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Looking Forward to The Lord’s Return

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In one of Calvin & Hobbes cartoons they were lying in the shade of a tree on a summer afternoon discussing the important things of life. Calvin says, “What if there is no heaven? What if this is all we get?” Hobbes answers, “Well, if this is all we get I … More

Restoration

Jeremiah summarized the unrighteous kings as being like shepherds who were destroying and scattering God’s sheep (v. 1). The shepherds deserved punishment because of the evil they had done (v.  2). But if God removed them, whom would He appoint to regather His sheep? Jeremiah gave a twofold answer. First, God Himself would gather the remnant of the people who were dispersed and would bring them back (v. 3). He would assume responsibility for Israel’s re-gathering. Second, God would raise up new shepherds over them who would tend and care for the people the way God intended (v. 4).

The branch of David through Jehoiachin had been “cut off.” However, God promised to raise up to David another King who would be a righteous Branch, that is, another member of the Davidic line (v. 5). Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of this prediction. The Southern Kingdom (Judah) and the Northern Kingdom (Israel) will again be reunited as a single nation and will live in safety (v. 6) (Ezek. 37:15-28). Unlike Zedekiah, this coming King will live up to His name as Israel’s righteous God.

Having already mentioned the future restoration of Judah and Israel (v. 6), Jeremiah now said the restoration will be so dramatic that the people will no longer look back to the time when God brought them up out of Egypt (v. 7). The first Exodus will be minor in comparison with this new Exodus when God will bring the descendants of Israel out of all the countries where they have been and will restore them to their own land (v. 8).

Application

The Lord’s return may be very near. I want to be ready and anticipating his coming as I would be looking forward to someone coming to visit who is very dear to me.

Jeremiah 23:1-8 (English Standard Version)

"Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!" declares the LORD. Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: "You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds, declares the LORD. Then I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the LORD. "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. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: 'The LORD is our righteousness.' "Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when they shall no longer say, 'As the LORD lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt,' but 'As the LORD lives who brought up and led the offspring of the house of Israel out of the north country and out of all the countries where he had driven them.' Then they shall dwell in their own land."

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