Summary: Jeremiah prophesies about the coming Messiah to a people facing intense suffering.
The prophet Jeremiah had been imprisoned by King Zedekiah (v. 1). The armies of Babylon, were advancing on Jerusalem. The streets of Jerusalem would soon be filled with the corpses of her people (vs. 4-5).
Jeremiah's prophecies of judgment that put him in prison, were coming true. Yet, in the midst of catastrophe, Jeremiah spoke words of hope. He spoke of a restoration, which included the line of king David.
A tragedy of the Babylonian Exile was the end of the Davidic dynasty. For nearly 400 years, descendants of David had occupied the throne of Judah. God promised David's house and kingdom would endure before Him forever (2 Samuel 7:16). But the Babylonians would destroy David's city, burn Solomon's temple, and take David's heirs into exile.
So, to a people soon to be devastated by loss, Jeremiah's prophecy offered hope. God was still faithful. The house of David might be cut down, but God can bring life out of death. A branch would sprout. God would send the Messiah. (READ TEXT)
This passage teaches some important lessons for us to make note of as the people of God today. Because there will be times in our lives when we will be tempted to believe that God has forgotten and forsaken us.
In this prophecy, the Lord was seeking to remind the people of three important truths. Truths that we need to be reminded of as well.
1. God will fulfill His purposes and promises - v. 14
As already mentioned, God had promised David's kingdom would endure forever and David's throne would be established forever.
"Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever." - 2 Samuel 7:16 (NIV)
With what was happening, it seemed God had forgotten His promise. In fact, this was the accusation leveled by the surrounding nations.
But God reminded them that He keeps His promises to His people.
"Have you noticed what people are saying? - 'The LORD chose Judah and Israel and then abandoned them!' They are sneering and saying that Israel is not worthy to be counted as a nation. But this is what the LORD says: I would no more reject my people than I would change my laws that govern night and day, earth and sky." - Jeremiah 33:24-25 (NLT)
According to Scripture, there are 4 basic reasons God's people suffer:
A. We suffer because of our foolish choices (Galatians 6:7-9).
B. We suffer because this is a fallen world (John 16:33).
C. We suffer when our faith is tested (2 Timothy 3:12).
D. We suffer when under the Father's discipline (Hebrews 12:6).
Now, this last reason was the reason for the suffering of the people of God in Jeremiah's day. But in the midst of their suffering, God spoke His word of instruction, correction and gave them His promise that He was not through with His people. As they claimed God's promise, they would be in a position to have peace and not lose heart.
God had not forgotten His promise, nor His people. He was allowing them to be taken into captivity, for during this time of captivity, He would continue to work in the lives of His people to prepare them to one day return to the land of promise, where, when the time was right, He would fulfill His promise concerning a descendant of David reigning forever through the coming of our Savior, the Lord Jesus. This was made clear in what the angel said to Mary:
"You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!" - Luke 1:31-33 (NLT)
"The Bible is full of God’s promises to provide for us spiritually and materially, to never forsake us, to give us peace in times of difficult circumstances, to cause all circumstances to work together for our good, and finally to bring us safely home to glory. Not one of those promises is dependent upon our performance. They are all dependent on the grace of God given to us through Jesus Christ." - Jerry Bridges
Whatever the reason for the suffering we might encounter in life, we can get through those difficult days, sustained by God's peace and
presence; and learn what God wants to teach us through them if we will cling to the promises He gives us.
Adoniram Judson, the famed missionary to Burma, spent long, tiresome years translating the Bible for that people group. He served in Burma for 6 years before seeing his first convert. He was once put into prison because of his work, and while there his wife died. After being released, he contracted a serious disease that sapped what little energy he had left. He served in Burma for 38 years before he died. He experienced much suffering. But what sustained him? Perhaps this one quote attributed to him answers the question: "The future is as bright as the promises of God."