23 See, the storm of the Lord
will burst out in wrath,
a driving wind swirling down
on the heads of the wicked.
24 The fierce anger of the Lord will not turn back
until he fully accomplishes
the purposes of his heart.
In days to come
you will understand this.
31 “At that time,” declares the Lord, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they will be my people.”
(Jeremiah 30:23 – 31:1 NIV)
Today’s passage is a recap of the judgment that has begun, is being fulfilled, and is not yet complete. This text summarizes the Lord’s previous pronouncements in verses 11, 16, and 20c. Verses 23 – 24 are also pretty much a repeat of what the Lord said in 23:19-20.
Verse 1 of Chapter 31 is considered a “bridge” verse that ties together the previous sections of Chapter 30 with the subsequent sections of Chapter 31.
The Lord is clear here – sin will not go away on its own. Sin must be punished and ultimately destroyed. While God is the Righteous Judge, He is also the Loving Redeemer. Verse 24b shows the tenacity of the Lord – He will not stop until He fulfills the purposes of His heart – to redeem and restore His people to Himself.
The Lord acknowledges that this is a hard thing to comprehend, so He adds the comment of 24c – “In days to come, you will understand this.” So how long until this promise would become apparent? Psalm 90:4 says that to the Lord, a thousand years are like a day. So would this revelation come in Jeremiah’s lifetime, or in a future generation?
After pondering and praying over this for a bit, it appears that the response would be “c” – all the above. The Lord had already promised to judge the nations that He used to judge Israel and Judah. With the exile coming to an end of 70 years, there would be some who would see God’s hand move from judgment and exile to redemption and restoration of in their homeland in their lifetime.
We also see God’s hand of judgment upon sin and His restoration of humanity through His son Jesus. The Apostle Paul explains that death came through Adam, but life came through Christ:
15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!
(Romans 5:15-17 NIV)
Peter tells us the same thing, reminding us that Christ paid the ultimate sacrifice for all our sins – the past, present, and future:
18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.
(1 Peter 3:18 NIV)
Finally, we have this promise reiterated in the future when God will destroy sin forever. Revelation 21:1-6 describes the new Jerusalem, the dwelling place of God and His people from every tribe and nation. In verse 6, the Lord says, “it is done” – sin has been destroyed, and righteousness reigns forevermore.
Verse 1 of Chapter 31 reiterates the promise the Lord made long ago to Abraham and Moses and repeated in verse 22 of Chapter 30 – that God would be their God, and they would be His people. And we have that same promise in Christ, both now and for eternity (Revelation 21:3).
May we remember that we are but sojourners in this life. Our home is not here, but with Christ in heaven.
May we learn to live in the tension between this life and the next, redeeming each day for God’s glory and our transformation into His likeness.