meditations on exile (4): homecoming

Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: “The LORD is our righteousness.”

Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when they shall no longer say, “As the LORD lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt,” but “As the LORD lives who brought up and led the offspring of the house of Israel out of the north country and out of all the countries where he had driven them.” Then they shall dwell in their own land. Jeremiah 23:5-8

I treasure these verses. They are poetry, and promises. They allude to the Christian idea of creation’s consummation, our homecoming to the New Heaven and Earth, the New Jerusalem, when God will dwell with humanity, and “man, who is of the earth, will terrify no more” (Psalm 10:17-18).

Jesus, the Messiah being foreshadowed here, is given two names in this passage. He is the Righteous Branch, stemming from the stock of David, God’s king, and of Abraham, God’s friend, and all the way back to Adam, God’s son. He is the one who rights all their wrongs, and all our wrongs.

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:1-2

Yahweh Is Our Righteousness is his other name given here. In Jesus, God himself is our righteousness, and he alone. He is our praise (Deuteronomy 10:21). We are his people, the sheep of his pasture (Psalm 100:3). We are who we are because we are in union with him, in Jesus. God does not change, and, therefore, neither does our righteousness, our praise, or our privileged position, provided that we endure to the end. Jesus is all we need. Don’t let go of that.

The apostle John saw a vision of creation’s consummation, and in that vision he saw Jesus’s people dressed in white robes, singing. Their robes were white in a surprising and paradoxical way: white from being washed in blood, Jesus’s blood, shed for them. John saw them as pure and clean because they were soaked in the sacrifice of Christ. To me, that’s a picture of “God is our righteousness,” vivified, fulfilled.

Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?… These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Revelation 7:13-14

Back in the 23rd chapter of Jeremiah, God told the people of Israel: I am going to bring you home. I will be famous, a household name, for bringing you home.

God will bring us home, friends. Jesus is ours. Therefore – what a precious word – we are homeward bound. This exile is not forever.

Until then, let us do what we can to be useful and faithful with what we’ve got, with what we’ve been given.

Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to given them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Matthew 24:45-46

I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the LORD. The LORD has disciplined me severely, but he has not given me over to death. Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the LORD. Psalm 118:17-19

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2 thoughts on “meditations on exile (4): homecoming

  1. Pingback: Who are my people? - Ant Writes

  2. Pingback: Unsettled, Settled-In, or Settling for Less? « He Dwells — The B'log in My Eye

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