What an encouraging passage! One Israel definitely needed!
Jeremiah had watched his nation disintegrating morally and his many warnings had been ignored. Now Israel was facing more and more problems with threats and destruction from military attacks.
And it’s from this difficult place that God speaks and makes some incredible promises to His people.
V1-2 – Reaffirming Identity
God shows how much He loves His people by promising that He will be their God and they will be His people. He reminds them who they are – they are His children! And that is who we are too. We must never forget who our God is and who we are in Him. So many promises in the Bible are about our identity – who we really are. Why not have a look for yourself and find out how God sees you?
V3-4 – Love
God reminds them of how much He has loved them in the past, but His love is an everlasting love – it hasn’t stopped! He has drawn them in with unfailing kindness and will do so again.
God showed the ultimate act of love in sending Jesus to take the punishment we deserved and instead restore us by His grace, blessing us with so much that we don’t deserve!
V5-14 – Joy
God promises to bring joy where there is difficulty and hardship as His people return to Him. We can know God’s joy even in the midst of the most difficult and tragic of circumstances because our joy isn’t dependent on what is happening in our lives, but on who God is and whether He is our focus and priority. God gives us so many reasons to be joyful and thankful, from the small things like getting an appointment we needed or bigger breakthroughs in situations. If we look at what God is doing we will always find something to be grateful for which in turn will lead us into His joy.
V15-20, 27, 28, 34 – Restoration and Forgiveness
God knows everything. He also knows how far Israel has fallen from Him – yet the amazing thing is that He still makes such amazing promises and expresses such love for His people! If they will turn back to Him and away from the sinful things they have been doing God promises that He will completely restore them. V20 says ‘my heart yearns for him [Israel]; I have great compassion for him’.
God wants all people to come to Him. He longs for each and every person to know Him. So nothing we have done ever pushes us too far from God; we can always come back to Him and He will welcome us with his loving arms outstretched. He is and will always be our Heavenly Father, should we choose to accept His invitation.
V31-37 – Hope
In the midst of such difficulty, God is giving His people hope. Hope that things will get better. Hope that exiles will return. Hope in knowing that all that He promised is true and always will be true. God is helping His people to not get consumed by despair in their circumstances, but to look to Him for hope. I remember a time I felt God say “look to me, keep focused on me and not the situation” and a few days after that I really needed that hope in the difficult circumstance I found myself in. But it was the hope I found in God because I focused on Him and not what was going on around me that saved me from despair and helped me to grow in my trust for Him rather than pull me away from God.
What amazing things God promised His people. And He still makes those promises to us today – promises that reaffirm our identities and remind us of His love, joy, hope and forgiveness.
This year has not been what anyone expected and has brought challenges and difficulties to all of us in some way (even if it is just to have to queue to get your shopping!) but how great to know that no matter what is going on God’s promises are true and they stand forever. He doesn’t change even when our lives are turned upside down. We can cling to our loving Heavenly Father; our sure, certain and constant hope.