Nevertheless

Psalm 74:12-17

You, O God, are my king from ages past,
    bringing salvation to the earth.
13 You split the sea by your strength
    and smashed the heads of the sea monsters.
14 You crushed the heads of Leviathan
    and let the desert animals eat him.
15 You caused the springs and streams to gush forth,
    and you dried up rivers that never run dry.
16 Both day and night belong to you;
    you made the starlight and the sun.
17 You set the boundaries of the earth,
    and you made both summer and winter.

Jeremiah 33:6-22

“Nevertheless, the time will come when I will heal Jerusalem’s wounds and give it prosperity and true peace. I will restore the fortunes of Judah and Israel and rebuild their towns. I will cleanse them of their sins against me and forgive all their sins of rebellion. Then this city will bring me joy, glory, and honor before all the nations of the earth! The people of the world will see all the good I do for my people, and they will tremble with awe at the peace and prosperity I provide for them.

10 “This is what the Lord says: You have said, ‘This is a desolate land where people and animals have all disappeared.’ Yet in the empty streets of Jerusalem and Judah’s other towns, there will be heard once more 11 the sounds of joy and laughter. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will be heard again, along with the joyous songs of people bringing thanksgiving offerings to the Lord. They will sing,

‘Give thanks to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
    for the Lord is good.
    His faithful love endures forever!’

For I will restore the prosperity of this land to what it was in the past, says the Lord.

12 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: This land—though it is now desolate and has no people and animals—will once more have pastures where shepherds can lead their flocks. 13 Once again shepherds will count their flocks in the towns of the hill country, the foothills of Judah, the Negev, the land of Benjamin, the vicinity of Jerusalem, and all the towns of Judah. I, the Lord, have spoken!

14 “The day will come, says the Lord, when I will do for Israel and Judah all the good things I have promised them.

15 “In those days and at that time
    I will raise up a righteous descendant from King David’s line.
    He will do what is just and right throughout the land.
16 In that day Judah will be saved,
    and Jerusalem will live in safety.
And this will be its name:
    ‘The Lord Is Our Righteousness.’

17 For this is what the Lord says: David will have a descendant sitting on the throne of Israel forever. 18 And there will always be Levitical priests to offer burnt offerings and grain offerings and sacrifices to me.”

19 Then this message came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 20 “This is what the Lord says: If you can break my covenant with the day and the night so that one does not follow the other, 21 only then will my covenant with my servant David be broken. Only then will he no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne. The same is true for my covenant with the Levitical priests who minister before me.22 And as the stars of the sky cannot be counted and the sand on the seashore cannot be measured, so I will multiply the descendants of my servant David and the Levites who minister before me.”

Reflection

Though David and Solomon, and many who came after, were considered righteous kings, the progressing line of Israel’s rulers was marked by division, betrayal and unrepented sin. Jeremiah’s writings are weighted both with the awe of a wondrous and loving God, but also with the impending woe of a nation abandoned to its consequences. As foretold by Jeremiah and other prophets, the Israelites are eventually overthrown and taken as captive exiles to Babylon.

In the midst of Jeremiah’s warnings of the tragedy about to unfold, sections of astonishing victory, redemption and triumph emerge. At this terrible moment of divine justice God’s hope is yet alive. We are shown the promise of the redemption to come beyond the struggle – a glimpse of a God who is both perfectly righteous and perfectly gracious. These portions tell of a return to the homeland, of a coming day of restoration and mercy. Jeremiah is articulating both the eventual return of the exiles to Jerusalem, and also the ultimate redemption in the form of the Messiah, who will restore not only his own people but all the nations of the world.

This is the ultimate plan of God’s redemption. Not the gold and silver, land and vineyards, cities and towns that were lost, but the saving grace of a loving Son becoming the sacrifice for a fallen world. Jesus is the “righteous descendent of King David’s line” who will bring truth and justice to his people. In this promise God reinforces the ultimate faithfulness of his covenant by comparing it to the progression of night and day, the foundational, unshakable creative moment of the birthing of our universe, set in motion thousands of years before. Again he restates his promise given to Abraham generations earlier, of the uncountable multitude of descendants, as numerous as the stars. He is the God of the promise.

Prayer:

 There is no situation beyond the redemption of God. No heart too hard, no sin too great, no burden too heavy. Just as God’s promises to the Israelites prove true again and again, so his promises to you will never fail.

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