Reading through the Bible together
The prophet Jeremiah again receives the Word of the Lord. It was almost time for restoration to take place. The prophet is instructed to “write in a book all the words” that the Lord had spoken to him (v. 2). It is interesting to note that as he writes this section from chapter 30-33 he uses a poetic structure more extensively. The significance of this bursting into poetry is the expression of joy because this is a section of hope.
Beginning with chapter 30, Jeremiah foretells the restoration of Judah. The people are in a state of panic. This is described by using a metaphor of a woman in labor (vs. 5-6). The concern of God’s people regarding God’s use of the Babylonians to punish them is addressed indirectly in this section, “therefore all those who devour you shall be devoured; and all your adversaries, everyone of them, shall go into captivity; those who plunder you shall become plunder, and all those who prey upon you I will make a prey” (v. 16).
There is a question that we can ask: Why did God allow ungodly nations to exploit His people? Why does God allow evil to go on and evil doers to prosper? In giving hope to His people God gives them the assurance that justice will be served. The nation that is an agent of God’s judgment will also be subjected to the same judgment. These promises of restoration of God’s people and of judgment on God’s enemies are also bringing up the theme of the covenant: “You shall be My people and I will be your God” (v. 22) which is discussed more elaborately in Jeremiah 31.
This restoration is not only material, political or national, it also is a restoration of a covenant relationship between God and His people. In doing health ministry we restore physical health; in feeding the poor we take care of material needs; in seeking justice in a politically unjust environment we uphold the ideals of God’s Word. All these efforts are good and are to be commented, but they are insignificant until we also are aware of the core of the problem, which is a broken relationship with the Creator. This spiritual aspect should be part of every activity in the church, and of individual members who must have the same goal for themselves.
“Dear Lord, please help me to remember in all that I do, that the primary focus of my life should be my relationship with You. Amen.”
Assoc. Professor and E.G.White Research Center DirectorHelderberg College, South Africa