by Pastor David Groendyk
Jeremiah 1:10 says that Jeremiah will preach a message of plucking up, breaking down, destroying, overthrowing, building, and planting. After so much plucking, breaking, destroying, and overthrowing thus far, we finally get the building and planting. Jeremiah 30–33 is known as the “Book of Comfort” in this long prophetic book written by the weeping prophet. It tells of the hopeful future that the people of God have despite the coming judgment. While the immediate recipients of this chapter’s promises are the people of Judah and Israel, they apply to believers now as well. Any time you read in the Old Testament the phrases “days are coming” (v. 3) or “in the latter days” (v. 24), an alarm should go off in your head that the author is looking forward to the time of Jesus and how he fulfills the words that are promised by God.
For Judah, the Lord promises hope (vv. 1–11). Their exile will be distressing, like that of a woman going through labor. But that distress will only be temporary. The day will come when the Lord breaks the yoke off their shoulders. The tyranny of the enemy nation will end, such that the people will have “quiet and ease” and no fear ever again (v. 10). Despite their hardships, Judah has a bright future. This kind of peace stemming from a bright future is a reality that every child of God should live in as well. Christ has rescued us from sure judgment and condemnation. He has won for us eternal life in heaven and procured for us the never-ending presence of God by reconciling us back with himself on the cross. While we may be disciplined or punished for a time (v. 11), the Lord never leaves us to the whims of our enemies. He is still with us always. And if the Lord is with you, then you are a conqueror (Rom. 8:37). What a reassurance in the midst of crisis!
The next section describes God healing Judah (vv. 12–17). Although Judah has been injured, their pain is incurable, and there is no medicine for them, God himself will restore them and heal their wounds. Their defeat and their losses will be terrible because their infidelity to God was so great, but the Lord will heal them of their sin and destroy those who caused them so much pain. Likewise, God restores and heals us from the sickness of our sin and its devastating results through Christ’s death and resurrection. Not only does he forgive us of our infidelity, but he helps us from now on to be faithful to him. He rescues us from the judgment we deserve, and he also rescues us from the polluting effects of sin that still plague our every word, thought, desire, and action. Praise God that he removes the festering wound of sin from our lives and makes us whole again! Without it, we would never be able to stand in God’s presence. Praise God that he continues to cleanse us of the remaining effects of sin too!
The final promise for Judah is that of rebuilding (vv. 18–24). Not only would God end the oppression and heal them of their sin, but he would actually cause the city and country to be rebuilt and cause the people to multiply and inhabit the land again. More than that, he will restore the people to a place of honor. And the king and prince who would rule over them would actually be one of their own! What a promise for a people terrorized by enemies for almost a hundred years. But there is a much grander and more permanent kingdom in mind here as well. When Jesus comes, the true prince and ruler and king, he sets up a spiritual kingdom for all his people, and the church is the visible manifestation of that kingdom. Christ has and always will build his church. That is a kingdom and a nation that will never go extinct. And he will keep building it, while its citizens keep lifting their songs of thanksgiving and celebration, until he comes again. Praise God that he is building his church and that the gates of hell will never prevail against it!