Jeremiah 30 The Promise Of Restoration.
In the beginning verses of this chapter we find the clear affirmation that Jeremiah is the author of this book, so that not only did he deliver that which he had received from the LORD, but by the LORD’s own command, he wrote it down for himself first of all, but also for all who would follow after. He wrote the words God spoke (vv. 1-2). So why did the LORD want his words written in a book? Well, one reason was to prove to those who would eventually return from captivity, that it was the sovereign LORD who promised to bring them back. This would also offer the canonical proof that Jeremiah was a true prophet. Just as importantly, it would offer to those in exile the assurance that the Sovereign LORD of history was in charge, even in their captivity (v. 3a). Finally, it is to show to all who read these words that there is a purpose and flow to the story of redemption, the unifying growth of the salvation history of his people (v. 3b).
It is tragic if any who read the bible do not capture the unity of the salvation message through history. There are two dangers when reading the bible, one is to flatten all the words and events so as to give the impression that the seed promise of redemption at Genesis 3:15 was from the beginning a full grown tree. The progression of the promise has come in stages, all of which are important to understand. However, by the same token we must not miss the one unifying theme that was first expressed in seed form in that first promise – there would be a battle between two seeds, but that the kingdom of the seed of promise is the one which shall ultimately restore to humanity, and the whole of creation, the place originally intended, which is to be in true covenant fellowship with the sovereign LORD. In Jeremiah’s day it was a word to both Israel and Judah (v. 4), that it was ultimately the LORD who sent them into captivity but that he would also deliver them from it.
The people needed to understand that the peace of the LORD’s kingdom, was one that they would only enjoy, for a time, in captivity. As in the time of Jesus’ advent, there were many who could only imagine the establishment of the kingdom by the edge of the sword. The realization that they were going into exile as the LORD purposed it, was so painful that it was as if the men were in the pains of childbirth, but it would be out of this “time of Jacob’s trouble” that his covenant people would be saved (vv. 5-7 Cf. v. 18; 4:31; 6:24; 29:14; 32:44; Ezek. 39:25; Zeph. 3:20). Jeremiah earlier spoke and wrote of this flow of salvation history, the organic growth as it were, continuing through many changing circumstances. The return would be looked upon as the new exodus (16:15 Cf. Ezek. 20:42; 36:24). Each new event in this salvation history becomes one that there is nothing else like it up to that time (v. 7 Cf. Lam. 1:12; Dan. 9:12; 12:1).
In the day of the LORD, when deliverance from captivity would come, the yoke, symbolized by the actual yoke that Jeremiah bore, of their bondage to foreigners, would be broken (v. 8). The deliverance had one primary purpose, to enable the people to better “serve the LORD their God” (v. 9a). Their service was, as it has always been and ever shall be, to be true image bearers for the Creator, to fulfill the original cultural or creation mandate of Genesis 1:26-31. They served as stewards of the LORD in the land of their captivity, for no outward circumstances can ever nullify this overarching mandate, but they would better fulfill their callings in a land they could call their own. However, they must surely have paused, as we must, at the words that follow, that they would not only “serve the LORD their God,” but also “David their king (v. 9b). David had been dead and buried for some time now, as was the majesty of his reign.
The king they were to serve alongside the LORD, whom the LORD would raise up, could be none other than the seed first promised in Genesis 3:15. This is the one spoken of by Isaiah when he wrote that the LORD said, “I will make an everlasting covenant with you – the sure mercies of David. Indeed I have given him as a witness to the people, a leader and commander for the people.” (55:3-4) So also Ezekiel later goes with this messianic flow, speaking of a greater than David to come (34:23). They would have one shepherd, and be faithful to the word of the LORD (37:24). As Hosea put it, this would happen “in the latter days” (3:5). It is a promise that Luke picked up on in the prophecy of Zacharias, as coming to fulfillment in the person of Jesus the Christ (1:69). In fact, it was a promise which David himself prophesied about (Acts 2:25-36). It is this promise of a seed, that continued through successive covenantal administrations, the last of the old being David (Acts 13:23).
As any serious student of the scriptures knows, the LORD God places extreme significance on the importance of names, including his own. This is why it is significant to note that in verse 10 the servant Jacob is not to fear, that he who wrestled with the pre-incarnate promised Seed and was then named Israel, was to be the head through whom the promised seed and hope would come, and for this reason they should not be dismayed, because the sovereign LORD would save them and their seed (v. 10a). It was a promise both to Jacob personally, and to the nation of Israel as a whole (v. 10b). The goal of the covenantal bond was always that the promised seed would be the promise of his presence ‘with’ them. The nations where they had been scattered would be brought to an end, as would apostates within the covenanted community, but within that church or assembly, God would save a remnant, which would include disciplining them (vv. 11-15).
God in his sovereign purposes used the nations into which the nation had been taken captive, but this was not a free pass to do as they pleased. For this reason, these nations would be the ones to be devoured and taken captive, plundered and preyed upon (v. 16). The healing of the captives would come about because their captors mocked them saying, “This is Zion; no one seeks her” (v. 17). It is because of the LORD’s mercy that they would rebuild the city and the palace as planned (v. 18). Therefore the only appropriate response to this mercy was thanksgiving and joy (v. 19a), and they would be blessed with godly seed in order to fulfill the original mandate to be fruitful and to multiply (v. 19b). It is the LORD himself who will establish his congregation or church, and included will be their nobles and political leaders, represented in the governor, who will pledge his own heart to the LORD (vv. 20-21).
All this would take place as the fulfillment of that chief covenantal purpose and promise, that they would be his people, and he their God (v. 22). These events at this stage in salvation history would come like a “whirlwind of the LORD, going forth with fury, sweeping across all the earth to “fall violently on the head of the wicked. The fierce anger of the LORD will not return until He has done it, and until He has performed the intents of His heart.” (vv. 23-24a). As with humans, so also in the anthropomorphic language used here, the heart refers to the core or heart of the covenant LORD’s sovereign purpose to have a kingdom of priests and a holy nation, working and praying that his kingdom would come, and his will done on earth as it is in heaven. Yes, our God, the biblical God, gets angry, but unlike it so often is with humans after the fall, it is not sinful. This would be the focus of the “latter days” of the old covenant administration (v. 24b).