Hope in the face of captivity – Christ in Jeremiah

November 8, 2021

By Editorial Team

Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem by Rembrandt

"For thus says the Lord, that after seventy years are accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope (NKJV)/ to give you an expected end(KJV)" Jeremiah 29:10,11

"Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah…. I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people… For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."  Jeremiah 31:31-34 (quoting few sentences)

Jeremiah was the last prophet before captivity. He had a very tough job as he had to warn the Israelites that God was going to destroy the nation and take them into captivity. Jerusalem, Temple etc everything would be destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. For about 45 years he preached his message. (630-586 B.C). His message was asking people to repent and find grace, rather than go on in their wicked self-righteous ways.

In those days, Judah was weak and the kingdom was on its last leg. Just waiting to be destroyed. People were worshipping idols, and the land was full of corruption, bribery, adultery and injustice. Church was filled with false prophets prophesying peace and pastors leading double lives, there was no righteousness in the land. But people still took pride that God will save them, just like the Christians of today. It was their imagination, not reality, Jeremiah tried to correct it, but the people didn’t pay heed. Most Christians today are like that.

But his message was one of Hope even in the face of destruction. Here I list down 5 rays of hope in very dark times.

  1. Restoration after captivity: The land was facing imminent defeat and destruction and captivity. But God gave them a message of hope, that after the Judgement and captivity God will revisit them again. (Jer 29:10,11). God is thinking thoughts of Peace and not of evil for you. He has set in motion some good events for you, for that is His will. He will regather you.
  2. Old covenant goes and New covenant promised: Old covenant was dysfunctional and over, but God promised Jeremiah that Jesus would come and establish a New Covenant with his people. Testament. Covenant, Agreement, are all the same words. This New Covenant was first given to Jeremiah circa 600 B.C. The agreement words are found in Jer 31:31-34 (quoted in Heb 8:10-13, 10:16,17). You would do well to read it over and over again and memorize it. It summarizes the New Testament. The Messiah will come and live in our midst (23:5,6) and teach us his ways, Holy Spirit will enable us to obey his commandments. Also, Jesus will forgive us our sins. Jesus said at the last supper, This is my blood of the New Covenant which is shed for many, for the forgiveness of sins. (Mat 26:28).
  3. Your food will be taken care of: Day to day living was tough, but God gave Jeremiah a promise of safety and nourishment. When food was over in the city, Jeremiah still could eat 3 meals a day because King instructed the people to feed him in the prison (37:21). Even in a war zone, God fed him!
  4. Healing: God is asking, Is there no balm in Gilead, Is there no physician there? Why then is there no recovery for the health of the daughter of my people? For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds,’ says Christ. (8:22, 30:17)!
  5. New Pastors: Congregation/Church was in a very bad state but God told him that He would give new Pastors that will actually feed the flock and take care of them. (3:15). Shepherds after his own heart, to fill us with His word and take care of us.

Every one of Jeremiah’s words came to pass. In 586 B.C, Nebuchadnezzar came and destroyed Jerusalem. Many thousands of Jews were killed, and there were corpses all around. Old and young, women and children died. Temple was destroyed totally. It was a colossal tragedy. He wrote of it in Lamentations. These two books, show us light in some of the darkest times in the lives of God’s people in the Old Testament. This is what gives me a glimmer of hope for today, that God will still intervene.

Jeremiah lived a life of incredible persecution. He was a bachelor as God asked him not to marry, he and his assistant Baruch were harassed continually, copies of his book were burnt by the king in his fireplace (36:22-25). Jeremiah was put in prison by the false preachers (20:1-2), a second time he was cast into a miry pit, sinking slowly to die. Then God sent Ebedmelech (an Ethiopian eunuch in the King’s court) who instantly rushed to the well, and pulled him up to safety using ropes made of old clothes. His own people plotted to kill him, politicians wanted to silence him. But he was still faithful to God.

Fast forward 600 years and Christ did come as Jeremiah prophesied. You are I are standing in the New Covenant promised to him. Jeremiah calls Jesus- Righteous Branch, Jehovah-Tsidkenu, The LORD- our righteousness (23:5,6, 33:15,16). The God of Jeremiah, Lord Jesus Christ is still our hope. Today may Jesus come into our situations and relieve us and tend his sheep.

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