good deeds, blessings, miracles, and promises.


“Pay attention!” The land that is purchased by Jeremiah will be given to the Chaldeans (Babylonians). These people will destroy and burn down the city. Repeated accusations of idol worship and rebellion and child sacrifice identity, again, the wicked behaviors. But near the end, God reminds, “they will be My people and I will be their God.” (v38) The “everlasting covenant” (v 40) remains, and God’s goodness will continue. Promises that God will return them to this land echo over the sounds of battle. “Fields will be bought for silver and deeds will be signed and sealed and witnessed in the territory of Benjamin… I will restore their fortunes.” (v44)




Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for youJeremiah 32:17

Jeremiah’s prayer, Jeremiah 32:16-25, expresses a desire for the assurance of God’s will while acknowledging His righteousness. For Jerusalem, this is a time of despair and doubt, a time of war and weariness; yet the people’s rebellion toward God persists. Jeremiah focuses on God’s majesty and mystery as Creator, Judge, and Redeemer. Despite rebellion, God continues to embrace His people promising, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” (Jeremiah 31:3)


About a year before the fall of Jerusalem, God tells the prophet Jeremiah to “buy a field” even though the land will soon be completely seized by the Babylonians. As God allows the city of Jerusalem to be destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylonia, the people continue their idolatry, giving offerings and worshiping false gods. Through fire and disease, famine and poverty, the buying of the field in this land becomes an “expression of confidence of a loving God’s promise of redemption.”


We are helpless to save ourselves. Regardless of a seemingly desperate desire to understand, we will not always have answers to our questions or doubts. Faith requires keeping our trust in the sovereignty of God, in the certainty of His everlasting love for us. After Jeremiah prays, God reassures with His rhetorical reply, “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything to difficult for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27) We, also, find our Blessed Assurance in this God who finds nothing too extraordinary! 





I recently listened to an online sermon by Pastor Adrian Crawford from Tallahassee, FL, that is titled, “I Bought a Field.” Among many excellent and thought-provoking ideas, some really speak volumes. I am going to list a few of these. Please consider them and ponder their implications for living our best lives for Christ. 

1-  1-    “We either have ‘predictable faith’ or ‘profound faith’. He says that predictable faith is when we try to do it ourselves, try to keep control of things, try to hedge our bets. BUT profound faith is when we make “decisive decisions” and choose “directional obedience” and live with “determined hope”.

2- 2- Jeremiah’s buying of the field is like “putting a deposit down on hope”.

3- 3-  “The church is the field at Anathoth.” The hope that comes with the promises of God.

4- 4- “Everyone has struggles just like us.” Our response should be LOVE not judgement. Be peace makers!

5- 5- As believers we are “earthen vessels” or like clay jars. Read 2 Corinthians 4:7-18 

As you think through these words, ask yourself how Jeremiah demonstrated these ideas. Then, ask yourself, “How will I live a life of profound faith and love in Christ?”

Donna Oswalt


[1] Tyndall Bible Dictionary, Anathoth

[2] Walking the Ancient Paths, A Commentary on Jeremiah; Kaiser, Walter C, p 375

[3] Ibid, p 382

[4] Wiersbe Study Bible Jeremiah Chapter 32

Thursday, August 05, 2021

A New Covenant

Week 31 – Book of Jeremiah

Read: Jeremiah Chapter 31


As the Summer Olympics fill the TV with images of the strongest and fastest and most accurate, life is happening around us. Positive Covid tests and hospitalizations, debates about the vaccine and mask mandates swirl around and affect our families and friends, our communities and events. Swimming and gymnastics, track and field, cycling and skateboarding, volleyball and soccer and more are played out before no crowds, medal ceremonies are rarely televised, but athletes give their best efforts and set world records. History will one day tell this story to the next generation.

The first Olympic Records date back to 776 BC, nearly twelve centuries before. Initially, the event is one day event until 684 BC, then three days, and eventually four days. “ The Olympic Games, like all Greek games, were an intrinsic part of a religious festival”[1] in honor of Zeus. Every four years, the games play out in the ancient city of Olympia in Greece, until they are banned in 393 AD by the Roman Emperor, Theodosius, as pagan cults. Then 1,503 years later, the first modern day Olympic Games are held in Athens, Greece, in 1896.

Initially the competitions include one event, a long “foot race”. Over time, other races of varying lengths are added in, and in 708 BC wrestling and pentathlon, which includes foot race, long jump, disc throwing, javelin throw, and wrestling, are added. Boxing joins the games in 688 BC and chariot racing in 680 BC. All the competitors are men. Most compete in the nude, and although many explanations are given, no real reasons are known.

The first exiles are taken to Babylon in 609 BC, and the Olympic Games are held in 608 BC. Training for the athletes continues for the 596 BC games, while in 597 BC the second group from Judah is taken into captivity. As Nebuchadnezzar executes his final attack on Jerusalem, the 588 BC Olympic Games come to close. The final captives are taken to Babylon in 587 BC, with the complete destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 586 BC. The prize for the Olympians is a crown of olive branches. For Israel and Judah, the exiles will find spiritual restoration and a promise of a new covenant. 


In Chapter 31, the most famous passage of Jeremiah, the promise of a new covenant, occurs. Opening the chapter with words to those who are in exile, those who survived the sword and found grace in the wilderness. The words are like Israel’s exodus experience, escaping death and finding grace in the desert. God is promising to be the covenant partner to the Hebrew people, to love them beyond the temporary, to love them in the age to come. God will pull them out of their situation with mercy and goodness. He will return them to Jerusalem to sing and dance and rejoice, to rebuild, to plant vineyards. They are the remnant God will bring home to find comfort and joy.

“The perceived incurable wound makes way for the peaks of grace and mercy that culminate in the repetition of God’s ancient promise and the renewal of the covenant, called the new covenant.”[2] This is written to “all the families of Israel” suggesting a new start. Israel has been divided since 931 BC, at the end of Solomon’s rule, when divided into the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom. The remnant will come from the whole nation (vs 7-14). God will ransom and redeem His people. God’s goodness is seen in the blessings of new wine, olive trees, cattle and sheep. “Their souls shall be like a well-watered garden.”

A reference to Rachel, the favorite wife of Jacob and mother to Joseph and Benjamin, recalls a time of sorrow, a lamentation. The prophecy continues with stop weeping and rejoice. Ramah, a town in the tribe of Benjamin located about 5 mines north of Jerusalem, is “where the Northern tribes were assembled to begin their exile”[3] after their 722 BC defeat by the Assyrians. “God promises that Rachel’s children will return from exile.”[4] A reference to the land of Ephraim, named for the second son of Joseph, describes this tribe as becoming “tens of thousands”.[5] “Setup signposts, make landmarks” because this will mark your way home. There is hope for the future.

The next section introduces a new way to respond to God. “Everyone will die for his own sin.” Each individual will be held accountable for his or her own sins. Just as God allows them to go into exile, He will bring them home to rebuild, to plant again, but this time, there will be a renewed way to come to Him.

The section of verses 31-34 define the Messianic Promise. “With this text, we have reached the apex of biblical theology for both Testaments.”[6] These are perhaps the most important and influential passages in Jeremiah. “I will put My law in their minds and write it on their hearts.” Again, the repentant heart, the circumcised heart appears. God’s law initially is written on stone tablets, but this new way is an internal relationship.

The covenant God gives at Mt. Sinai, the giving of the law, asks the Israelites to agree to and follow the terms. The people break their promise of only worshiping the One True God. The Ten Commandments represent God’s standard, but humanity is flawed and can never achieve this. “The fault with the old covenant was not with the covenant but with the people.”[7] This human inability to sustain that level of commitment reveals just how much God is needed. A new covenant, a refreshed version, will include Israel, Judah, and the Gentiles, an offering for all peoples. “The initiative and the responsibility for carrying out this covenant is altogether Yahweh and not with the people of Israel.”[8]

This New Promise does not depend on people. God’s grace will forgive and redeem any who believes. This Covenant in recorded in the New Testament as fulfilled by Jesus Christ. Clearly, Christianity benefits from this same covenant, with its deep Jewish roots and fulfillment of a Divine Promise.

The ending restates God’s almighty power, His abilities that are beyond anything we can imagine or measure. God is in control of the sun and the seas and the stars. God chooses His people with faithfulness and forgiveness.  Giving the boundaries, “the days are coming” when Jerusalem will be rebuilt. (Can read more about this in Nehemiah) God’s promises are enduring, permanent even to this day. 


[Jesus to His disciples] Likewise He also took the cup after supper saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.” Luke 22:20 NKJV

Four cups of wine celebrate Passover. Following the “Blessing After the Meal” comes the third cup, the cup of blessing, sometimes called the Cup of Redemption, which symbolizes the blood of the Passover lamb (Exodus 12:13). When Jesus lifts the third cup, this Cup of Redemption, He says, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.” With His crucifixion, Jesus becomes the true Passover Lamb, the blood sacrifice for eternal redemption. “This is My blood, shed for you.” 

Establishing a New Covenant, Jesus calls the people to a new way of living. The body of Christ is a community of believers, all believing in one faith, one baptism, one Spirit. The cup symbolizes Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Prophesied by Jeremiah some 600 years before, Christ travels up to Jerusalem, the fulfillment the Lord’s promise of a New Covenant, “I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts.” (Jeremiah 31:33) The cross tells a new story of redemption to the world, a story of everlasting hope, a story of grace.

Jehovah, El Shaddai, Adonai ~ ancient names, holy names… Your promises capture my needs, anticipate my fears, prepare my future. Broken bread and a cup of blessing call to me centuries after You blessed them, after You surrendered for me, after You settled my debts. Lord, always give us this bread and this cup of blessing to remind me of Perfect Love. 


Recently, many Olympic athletes landed in Tokyo, Japan, with hopes of going the distance, enduring the difficulties, winning a medal, gold or silver or bronze. Like them, we can be intoxicated with the adrenalin of achieving a goal, surviving an illness, earning success. Like the Jewish exiles, we can find ourselves in the depths of life – searching for a job, moving to a new place, treating an illness, weeping for the losses, struggling financially, managing a family, battling an addiction, and more. Everyone is looking for hope and a better future.

  • How do you find hope for the future? Where do you look?

Donna Oswalt



[2] Walking the Ancient Paths, A Commentary on Jeremiah; Kaiser, Walter C, p 357

[3] Ibid, p 360

[4] ESV Global Study Bible notes Jeremiah Chapter 31

[5] Ibid

[6] Walking the Ancient Paths, p 368

[7] Ibid, p 369

[8] Ibid, p 370