Judgment Must Come Before Blessing Can Come

In his spiritual autobiography, William Barclay, the venerable Scottish scholar, tells the tragedy of losing his 21-year-old daughter and her fiancÚ who were drowned in a boating accident. He writes, “God did not stop that accident at sea, but he did still the s … More

Penalty

Israel’s condition was critical (vv. 12-15). Her wound appeared incurable, and no one was available to provide a remedy for her sore (v. 12). The allies in whom the nation had placed such great hope had forgotten her (vv. 13-14). Even God had struck her as an enemy and punished her because of her guilt (v. 15). Israel’s condition appeared hopeless, but God promised to reverse her misfortunes (vv. 16-17). Those who were devouring the nation would themselves be devoured by God. He would send her enemies  into exile and plunder those who sought to make spoil of her. I believe this passage refers to the restoration after the Babylonian captivity, as well as under Christ.

God’s restoration will involve a physical rebuilding (vv. 18-22). The city of Jerusalem will be rebuilt on her ruins, including the king’s palace (v. 18). This prophesy that Jerusalem would be rebuilt was not completely fulfilled by the work of Ezra, Nehemiah and Zerubbabel. The festive sound of rejoicing that had been silenced by Babylon will once again be heard in the city v. 19), and God will increase Judah numerically (cf. Deut. 30:5). The nation will be secured and established before God, and He will punish anyone who tries to oppress her (vv. 20-22)

Before God’s blessing can be experienced He must judge sin (vv. 23-24). His wrath will burst out against the wicked (v. 23). Though these words were applied to false prophets (23:19-20), Jeremiah may have been using them here to refer to God’s judgment on the wicked nations who opposed Israel (cf. 30:16-20). God’s fierce anger that had been poured out on Judah would not turn back till it also extended to the other nations of the earth (v. 24).

Application

The final restoration will occur when all believer are gathered in Christ’s kingdom. It will include building (v. 18), people (v. 19) and rulers (v. 21). I look forward to being there.

Jeremiah 30:12-24 (English Standard Version)

""For thus says the LORD: Your hurt is incurable, and your wound is grievous. There is none to uphold your cause, no medicine for your wound, no healing for you. 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. 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. 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. 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!' "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. 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. 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. 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. And you shall be my people, and I will be your God." Behold the storm of the LORD! Wrath has gone forth, a whirling tempest; it will burst upon the head of the wicked. 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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