4 These are the words the Lord spoke concerning Israel and Judah:5 “This is what the Lord says:
“‘Cries of fear are heard—
terror, not peace.
6 Ask and see:
Can a man bear children?
Then why do I see every strong man
with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor,
every face turned deathly pale?
7 How awful that day will be!
No other will be like it.
It will be a time of trouble for Jacob,
but he will be saved out of it.
8 “‘In that day,’ declares the Lord Almighty,
‘I will break the yoke off their necks
and will tear off their bonds;
no longer will foreigners enslave them.
9 Instead, they will serve the Lord their God
and David their king,
whom I will raise up for them.
10 “‘So do not be afraid, Jacob my servant;
do not be dismayed, Israel,’
declares the Lord.
‘I will surely save you out of a distant place,
your descendants from the land of their exile.
Jacob will again have peace and security,
and no one will make him afraid.
11 I am with you and will save you,’
declares the Lord.
‘Though I completely destroy all the nations
among which I scatter you,
I will not completely destroy you.
I will discipline you but only in due measure;
I will not let you go entirely unpunished.’
(Jeremiah 30:4-11 NIV)
As we discussed in yesterday’s passage, the Book of Consolation (chapters 30 – 33) was written to both Israel (the northern kingdom) and Judah (the southern kingdom). Verse 4 reiterates that same inclusive scope for today’s text.
Verses 5 – 7a provide a summary of the book of Jeremiah up to this point: the unrepentant nation (both the northern and southern kingdoms) will pay a terrible price for their sin of deliberate disregard for God and His word.
Verse 7b is God’s promise that even though God’s people will suffer, God will not destroy them – a remnant will survive.
Verse 8 begins with the familiar phrase “In that day”, which points to some future timeframe. And what is the future promise? Freedom from foreign oppressors such as Babylon and others who are holding God’s people.
Notice in verse 9 that God’s people will not be free to do whatever they want after the Lord removes their oppressors and returns them to their homeland. They will serve the Lord their God.
The Lord also says that He will raise up David as their king. King David had been dead for a long time – was God going to resurrect him, or did this mean something else? From other passages such as 2 Samuel 7, we know that God promised King David that someone from his family would be on the throne over God’s people forever.
Looking back in history, we are aware that a king was never reestablished over God’s people after the exiles returned to Israel and Judah. We know that this reference to one of David’s descendants becoming king again was looking far forward to one last King, namely Jesus.
Verses 10 – 11 are God’s promise to free His people from exile and return them to their promised land. God’s purpose in repeating this promise is to comfort and reassure His people that in spite of the discipline they are receiving, they should not give up hope, as their future is assured.
The first phrase of verse 11, “I am with you and will save you”, is the same phrase the Lord used to encourage and reassure Jeremiah at his calling into ministry (see 1:8).
We may well be asking ourselves, “God wrote those promises for the ancients of Jeremiah’s day. What about us in our current days?”
May we be encouraged as we remember Jesus’ parting words as He prepared to leave earth and return to heaven:
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:20b NIV)
As followers of Christ, Jesus’ same promise He made to His disciples is true for us today.
May we live in the power and hope and calling of His promise and assurance of His presence as we go through life together.