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23rd June

Jeremiah 30-32; Psalm 19

Bible in a Year
7 minutes
In this article
23rd June

Jeremiah 30-32; Psalm 19

Bible in a Year
7 minutes


So far in Jeremiah we’ve started the book, looking at Jeremiah’s calling and accusation against Judah. The book of Jeremiah is a collection of messages and poems by the prophet Jeremiah, who was a prophet to Judah immediately before their exile. We read as God called Jeremiah to be his mouth pieces to Judah to weed out corruption and idolatry in Judah. The people would not listen to him, but his teachings would serve as a foundation for the people after they’d been exiled.

Jeremiah then started off focus on the people’s relationship with God. God had been the one who led them out of Egypt, but they quickly forgot that. The Israelites instead chose to worship other gods, essentially committing adultery against God. The same thing happened when the nation split into the two kingdoms; Israel in the north and Judah in the south. God pointed out that Deuteronomy made it clear if a man divorces his wife and she goes off with another man, she can’t then return to her first husband.  In the same way, God couldn't take Israel back after all they had done.

We read as Jeremiah tried to lead the people to repentance, but they would not listen. He grieved the destruction he knew was coming to Judah, likening it to decreation. Returning the land to its state before God created it. Again, Jeremiah called the people to repent, but God tells Jeremiah not to pray for them. Their opportunity to change has gone. The era of wise men is gone. It's time for the women who mourn to lead.

We saw the first few cracks for Jeremiah. He was being persecuted and sometimes it looked like wicked people are flourishing. God encouraged Jeremiah that punishment was coming. We read as Jeremiah wrestled with his job. He tried to intercede for the people again, but God told him not to. Instead, Jeremiah has to settle with being hated and mocked by the people.

As Babylon came and started taking some people into exile, God warned them that they would be in exile for seventy years. Then he would punish Babylon for its wickedness along with the other nations. Jumping back in time, we read of how, before Babylon came the first time, Jeremiah was preaching in the temple a message of repentance, warning that if the people didn't repent, the temple would be destroyed. The priests came out and want to have him killed. Some royal officials came down, heard Jeremiah's testimony, and declared him innocent. The people back down and, instead, a prophet named Uriah is killed.

Jeremiah 30-32

God gives Jeremiah a new message to write down. One of reconciliation and restoration of the northern kingdom of Israel that had been taken into exile many years before, and the southern kingdom of Judah. Both Israel and Judah have suffered. They're like if a man went into labour. All the pain with none of the hope of a new life being born. God declares he will eventually break the yoke over them both. This doesn't support Hananiah’s prophecies, who was trying to declare God would do it in their lifetime.

Jeremiah's use of the name Jacob is to refer to both Israel and Judah together. God will restore them to their land and continue to discipline them and correct them so they might live rightly. God reminds them that this has happened because of the people's wickedness. Their wound of wickedness could not be healed. It led them to turn to foreign nations for help, but now those foreign have turned their back on them. The guilt and the sin of God's people were so great, and God is the one that has punished them like this.

But God will eventually punish these foreign nations who have hurt his people, and will restore and heal his people. He will bring them back to their land and he will help them rebuild their city, Jerusalem, from its rubble. Then he will bless them and multiply them, so that they flourish with many young children, and many that live to old age. But this will only happen after God's wrath has blown its course. He doesn't want his people to lose sight of the fact that they are being punished, and that will continue until the seventy years of exile is up.

God then comes back to the assurance of hope. Once God's wrath has blown its course, he will once again be their God and they will once again be his people. God sees the people of Israel, dispersed and far away from their homeland. But even though they are far away, God still loves them. He will once again restore them. He will build them back up and give them a reason to sing and dance.

Like a vineyard he will plant them a fresh, so they might bear good fruit. God will lead his people back from the nations. There will be weeping as the people repent and leave these places where they have been oppressed. But he will straighten their paths and be their father. And as he leads them back, God will turn their mourning into gladness. There will be singing and dancing with joy. There will be a fresh abundance for them, of wine and oil and grain. No longer will they be poor and marginalised. They will be with God and live out of his abundance.

God then doubles down on this message. Yes, there has been weeping and mourning, when it looked like God's people were going to be wiped out, and that this was the last generation. But God declares that there is still a hope for the future. He has heard the mourning of his people. He has heard them repent and turn back to him. In return, his heart yearns for them. So God will lead them back and will bless them. Just as he has been watching over them to punish and pull out their wickedness, he is now watching over them to support and nourish them.

God then declares that he will make a new covenant, a new agreement, with his people. This won't be like the old covenant that God made with the people when he brought them out of Egypt. That covenant was a collection of laws that managed how the people behaved so that they would live rightly. This new covenant will be written on their hearts. Rather than it being an external law that manages them from the outside, this will be a transformation of their hearts so that they desire to live rightly.

Then there will come a time where no one needs to teach someone else about God because everyone will know God, and everyone will be living as they should. God declares that if it ever happens that the order of the universe falls apart, or if someone could ever measure heaven or the foundations of the earth, then he would abandon his people. This seems like an odd thing to say, but the meaning is, just as these things will never happen, God will never abandon his people.

Later on, while Babylon was sieging Jerusalem, Jeremiah was kept under watch. King Zedekiah was angry at Jeremiah for prophesying Babylon’s successful attack on Jerusalem, and so placed him under guard just in case he tried anything. While this was happening, God spoke to Jeremiah to tell him that his cousin was going to offer Jeremiah his field to buy, and that he should buy it. Not long after, Jeremiah's cousin comes to him to offer his field for sale, and Jeremiah buys it.

God then tells Jeremiah to put the deeds in an earthenware jar and hide the jar away. But let's take a moment to think about this. What's the point in buying land when Babylon are just about to conquer that land? Jeremiah clearly has this exact thought. He prays to God, initially, declaring all the good things that God has done up until this point. He then points out even though Babylon is literally sieging as he speaks, God still asked him to buy this field. The unspoken question is "why? Why God have you made me do this stupid thing?"

God responds by pointing out that nothing is too hard for him. He reminds Jeremiah that he was the one that sent that Babylonians because of Judah's wickedness. So he is sending his people into captivity. But he will one day bring them back. He will restore them and they will once again be his people, and he their God. The people will be given new hearts, and they will be faithful to God. And so Jeremiah buying this field is an act of trust. Trust that God will one day bring his people back and this field will be used.

Psalm 19

This psalm is attributed to king David and falls into the category of wisdom psalm. These psalms focus primarily on sharing wisdom with the reader and often preference the Torah or God’s law (the scriptures).

Psalm 19:1-2 - Nature declares God’s glory

Psalm 19:7-11 - Scripture declares God’s goodness

Psalm 19:12-14 - The psalmist ponders how their life declares God’s praise

The psalmist opens with a powerful truth. All creation declares God’s glory. It is constantly calling out as an example of his handiwork.

While this creation may not have words to speak, its message is clear. There is a creator, God. Perhaps the pinnacle of God’s creation is the sun, as it provides life and light to all.

As the psalmist moves into the next section of the psalm, they focus on God’s law. The scriptures. While the first half of the psalm talks about God (el), the second half uses God’s name Yahweh (often translated as LORD). Nature declares that there is a god, but scripture tells you his name and his nature.

And so the psalmist goes on to list all the characteristics of God’s law;

  • Yahweh’s law is perfect - it revives the soul
  • Yahweh’s law is a trust testimony - it makes the simple wise
  • Yahweh’s laws are right instructions - they rejoice the heart
  • Yahweh’s law is a pure commandment - it enlightens the eyes
  • The fear of Yahweh’s law is clean - it endures forever
  • Yahweh’s law are a righteous set of rules
  • Yahweh’s law is worth more than gold
  • Yahweh’s law is more pleasant than honey
  • Yahweh’s law warns his servants (to avoid danger/sin) and rewards those who keep it

Having observed nature and scripture, the psalmist now looks inwardly at how their own life declares Yahweh’s goodness. They ask the Lord to search them and point out their faults. They don’t want to be guilty of anything unknowingly and dishonour God’s name.

The psalmist ends by asking that the state of their words and hearts be acceptable before God. As we look to the awesomeness of nature and the goodness of scripture, like the psalmist, we are led to look inward, to ask God to help us better declare his glory in our lives.

Anything you think I've missed? Maybe you've got a question that still needs answering. Send me a message over on my Instagram (@brynjoslin). I'd love to talk it through with you some more.

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