So I will establish My covenant with you, and you will know that I am the LORD,
I. ON GOD'S SIDE MERCY IS REMEMBERED IN THE MIDST OF WRATH. The King pities his subjects even when they are in insurrection against him. It is their own interests that they are jeopardizing, their own sentence of condemnation that they are writing. The Lord of all, whilst he is displeased with the ingratitude and disobedience of his subjects, still retains his own character; there is no vindictiveness in his government; he ever delights in mercy.
II. ON THE SIDE OF JERUSALEM THERE IS SINCERE REPENTANCE AND SHAME. While God remembers his covenant, Jerusalem remembers her ways, and the memory awakens shame and confusion. The poignant appeal has not been made in vain. The mirror has been held up before the face of the sinful and abandoned, and the guilty heart has been conscious of its sin. Conduct, which has been the outcome of unrestrained passion or of an unreflecting yielding to external influence, is now seen in its true light. Deliberate wickedness is deliberately regretted and deliberately loathed. "To us belong shame and confusion of face."
III. THERE IS RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF THE BROKEN COVENANT. This covenant dates back from the time of Jerusalem's youth; her infidelity has indeed cancelled it; but God, in his grace, is willing to overlook and forgive all that is past, and to renew the sweet and happy relations of other times. It is a miracle of mercy. God's ways are not as our ways. Human magnanimity, in its noblest exercise, falls short of this action of the holy God. Here is a revelation of the Divine character which may well bring comfort and hope to the sinner who has forsaken and defied his God, but who sees and repents his folly and his guilt. In the light of the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ the language is infinitely encouraging. There is a covenant of grace into which the righteous God admits, not Israel only, but mankind - a covenant in which all the giving is on God's side, and all the receiving is on ours.
IV. THERE IS AN ASSURANCE OF ACCEPTANCE AND PACIFICATION. The false prophets had proclaimed a false peace; a true peace comes only from him who is the God alike of righteousness and of mercy. When he declares, in the language of the text, "I am pacified toward thee," then it is well. When he giveth peace, who can give trouble? The transgressions of other days are forgotten; the estrangement of other days has given place to concord and harmony. Reverence and love are offered by those who were once in rebellion. And favour and everlasting love are revealed by him who but lately uttered words of reproach, and inflicted chastisement and punishment. It is the happy experience of the justified and accepted believer in Christ which breaks forth into the joyful exclamation, "Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." - T.
I. WHAT THIS COVENANT IS, AS REVEALED TO A PEOPLE AMONG THE JEWS IN THE YOUTHFUL PERIOD OF THAT NATION. Now, then, "nevertheless," notwithstanding all this heathenism, "I will remember My covenant with thee in the days of thy youth." The covenant was made with a people among the Jews in the youthful time of that nation. First, in the 3rd verse of the 12th of Genesis, the Lord said to Abraham — and that was the infancy, the commencement of the nation, — "In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed"; which is afterwards explained to mean that in Jesus Christ shall all families of the earth be blessed. That is God's covenant. Now, just look at the suitability of this. It is in Christ Jesus. What is it that we need? Why, the very first thing that every man needs is a Saviour. We are by sin lost. And so, in the very first chapter of Matthew, "Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins." Here, then, this covenant is nothing else but a positive engagement on the Lord's part to bring about eternal salvation. He has done that. And how suited this is! suited not only in itself, but in its manner — that "whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved"; that is, brought to see what Jesus Christ is as the Mediator of this covenant. Let your confidence be in His person, in His righteousness, in His atonement, and in the promises that are by Him; and if you can do nothing else but go on from time to time with "Lord, save me; Lord, have mercy upon me; Lord, look upon me; Lord, teach me; Lord, direct me"; — if you have these desires, together with an acquaintance with the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom the blessings are, then thou wilt not be lost, for "whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
I will establish My covenant with thee.I. THE WAY IN WHICH GOD REVEALS HIS PARDONING MERCY. "I will establish My covenant with thee." The covenant of grace is the grand repository of the redemption of man. It comprehends all the items, all the particulars of Christ Jesus our Lord, in His person, His name, and all the characters and offices He has fulfilled in the work of man's redemption — which holds up all the effects of that work, all the fruits of that love, all the blessings of that redemption, and withal tracing it in all its refined ramifications to the covenant of grace.
II. THE CHARACTER IN WHICH HE THUS REVEALS IT. "Thou shalt know that I am the Lord." Thus to know the Lord is to know Him as a covenant God — to know Him as a God in Jesus Christ. God out of Christ is a consuming fire — I dare not approach Him but in Christ. I find Him to be a God of sympathy and compassion, because I find God in my nature is the very High Priest who intercedeth for sinners. God in my nature can be touched with the feeling of my infirmities, and knows how to sympathise with me. It is in this character as God in Christ that He reveals the blessings of His salvation.
III. THE EFFECT THAT IS PRODUCED ON THE HEART BY THIS PARDONING MERCY. "That thou mayest remember, and be confounded," etc. If there is not a more pure or a more exalted motive to obedience than the love of God, there is not a more powerful motive to walking in the ways of God, than the assurance of His pardoning love and mercy. How quickly does it excite the attention of a poor trembling sinner to hear the sound of mercy, when he knows that that sound comes from God who can pardon!
II. HOW THIS COVENANT IS AN EVERLASTING COVENANT. The covenant the Lord made with the Jews, that He was to be their God, and that they were to have the land of Canaan, and the great advantages of national distinction, as described in the Word of God — Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and many other places — they were to continue to enjoy all these on the ground of their conformity to that covenant; they were to continue in the purity of it. But instead of this they forsook God's covenant, threw down His altars, the altar of sacrifice and the altar of incense; and the next thing, of course, was to slay those prophets and ministers that preached even this national covenant. There was no righteousness belonging to that temporal covenant that was eternal, and that could therefore perpetuate the covenant. There was no sacrifice in that covenant that could take away sin, and that could consequently perpetuate that covenant. If the people apostatised, or gave way, then everything was gone. But here the Lord says, "I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant." Here is a testamentary will wherein God has willed everything by Christ Jesus. Now, Jesus Christ has brought in everlasting righteousness, for His righteousness is everlasting, and this perpetuates the covenant. This covenant and the promises cannot fail while Christ's righteousness remains what it is; and as His atonement is perfect, and He has perfected forever all them that are sanctified, here it is the covenant is perpetuated. It must remain.
III. THE NOTE OF TIME. Now, when you are brought to receive this covenant, there is a certain temper of mind. "Then thou shalt remember thy ways, and be ashamed." Saul of Tarsus, before he was brought to this covenant, remembered his ways and was delighted.
That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more, because of thy shame.I. REVIEW THE BLESSED CONDITION INTO WHICH EVERY BELIEVER IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST HAS BEEN BROUGHT BY THE SOVEREIGN ACT OF GOD'S MERCY. The Hebrew word which here sets forth forgiveness and pardon properly signifies to cover a thing with that which adheres and sticks to the thing covered; not with dry dust or leaves, which could be easily removed, but with glue or pitch, so that the thing hidden cannot easily be brought to sight again. O believer, God is pacified towards you, for your sin is covered; it is put away, all of it, and altogether. Since you have believed in Jesus Christ your sin has not become dimly visible, neither by searching may it be seen as a shadow in the distance, but God seeth it no more forever. God is pacified towards His people, for all that they have done, altogether pacified, for their sins have ceased to be. And this is not occasionally true, but always true, not only so in happier moments, when we enjoy a sense of it, but always, whether we have a sense of it or not. At all times, in the dark as well as in the light, in down castings as well as in upliftings, the Lord is pacified towards His people. I would to God that the Lord's people grasped this more fully, and lived in the power of it more completely. May God grant we may! There is peace, there is nothing but peace, between my soul and God. Oh, what a joyous thought this is! Grasp it, Christian, and let your spirit exult in it. And all this, remember, is written in our text concerning a people who had plunged into wondrous sins. The greatness of the sin reveals the greatness of the redeeming sacrifice, and the direful nature of the disease declares the infinity of that Physician's skill who is able to put it all away.
II. WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED IN THE PROCESS OF REACHING THIS PEACEFUL STANDING.
1. First, we have learned salvation by a covenant. The thought is charming, for we were lost by a covenant. Here, then, was the way to restore us again. As we sinned representatively, it was possible for us to satisfy the law by a representative. Here was the opening for the way of salvation. By a second covenant head man may be redeemed, and therefore Jesus Christ comes, the second Adam, and God makes a covenant with Him, which covenant runs thus — "If He will bear the penalty of sin — if He will keep the law, then, all that are in Him shall be delivered from every sin, and the righteousness of the second Adam shall be imputed to them, and they shall be loved and blessed as if they were righteous." Oh, matchless mystery of love!
2. The next thing we have learned while reaching our happy condition of peace with God is the lesson that Jehovah is indeed God. "Thou shalt know that I am the Lord." To be saved in a way that makes us know that God is God is to be taught aright. That God is God is easy to say but hard to know.(1) I have learned His justice, and if ever I hear men talking about the injustice of everlasting punishment for sin, I have found no echo in my conscience to that observation, because, if I could be lifted up into God's place, I feel that the very first thing I should have to do would be to eternally condemn such a guilty thing as I myself have been and am. I feel it.(2) I have also been made to learn His sovereignty. This I know, that He is God, and doeth as He pleases with His grace.(3) And oh, how we have to learn His power. "Who but Thyself could have chained my imperious passions and broken the iron yoke from off my neck?"(4) Above all, we learn that precious word, "God is love"; but there is no understanding it until you are actually broken down under a sense of sin, and are led to see that your sin deserves the hottest hell.
3. We have learned ourselves. To remember and to be confounded — that is not comfortable. Who likes to remember and be confounded? Once you could have found twenty excuses, and had your choice out of them; but now that the Lord has forgiven you, you cannot find one, and as you turn them all up — those old excuses of yours — those fig leaves of yours, with which you once hoped to cover your nakedness, you despise them, and think you never saw such flimsy things.
III. THE SILENCE WHICH IS FOREVER INDUCED. "Thou shalt never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame." If any man who believes himself to have been moral and sinless will only begin to look at the reasons why he has been so innocent, and search himself, he will often discover that inside all that purity of his there has been a mass of pride, self-conceit, self-seeking, indifference to God, and every detestable thing. When the Lord shows the man all this, and casts him down into the ditch till he abhors himself, and then cleanses him in the precious blood till he is pacified towards Him, he will never open his mouth about that matter any more. Neither will a man who has been cleansed in this way open his mouth any more against Divine sovereignty. He is the man above all others who loves to hear of God as absolute. He knows how gracious, how strong, how truly good He is. So, also, this way of salvation shuts a man's mouth as to all murmuring and complaining against God upon any score whatever; for, saith he, "If the Lord has pardoned me, let Him do what He wills with me."
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
II. THE RECONCILIATION. Now, "what the law saith it saith to them that are under the law." Satan is our enemy; sin is our enemy; take both these in one. Without sin being put away by Jesus Christ, and Satan conquered by Jesus Christ — without this everything is against us; but when this is done, things then are made to take that wonderful turn that everything is in our favour by faith. Those of us that know thus our condition, we do most solemnly, most firmly and understandingly, and we can say lovingly, sincerely, and decisively, believe in what Jesus Christ hath done. We see by what He hath done all the sins of which we are the subjects put away, and we are delivered from them all. We are no longer reckoned sinners, but saints; no longer reckoned enemies, but friends — "Abraham My friend"; — and so the Lord's people are the seed of Abraham, and are God's friends by faith in what Jesus Christ has done. And so great is the change He has wrought that now the Lord doth not behold iniquity in Jacob, nor see perverseness in Israel.
(J. Wells.)I. THE EXTENT OF MAN'S WICKEDNESS.
I. Give a brief summary of the chapter; mark how this image was applicable to Judah and Jerusalem; to us also it may be applied.
II. THE EXCEEDING RICHES OF GOD'S GRACE; vile as the Jews had been, He promised to restore them to favour. This promise is no doubt to be extended to us.
II. THE EFFECT OF THIS GRACE UPON EVERY SOUL OF MAN. It is thought by some calculated to puff up pride and conceit in all who receive it. But. this is —
1. Contrary to reason;
2. Contrary to fact. Remember —
(1) (2) (C. Simeon, M. A.) (Arthur Ritchie.).
(2) (C. Simeon, M. A.) (Arthur Ritchie.).
(C. Simeon, M. A.)