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The Book of Hope, Chapter 1 - Jeremiah 30

The promise of the coming and eternal King

Jeremiah 6:16-17, 23:5, 30:1-24; Hosea 3:5; Ezekiel 34:23, 37:24; Isaiah 55:3-4; Luke 1:67-70; Acts 13:13-39.

May 05, 2013 12:00 PM

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I invite you to turn with me to the 30th chapter of Jeremiah.  Chapters 30 through 33 of Jeremiah have been referred to as “The Book of Hope”.  For 29 chapters there has been precious little of that.  So these next few weeks should prove to be very encouraging, uplifting, and even joyful as we work our way through God’s promises to His people of a better day to come and a brighter future for the people of Israel and for us.  Let’s read the word of God together.

1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2 "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Write in a book all the words that I have spoken to you. 3 For behold, days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel and Judah, says the LORD, and I will bring them back to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall take possession of it."

4 These are the words that the LORD spoke concerning Israel and Judah:

5 "Thus says the LORD: We have heard a cry of panic, of terror, and no peace. 6 Ask now, and see, can a man bear a child?  Why then do I see every man with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor? Why has every face turned pale? 7 Alas!  That day is so great there is none like it; it is a time of distress for Jacob; yet he shall be saved out of it.

8 "And it shall come to pass in that day, declares the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off your neck, and I will burst your bonds, and foreigners shall no more make a servant of him. 9 But they shall serve the LORD their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.

10 "Then fear not, O Jacob my servant, declares the LORD, nor be dismayed, O Israel; for behold, I will save you from far away, and your offspring from the land of their captivity.  Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease, and none shall make him afraid. 11 For I am with you to save you, declares the LORD; I will make a full end of all the nations among whom I scattered you, but of you I will not make a full end.  I will discipline you in just measure, and I will by no means leave you unpunished.

12 "For thus says the LORD: Your hurt is incurable, and your wound is grievous. 13 There is none to uphold your cause, no medicine for your wound, no healing for you. 14 All your lovers have forgotten you; they care nothing for you; for I have dealt you the blow of an enemy, the punishment of a merciless foe, because your guilt is great, because your sins are flagrant. 15 Why do you cry out over your hurt?  Your pain is incurable. Because your guilt is great, because your sins are flagrant, I have done these things to you. 16 Therefore all who devour you shall be devoured, and all your foes, every one of them, shall go into captivity; those who plunder you shall be plundered, and all who prey on you I will make a prey. 17 For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, declares the LORD, because they have called you an outcast: 'It is Zion, for whom no one cares!'

18 "Thus says the LORD: Behold, I will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob and have compassion on his dwellings; the city shall be rebuilt on its mound, and the palace shall stand where it used to be. 19 Out of them shall come songs of thanksgiving, and the voices of those who celebrate.  I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will make them honored, and they shall not be small. 20 Their children shall be as they were of old, and their congregation shall be established before me, and I will punish all who oppress them. 21 Their prince shall be one of themselves; their ruler shall come out from their midst; I will make him draw near, and he shall approach me, for who would dare of himself to approach me? declares the LORD. 22 And you shall be my people, and I will be your God."

23 Behold the storm of the LORD!  Wrath has gone forth, a whirling tempest; it will burst upon the head of the wicked. 24 The fierce anger of the LORD will not turn back until he has executed and accomplished the intentions of his mind.  In the latter days you will understand this.

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1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2 "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Write in a book all the words that I have spoken to you. 3 For behold, days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel and Judah, says the LORD, and I will bring them back to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall take possession of it."

The introductory verses, verses 1 & 2, are different from previous encounters which Jeremiah has had with the LORD.  Here Jeremiah isn’t being told by the Lord to go and speak to the king or the priests or the false prophets.  He says, “Jeremiah, write this down.  Write these things in a book.”  What is the reason for this?  Verse 3--“It is for My people Israel and Judah when I bring them back to the Promised Land.”

The day is coming when all the exiles will return, both the people of Israel who have been scattered for nearly 100 years, and the people of Judah.  And as we read in chapter 29, this return to Jerusalem will take place after the exiles have been in Babylon for 70 years.

So Jeremiah is to write about their return 70 years BEFORE it happens.  Apparently he was to make this word of prophecy available is in the form of a book, or more likely a scroll, to the people in Babylon.  That way the current generation would have hope for the future, and the future generation in Babylon would know it is the LORD who would set them free.  Daniel would eventually read Jeremiah’s prophecies in Babylon.  How kind is God to have Jeremiah write these things down, this “Book of Hope”!  Even in their exile, there is hope.

5 "Thus says the LORD: We have heard a cry of panic, of terror, and no peace. 6 Ask now, and see, can a man bear a child?  Why then do I see every man with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor?  Why has every face turned pale? 7 Alas!  That day is so great there is none like it; it is a time of distress for Jacob; yet he shall be saved out of it.

And these are the “good figs” that have been taken away into slavery.  Their men are so panic-stricken they are in the agonies of childbirth.  Their faces are ashen.  Literally “green”.  Just imagine in your own life some event that caused you to be very afraid.  Most of us have had some experience that frightened us greatly.  Maybe you’ve had an occasion when your life was being threatened.  Or there was someone who intended to cause you serious bodily harm.  Multiply the fear of that experience by ten.  Now apply that fear to your husband.  Or your dad.  Or your grandfather.  Then distribute that kind of fear among all the people of your neighborhood.  Then pass it along to the police and the National Guard.  Finally apply it to the President.

Imagine an entire nation utterly terrified of the enemy at the gates of their cities.  That is what this time of distress for Jacob is like.  That day is so great (so terrible) there is none like it. This sounds like classic Jeremiah.  This is in keeping with pretty much everything we’ve heard for 29 chapters.  It is about their impending doom!  Their captivity!  This is the end of life as they have known it, the end of their world.  But that’s not the end of the verse.  Look at verse 7 - Yet he shall be saved out of it. There is a future and a hope for the exiles!  Here we come to what may be the most important verse in the chapter.

8 "And it shall come to pass in that day, declares the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off your neck, and I will burst your bonds, and foreigners shall no more make a servant of him. 9 But they shall serve the LORD their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.

In that future day of rescue, of salvation out of their captivity, God Himself will break the yoke which He placed upon the necks of the people of Judah.  Nebuchadnezzar’s chains of slavery will be removed from God’s people.  They will not serve the king of Babylon any longer.  God will save them from slavery to Babylon in order to serve the LORD their God and David their King.

That is an extremely compelling statement which I want to break down into several parts.  First --“. . . they shall serve the LORD their God”. That is a welcome statement! This will be a changed people at the end of their captivity.  The reason they will have spent 70 years in Babylon is found in verses 14 and 15:

Because your guilt is great, because your sins are flagrant, I have done these things to you. (V15)

They are in babylon because of their stubborn refusal to serve the LORD.  Back in chapter 6 we read these words:

16 Thus says the LORD: "Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, 'We will not walk in it.' 17 I set watchmen over you, saying, 'Pay attention to the sound of the trumpet!' But they said, 'We will not pay attention.'

But after they have been in detention, things will change.  Babylon has gotten their attention and after they spend seven decades there--“. . . they shall serve the LORD their God”.  There will be a miraculous change of heart in the next generation of exiles.

Secondly -- But they shall serve the LORD their God and David their king. The way this is worded, what is implied is that service to David is equivalent to serving the LORD.  Service to David appears to be tantamount to the worship of the LORD.

Thirdly, Jeremiah says they will serve David their king.  Of course, King David has been dead for hundreds of years.  They are not going to serve him!  What does this mean?  How will the exiles serve David their king when they return to Jerusalem?

It could mean a descendant of David would eventually rise to power and sit upon a re-established throne in Jerusalem and the exiles would submit to his rule.  But that never happened.  There has been no king at all in Judah since the fall of Zedekiah, and no throne.  And God obviously didn’t raise David from the dead.

So what did God mean when He said in verse 9, “But they [the exiles] shall serve the LORD their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them”?

It is not entirely true that there has never been a king in Israel since King Zedekiah.  There was a King in Jerusalem, a descendant of David.  He was even recognized by many as a son of David, and consequently of the kingly line.  HE was even recognized by some as THE Son of David.  But He was crucified.

So God raised Him up!

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. (Jeremiah 23:5)

Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king, and they shall come in fear to the Lord and to his goodness in the latter days. (Hosea 3:5)

“My servant David shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd.  They shall walk in my rules and be careful to obey my statutes. (Ezekiel 37:24)

And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. (Ezekiel 34:23)

Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live;

and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. (Isaiah 55:3-4)

67 And his [John’s] father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying, 68 "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people 69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, 70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, 71 that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us; 72 to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, 73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us 74 that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, 75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. (Luke 1:67-70)

Acts 13:13 Now Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia.  And John left them and returned to Jerusalem, 14 but they went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia.  And on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down. 15 After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent a message to them, saying, "Brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for the people, say it." 16 So Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said:

"Men of Israel and you who fear God, listen. 17 The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with uplifted arm he led them out of it. 18 And for about forty years he put up with them in the wilderness. 19 And after destroying seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance. 20 All this took about 450 years.  And after that he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet.

21 Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. 22 And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, 'I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.'

23 Of this man's offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised. 24 Before his coming, John had proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25 And as John was finishing his course, he said, 'What do you suppose that I am?  I am not he [the promised one].  No, but behold, after me one is coming, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.'

26 "Brothers, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to us has been sent the message of this salvation. 27 For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him. 28 And though they found in him no guilt worthy of death, they asked Pilate to have him executed. 29 And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb.

30 But God raised him from the dead, 31 and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people. 32 And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, 33 this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, "'You are my Son, today I have begotten you.' 34 And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way, "'I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.' 35 Therefore he says also in another psalm, "'You will not let your Holy One see corruption.' 36 For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, 37 but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. 38 Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39 and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. (Acts 13:13-39)

The language Paul uses here is very similar to the words of Jeremiah!  I submit to you that what God has done in raising Jesus from the dead, is the literal fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy:

“But they shall serve the LORD their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.”

God raised Jesus from the dead as the direct descendant of David in order that He might be the legitimate and eternal King of the Jews and of the Israel of God.  Jesus is the literal fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy.  And of Isaiah’s, and Ezekiel’s and Hosea’s--and all the prophets.

In the ESV, Jesus is referred to at least 14 times as the son or the descendant of David.  The Old Testament, and in Jeremiah in particular, the coming Savior is spoken of as David, meaning his descendant.  He is not only the anointed Savior but also the anointed King.  And in Jeremiah 30, it may be that God intimates He will raise a future descendant of David from the dead to be the Savior of Israel, the King of His people, and He will be worshipped as God.  I believe that is what Jeremiah is saying in verses 8 and 9.


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