10 “Hear the word of the Lord, you nations;
proclaim it in distant coastlands:
‘He who scattered Israel will gather them
and will watch over his flock like a shepherd.’
11 For the Lord will deliver Jacob
and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they.
12 They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion;
they will rejoice in the bounty of the Lord—
the grain, the new wine and the olive oil,
the young of the flocks and herds.
They will be like a well-watered garden,
and they will sorrow no more.
13 Then young women will dance and be glad,
young men and old as well.
I will turn their mourning into gladness;
I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.
14 I will satisfy the priests with abundance,
and my people will be filled with my bounty,”
declares the Lord.
(Jeremiah 31:10-14 NIV)
In yesterday’s passage, we saw the Lord share His plans with His children. In today’s text, the Lord shares His plan with the world.
In today’s verses, the Lord is putting the nations on notice. This same God who scattered His people to the ends of the earth will now gather them from the nations and watch over them like a shepherd (v. 10).
Verse 11 has two very key words that merit further investigation:
A legal term used to denote a price paid for something or someone that has fallen into the possession of another (a hostile possession). After the ransom has been paid, the person or thing is released to those who paid the ransom. A scriptural example of this is when Abram rescues Lot from the hands of his captors (Genesis 14).
A family term that describes the actions on the part of one to keep someone or something of family value from leaving the family. Possible scenarios could include the payment of debts for someone who had fallen on hard times and was about to make themselves a slave to pay off the debt. It could also be payment for a piece of land to keep it in the family. Another scenario is where a family member marries the childless widow of a dead relative to continue the family name of the dead man. An excellent example of the last two scenarios described above is Boaz in the book of Ruth.
Of course, the ultimate example and role model of one who is ransomer and redeemer is Jesus. He paid the ransom for us on the cross and then redeemed us by giving us a family and a home.
Verses 12 – 14 are short vignettes of the lives of the ransomed and redeemed. Verse 12 depicts the agricultural bounty the Lord provides. Verse 13 paints a great picture of the joy of the people celebrating as families and as a community. Verse 14 shows that even God’s servants (the ones that the Lord had taken to task for so long) will enjoy God’s blessings.
May we meditate today on the realities of Christ ransoming and redeeming us. He set us free from the condemnation of sin (which is death) and took us into His family as sons and daughters, to redeem us as His own.
May we share the good news of what Christ has done for us with others who need hope.