25 The Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “I am about to bring punishment on Amon god of Thebes, on Pharaoh, on Egypt and her gods and her kings, and on those who rely on Pharaoh. 26 I will give them into the hands of those who want to kill them—Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and his officers. Later, however, Egypt will be inhabited as in times past,” declares the Lord.
27 “Do not be afraid, Jacob my servant;
do not be dismayed, Israel.
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.
28 Do not be afraid, Jacob my servant,
for I am with 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 46:25-28 NIV)
From the previous passage, we heard God’s promise to destroy Egypt as He had Judah, to make the land uninhabited and desolate. The Lord had focused on lower Egypt, its capital city Memphis, and on their god Apis.
In today’s passage, the Lord brings the focus to upper Egypt, its capital city Thebes, and its god Amon. The Lord promises judgment on the city, its deity, on Pharoah and anyone under Pharoah who works for or relies on him. I think that covers about everyone in the land of Egypt! But God, in His grace, promises to reinhabit Egypt eventually (v. 26b).
Today’s passage also includes a promise to watch over the Jewish exiles scattered throughout the neighboring lands of Judah (vv. 27-28). The Jewish exiles were no doubt terrified of God’s words of destruction against the nations. God reiterates His promise (very similar to 30:10-11) to let them know He has not forgotten His people.
Notice the words of comfort the Lord offers to His children – to miraculously protect His own while destroying the inhabitants and land where they are exiled. Such a promise of salvation is more than any other deity could promise or deliver. Remember that most peoples and nations of Jeremiah’s day believed that their deities had their power within a given country or other geographic bounds. God reminds His people that His power has no geographic limitations – He is God overall.
In verse 28b, the Lord promises restoration for His people, back to the promised land, to a combined Israel and Judah that will operate as one nation.
It’s interesting that these two passages (25-26 and 27-28) are placed next to each other. It’s as if God is saying that if he will show grace to Egypt (v. 26b) who does not honor Him, how much more will He show His grace and loving kindness to the people of His covenant (v. 28b)?
May we remember that God is the God of both individuals and nations. God holds each person responsible for their thoughts and actions, as well as each nation.
May we also remember that God’s desire is to bring both individuals and nations to a place of repentance and relationship with Himself.
If we find ourselves enduring God’s discipline, either as individuals or as a nation, may we remember God’s promises to protect and care for His own.
May we experience God’s love and grace today – He has our best interests in mind, and desires that we continue to grow to be more like Him.