Week 30 – Book of Jeremiah
Read: Jeremiah Chapter 30
One hundred or more years after Isaiah, Amos, Hosea, Micah give prophecy to Israel, the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom, Assyria has long conquered them, and Jeremiah, and his contemporaries, deliver a similar message to the Judah, the Southern Kingdom. Who are Jeremiah’s fellow prophets? Nahum, Huldah, Zephaniah, Habakkuk, Ezekiel, and Daniel all make their homes in Judah.
Nahum’s prophecy about Nineveh, the capital city of Assyria, comes a hundred years after Jonah proclaims God’s message there. True to Nahum’s predictions, the city falls to the Babylonians in 612 BC, making Babylon the greatest power. Huldah, a prophetess, is called on by King Josiah when the scroll of the Law is found in the Temple. She is one of seven women prophets in the Old Testament.
Zephaniah is a prophet during Josiah’s reign and the spiritual renewal of this time. Zephaniah, the son of Cushi, gives insight into his ethnic background, which is African or Ethiopian descent. Most scholars consider Zephaniah a black prophet. Also, he identifies himself as the great-great-grandson of King Hezekiah, which places him in the lineage of Jesus Christ, the genealogy of Jesus lists King Hezekiah. Hezekiah is the father of Manasseh, the most wicked king of Judah. Zephaniah has a royal lineage. “Zephaniah more than likely prophesied in the latter part of Josiah’s rule, after the king discovered the scrolls of the Law in 622 BC (2 Chronicles 34:3–7).”
Habakkuk asks a lot of questions trying to understand why God. He struggles with good and evil, wrestles with how God could destroy Judah. Little is known about Habakkuk’s background, but his writings openly acknowledge the injustices of the day, question how God allows this. Through prayer he comes to understand that somethings are beyond our understanding, and God’s goodness is certain. Habakkuk becomes a person who leads other by walking in faith.
Ezekiel is an eighteen-year-old when his friend Daniel is taken to Babylon with the first exiles in 609 BC. Training to be a priest, Ezekiel is taken to Babylon in 597 BC with the second group of exiles. Ezekiel, like Daniel, find their voice and present their messages to the Jews in captivity. Likely both have been influenced by Jeremiah.
Here is the Big Picture, the “glory of the drawing of a new day” that Jeremiah paints for the Hebrew people in captivity. Chapters 30-33 are often referred to as “The Book of Consolation”. Jeremiah’s first directive from God is in the opening of Chapter 30, “Write in a book for yourself all the words that I have spoken.” (v2) Recording God’s words for His people will make a “permanent record of the promises God was giving to His people.” Preserving the message for generations to come will exceed the oral traditions. Papyrus scrolls of up to twenty pages and fifteen feet long would the format. “The transition from oral to written prophecy prompts a whole new perspective on the mind and will of God.”
“The theme of the restoration of Israel will be the dominate topic of the book of consolation.” The words that follow describe a time of pain, a time when no peace can be found. “In that day” (v 8) suggests a future time, after the seventy years of captivity. God will restore His people to the land He has given them, breaking the “yoke from your neck” of the Gentile captivity. Commentaries for these verses suggest a distant future time. This prophecy includes both Israel and Judah (all the tribes). Israel (Jacob’s descendants) will serve Yahweh, and a new king David, a “righteous branch” (Jeremiah 23:5), a new king “whom I will raise up for them.” (V9) Messianic prophecy begins to emerge. “For I am with you,” says the LORD.
God’s covenant people will have the promise of peace and security. God promises to redeem them, to return them to their land. Their wound “is incurable” and “severe”. They have suffered for a “multitude” of “iniquities”. “The LORD reminds the Jews that He was the one who had used other nations to wound them because of their disobedience to Him.” But in this section we see redemption and restoration. God will “devour all the adversaries”, and put them into captivity. “For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds.” (v17)
Returning to the land, to Jerusalem, rebuilding and renewal will come. God promises, “I will punish all who oppress” them. (v20) “ This verse  refers to the restoration after the Babylonian captivity as well as to the final restoration under Christ”.  The “whirlwind” of verse 23 is an assault on the Babylonians. Israel will experience joy again, multiply their descendants, find new leadership and a renewal of faith. “You shall be My people, and I will be your God.”
The chapter ends with a reference to Genesis 40:1, an oral tradition passed down since the time of Jacob. Jacob calls his sons together, part of his last will and testament, and says, “Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days.” For centuries, the Hebrew people have gathered and shared their history and a hope. God continues to lay the foundation for the Messiah. “In the latter days you will consider it.” How often do we all see more clearly, understand more thoroughly, appreciate more deeply when time gives us some room to reflect. These recorded words will continue tell God’s story to the future generations of Israel, and even to us.
“One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD and to meditate in His temple.” Psalm 27:4 ESV
Just before Jesus ascends to heaven, He instructs the disciples to tell the story of Good News to all people. His final words of encouragement: And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age. In Scripture in the New Testament, the last days refers to the time between Christ’s return to heaven after the resurrection and His second return to earth. The last days are now! The promise remains true; Jehovah Shammah, the LORD is there, dwells with us. God’s presence with His people is certain.
Scripture tells us that in the last days Jesus is mocked and questioned. Arrogance attempts to diminish the power of God, to discredit His role in creation, and to dismiss His promise of judgment. People choose other gods to worship. With humility, His faithful followers must earnestly continue to be about the work God calls us to do.
LORD, Creator and Promise Keeper, Your grace falls gently in the middle of these harsh last days. Forgive those who deny You and give them a reason to hope. I long to dwell in Your Presence all the days of my life. Here I see the beauty of Extravagant Love and know the unexplainable joy of Living Hope. As I eagerly anticipate what You will do next, help me tell Your story of Grace! Count me alive in Christ. Moment by moment, Jehovah Shammah, You are here!
In the last words of Jeremiah Chapter 30, we read “In the latter days, you will understand this.” We do not always understand the present times, and even parts of the future are unclear and beyond our understanding.
- What do these words say to you? Is it just a centuries old equivalent to “hindsight is 20/20”? Or, does it suggest our understanding will be whole when Christ returns, when the end of time opens the mind to complete understanding?
- How do you deal with the uncertainties and unknowns in life?
 Insight.org/resources/bible/the-minor-prophets/Zephaniah; Swindoll, Charles
 Wiersbe Study Bible, Jeremiah Chapter 30
 Interpretation Bible Studies, Jeremiah; Laha, Robert, p 7
 Walking the Ancient Paths, A Commentary on Jeremiah; Kaiser, Walter C, p339
 Wiersbe Study Bible Jeremiah Chapter 30
 Chronological Study Bible, Jeremiah Chapter 30