Jeremiah declared there would be a day of dancing in Israel. Mourning would be turned into joy. Sorrow would be exchanged for gladness. They would feast in abundance and the people would be satisfied with God’s goodness. For the God who had scattered Israel would gather Israel. And they would be His flock. Sheep led beside still waters. Sheep finding rest in green pastures. And the God who had determined to love them with an everlasting love would guard them as their Shepherd. For the LORD would ransom Jacob, paying the price for his release. The great God of creation would step in as Jacob’s redeemer, releasing him from a grip of bondage too strong for Jacob to break himself.
Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. (Jeremiah 31:13 ESV)
I’ve been hovering over this promise of God to the tribes of Jacob in Jeremiah 31. Thinking that, while it was fulfilled in measure at their return from Babylonian exile, there is yet to come a day when the fullness of this promised redemption and restoration will be realized under the reign of Messiah.
And as I noodle on this I can’t help but put myself in the story. Part of a prototype of a people loved with everlasting love, ransomed from bondage, redeemed and made new, brought into a kingdom whose river is the living water of the Spirit and whose King reigns in their hearts. While not home yet, knowing daily through the pilgrim’s journey the care of the Good Shepherd. Having experienced the goodness of abiding in the Vine. Having encountered the power that frees from the enemy’s grip.
And while I may not be much of a dancer, there’s another response to salvation’s bounty that has caught my attention this morning.
They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion, and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the LORD, over the grain, the wine, and the oil, and over the young of the flock and the herd; their life shall be like a watered garden, and they shall languish no more. (Jeremiah 31:12 ESV)
They shall be radiant. The realization of the goodness of the LORD primes the pump so that a stream pours forth from the recipients of that goodness. A stream of light. They beam. They sparkle. Their inner joy overflows to their outer countenance. The women rejoice . . . the men are merry . . . their feet dance . . . their voices sing . . . and their faces shine. O’ to worship through radiance.
To be real, sometimes life feels a bit like Babylon. Sometimes acknowledging God’s goodness is more in the head than the heart. But in those times of big picture clarity . . . when in the secret place I look up and am reminded of His presence . . . and I look back and know again His provision . . . remembering the darkness and now knowing the light . . . recalling the bondage but now experiencing some victory . . . having once been far off but now boldly approaching His throne of grace . . . when I’m still and reflect again on the goodness of God, I’m thinking I should beam . . . my face should shine . . . my worship should be radiant!
Because of His grace . . . and all for His glory!