The Lord Will Guard Us

Hear the word of the LORD, O nations,
proclaim it on distant isles, and say:
He who scattered Israel now gathers them together,
he guards them as a shepherd guards his flock.

The LORD shall ransom Jacob,
he shall redeem him from the hand of his conqueror.
Shouting, they shall mount the heights of Zion,
they shall come streaming to the LORD’s blessings.

Then the virgins shall make merry and dance,
and young men and old as well.
I will turn their mourning into joy,
I will console and gladden them after their sorrows.
(Jeremiah 31:10-13)

Scripture Study

31:10 on distant isles Often used to refer to the farthest reaches of the known world (see Isa 11:11; 41:1; 60:9). who scatterer of Israel now gathers them The scattering was part of the covenant curses (Lev 26:33), but the restoration and gathering also was promised (Deut 30:1–4). Compare Jer 9:16; 10:21; 30:11; Ezek 36:19, 24.

a shepherd guards his flock The metaphor of Yahweh as a shepherd caring for His flock is common in the OT.

31:11 The Lord shall ransom Jacob The image of salvation in the formal sense of a legal ransom or act of redemption is a common feature in Isa 40–48 (e.g., Isa 43:1; 44:22; 48:20). God redeems His chosen people even at the cost of the other nations. This is a metaphorical ransom invoking the idea that redemption required payment.

31:12 life will become like a well-watered garden The imagery of this verse points to the future blessing on the land that results when God’s people are in right relationship with Him (compare Isa 35:10; 58:11). 

Scripture Reflection

The prophetical books speak of God’s tender mercy and John Paul II points out that “it is significant that in their preaching the prophets link mercy, which they often refer to because of the people’s sins, with the incisive image of love on God’s part. The Lord loves Israel with the love of a special choosing, much like the love of a spouse, and for this reason, he pardons its sins and even its infidelities and betrayals. When he finds repentance and true conversion, he brings his people back to grace. In the preaching of the prophets, mercy signifies a special power of love, which prevails over the sin and infidelity of the chosen people.

Connected with the mystery of creation is the mystery of the election, which in a special way shaped the history of the people whose spiritual father is Abraham by virtue of his faith. Nevertheless, through this people which journeys forward through the history both of the Old Covenant and of the New, that mystery of election refers to every man and woman, to the whole great human family: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you’ (Jer 31:3)” (Dives in Misericordia).

– James Gavigan

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

 

Archangels

War broke out in heaven;
Michael and his angels battled against the dragon.
The dragon and its angels fought back,
but they did not prevail
and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.
The huge dragon, the ancient serpent,
who is called the Devil and Satan,
who deceived the whole world,
was thrown down to earth,
and its angels were thrown down with it.

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
“Now have salvation and power come,
and the Kingdom of our God
and the authority of his Anointed.
For the accuser of our brothers is cast out,
who accuses them before our God day and night.
They conquered him by the Blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
love for life did not deter them from death.
Therefore, rejoice, you heavens,
and you who dwell in them.”
(Revelation 12:7-12)

Scripture Study

12:7 Michael: The heavenly warrior and archangel (Jude 9) who protects the People of God (Dan 12:1). Here he leads the heavenly army in the attack against Satan and his hoards.

12:9 that ancient serpent: Satan, who took the form of a reptile when he instigated the fall of man in Gen 3:1–13. His name in Greek is the Devil, meaning “slanderer”, and his name in Hebrew is Satan, meaning “adversary”. the deceiver: Satan is the father of every lie and falsehood (Jn 8:44).

12:10 Now the salvation: Heaven celebrates the expulsion of the devil and his angels. This is not the fall of the angels at the dawn of time (12:4), but the defeat of evil at the turning point of salvation history, when Christ mounted the Cross and cast out the ruler of this world (Jn 12:31–32; Col 2:15). the kingdom: See note on Rev 11:15–19. accuser of our brethren: The devil is a prosecuting attorney who makes damning accusations against the saints (Job 1:6–11; Zech 3:1).

12:11 conquered … unto death: The martyrs appear defeated by death but are actually victorious. They, most of all, have shown the greater love (Jn 15:13) that makes them like Christ, even in his death (Phil 3:10).

Scripture Reflection

Once a most exalted creature, he became a devil because when God created man in his own image and likeness, he refused to acknowledge the dignity granted to man. Michael obeyed, but the devil and some other angels rebelled against God because they regarded man as beneath them. As a result the devil and his angelic followers were cast down to earth to be imprisoned in hell, which is why they ceaselessly tempt man, trying to make him sin so as to deprive him of the glory of God.

In the light of this tradition, the book of Revelation emphasizes that Christ, the new Adam, true God and true man, through his glorification merits and receives the worship that is his due—which spells the total rout of the devil. God’s design embraces both creation and redemption. Christ, the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, defeats the devil in a war which extends throughout human history; but the key stage in that war was the incarnation, death and glorification of our Lord.

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.