Only by His graceⅠ The message of sealed hopeJeremiah 30:1-24
We have heard from Jeremiah, the genealogy of the prophet; but, tone of the message to Zedekiah, the last king of David dynasty, has been changed (23:1-8). However, there seems to be continued in that tone. We would like to hear. This morning, it is from Chapter 30.
There is that "Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, 'Write all the words which I have spoken to you in a book.'" (2); but Chapter 30-31 seems to have been written for the purpose to store until some condition were set. It seems to be an early thing of the prophecy activity of Jeremiah. "'For, behold, days are coming,' declares the Lord, 'when I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel sand Judah.' The Lord says, 'I will bring them back to the land that I gave to their forefathers, and they shall possess it.'" (3) Israel and Judah are side by side, but Jeremiah has heard this message in the time of reign of king Josiah; it was the after of the north Israel's captivity by Assyria. There is it, "I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel and Judah"; but, the Captivity of Judah had not been entered still even in anyone's field of view. Assyria army had poured into Jerusalem, but it had been withdrawn by the help of the Lord; and still, Babylon is not seen even its shadow. Under such circumstances, Jeremiah has sealed these messages. "Some conditions", it is thought it was not that the captivity of Judah becomes the fact. When the extinction of Judah became clear to anyone, it seems it had been entrusted to a messenger of the king, and it had been announced.
At that time, Judah was in danger of ruin. Perhaps, it seems that it was the era of king Zedekiah, but in such social conditions that "theology of hope" of the prophets was moving the main battle group, crisis of Judah will continue to become increasingly decisive. The message of Jeremiah at the early stages had been repeated again and again by superimposing the south Judah kingdom to the north kingdom (cf. 3:6-10); but it became a reality. "Alas! for that day is great, there is none like it; and it is the time of Jacob's distress, but he will be saved from it." (7); the grief of Jeremiah, he depicted the destruction of Jerusalem that has not been seen yet, as if he has seen it though. Maybe, he might have witnessed that destruction, and might have added a hand to the document which has been saved. It seems that the hand of edit had been put in its neighborhood, and whether it had been by Jeremiah?, by the secretary Baruch?, or by progeny editors (multiple)?, it is unclear at all. However, in any event, the message of Jeremiah did not change; a judgement of God of destruction to Judah was done, and after that, salvation has been realized. In Chapter 30-31, that fact has been repeated.
Ⅱ To the people who forgot Yahweh
As for Verse 10-11, because there is a sentence which seems the prototype in 46:28, let's quote from there. "'O Jacob My servant, do not fear,' declares the Lord, 'for I am with you. For I shall make a full end of all the nations where I have driven you, yet I shall not make a full end of you; but I shall correct you properly and by no means leave you unpunished.'" When watch this, you know that the hand of editing is added in Chapter 30. It is repeated as "O Jacob My servant", and Israel has been paraphrased as "Jacob" expressly. "A house of Jacob and Judah" (cf. 5:20), it points to the old covenant community in the cultus of Yahweh. I talked a difficult thing as a contract community in the cultus; but when Yahweh wishes to be concerning to the salvation of people, it seems to say that "You have signed a contract with Me, please remember it". Yahweh has said, Israel is "My people". This is a declaration in the cultus. "Servant" of the Hebrew means "the man who is working"; it would be good to think as synonymous word with "son". The "servant" does not mean the offensive "slave" like Greek-Do~urosu. As son to serve his father, he is loved by Yahweh, he will be a servant, the worshiper to Yahweh. However, "servant Jacob" has forgotten that he is loved by Yahweh. Service to Yahweh also has fallen in the cult religion of ritual center; Jeremiah who is from the family of priest seems to have known the circumstances of that neighborhood. So that, he told the message of God, "But I will chasten you justly, and will by no means leave you unpunished". Iwanami Version says, "I will punish you by justice. I do not assume you the innocence". First, it is necessary to the mowing of what they themselves have done. It was the destruction of Jerusalem, and was the Babylonian captivity.
But they are crying. Once, Israel who got out from Egypt did the same. If you try to change the "you" of Verse 12-14 to the "I", their lament seems to emerge. "My wound is incurable, and my injury is serious. There is no one to plead my cause; no healing for my sore, no recovery for me. ..." But here, it uses ironical way with "you". And they are told. "Why do you cry out over your injury? Your pain is incurable. Because your iniquity is great and your sins are numerous, I have done these things to you." (15) Even though it is his own cause, a thing called human would not stand sadly painful. When I looked at myself, my heart seems to have been deprived only to the pain which happened to myself than getting rid of that cause from myself. Zedekiah at this time had been so. In the moment that he was in ecstatic that he has made to be the king unexpectedly; he might have cursed itself, why he became a king. He was made a fool of by people of the main battle group,; and he has tasted a feeling of ineffectualness until "the king can do nothing against you" (38:5). He was lonely. But, actually, God was staring at him.
Ⅲ Only by His grace
Message of Jeremiah which was made public seems to have committed to the messenger of king Zedekiah, but there is also Verse 5-6 as like Verse 3, "I have heard a sound of terror, of dread, and there is no peace. As now, and see, if a male can give birth. Why do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in childbirth? And why have all faces turned pale?" (5-6). And, it is repeated, "'And it shall come about on that day,' declares the Lord of host, 'that I will break his yoke from off their neck, and will tear of their bonds; and strangers shall no longer make them their slaves.'" (8), "Thus says the Lord, 'Behold, I will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob and have compassion in his dwelling places; and the city shall be rebuilt on its ruin, and the places shall stand on its rightful place. And from them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of those who make merry; and I will multiply them, and they shall not be diminished; I will also honor them , and they shall not be insignificant. ...'" (18-22). I will take up Chapter 31, on the next time, but Chapter 30-31 is overflowing by the words full of pity of God. I said earlier that because it was due to themselves, Israel had to harvest its fruit. It may be said that throughout the entire Jeremiah, the message of Jeremiah comes down to that one point. However, without being heard the message even once, the prophet and the people of Judah came on a parallel line much. Nevertheless, they faced the situation of the kingdom destruction, and have turned pale. Would the relations with God and the human not have been like that in all the time? Modern people is the same. Even if they became blue and moved about in a situation of such confusion, things will not change. "The fierce anger of the Lord. ... In the later days you will understand this." (24); this word is suggestive.
However, only the grace of God heals the pain of the people. Even if we are not obedient, God uses the blessing on His own side. Please listen to the words of Paul. "But God, being rich mercy, because of His great love which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)," (Ephesians 2:4-5). You know anymore that this grace is according to the cross of Jesus. Except as by Jesus, there is no salvation. It is thought that Jeremiah had knew only the return from Babylon at this time, but we must hear, this message of hope is pointing at Jesus. To modern us, it is valuable thing which should listen.