Man is Responsible For His Own Sins

In a Peanut’s cartoon Lucy and Linus were sitting in front of the television set when Lucy said to Linus, “Go get me a glass of water.” Linus looked surprised, “Why should I do anything for you? You never do anything for me.” “On your 75th birthday … More

Hope

The nation’s future hope will contrast sharply with her present misery (vv. 15-20). Rachel, the mother of Benjamin, continues to live through the descendants of that tribe (v. 15). In N.T. fulfillment her weeping is prompted by the cruel and barbarous act of Herod, who had all the babies killed because of his insane jealousy over the Christ Child. These babies are not lost forever, though, and will be honored as members of the covenant nation (v. 16). In all likelihood these women were crying because they would never see their children again. The Lord gave them hope (v. 17). Jeremiah ended this section by recording Israel’s cry of contrition that she will recite when she returns to the land (v. 18). Though she had strayed she will repent (vv. 19-20).

“Signposts” are stone markers, and “landmarks” are poles or beacons pointing the way to Zion (v. 21). Every believer should keep a road map home to God, setting for himself spiritual goals to lead him in seeking God’s plan for his life and maintaining divinely assigned priorities (v. 22). When God will restore the nation of Israel, He will also reverse the fortunes of Judah (vv. 23-26). He promised to provide a new beginning for His covenant people. He would populate the nations of Israel and Judah with the offspring of men and animals (vv. 27-28). The Hebrews had accused God of injustice and cruelty in the punishment of children for the sins of their fathers (vv. 29-30). Actually, the children had surpassed their fathers in their wickedness. Under the New Covenant, there would be no misunderstanding because every individual must bear the responsibility for his own sins (Deut. 24:16; Ezek. 18:2, 20).

Application

The people tried to blame God’s judgment on the sins of their fathers but each person is held accountable for their own sins. God holds me accountable for what I do and my only hope is in Him.

Jeremiah 31:15-30 (English Standard Version)

Thus says the LORD: "A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more." Thus says the LORD: "Keep your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears, for there is a reward for your work, declares the LORD, and they shall come back from the land of the enemy. There is hope for your future, declares the LORD, and your children shall come back to their own country. I have heard Ephraim grieving, 'You have disciplined me, and I was disciplined, like an untrained calf; bring me back that I may be restored, for you are the LORD my God. For after I had turned away, I relented, and after I was instructed, I struck my thigh; I was ashamed, and I was confounded, because I bore the disgrace of my youth.' Is Ephraim my dear son? Is he my darling child? For as often as I speak against him, I do remember him still. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him, declares the LORD. "Set up road markers for yourself; make yourself guideposts; consider well the highway, the road by which you went. Return, O virgin Israel, return to these your cities. How long will you waver, O faithless daughter? For the LORD has created a new thing on the earth: a woman encircles a man." Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: "Once more they shall use these words in the land of Judah and in its cities, when I restore their fortunes: "'The LORD bless you, O habitation of righteousness, O holy hill!' And Judah and all its cities shall dwell there together, and the farmers and those who wander with their flocks. For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish." At this I awoke and looked, and my sleep was pleasant to me. "Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man and the seed of beast. And it shall come to pass that as I have watched over them to pluck up and break down, to overthrow, destroy, and bring harm, so I will watch over them to build and to plant, declares the LORD. In those days they shall no longer say: "'The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge.' But everyone shall die for his own sin. Each man who eats sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge."

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