“At that time”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they will be my people.”
This is what the Lord says:
The people who survived the sword
found favor in the wilderness.
When Israel went to find rest,
the Lord appeared to him from far away.
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore, I have continued to extend faithful love to you.
Again I will build you so that you will be rebuilt,
You will take up your tambourines again
and go out in joyful dancing.
You will plant vineyards again
on the mountains of Samaria;
the planters will plant and will enjoy the fruit.
For there will be a day when watchmen will call out
in the hill country of Ephraim,
“Come, let’s go up to Zion,
to the Lord our God!”
For this is what the Lord says:
Sing with joy for Jacob;
shout for the foremost of the nations!
Proclaim, praise, and say,
“Lord, save your people,
the remnant of Israel!”
Watch! I am going to bring them from the northern land.
I will gather them from remote regions of the earth—
the blind and the lame will be with them,
along with those who are pregnant and those about to give birth.
They will return here as a great assembly!
They will come weeping,
but I will bring them back with consolation.
I will lead them to wadis filled with water,
by a smooth way where they will not stumble,
for I am Israel’s Father,
and Ephraim is my firstborn.
Nations, hear the word of the Lord,
and tell it among the far off coasts and islands!
Say, “The one who scattered Israel will gather him.
He will watch over him as a shepherd guards his flock,
for the Lord has ransomed Jacob
and redeemed him from the power of one stronger than he.”
They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion;
they will be radiant with joy
because of the Lord’s goodness,
because of the grain, the new wine, the fresh oil,
and because of the young of the flocks and herds.
Their life will be like an irrigated garden,
and they will no longer grow weak from hunger.
Then the young women will rejoice with dancing,
while young and old men rejoice together.
I will turn their mourning into joy,
give them consolation,
and bring happiness out of grief.
I will refresh the priests with an abundance,
and my people will be satisfied with my goodness.
This is the Lord’s declaration.
Jeremiah is often referred to as “The Weeping Prophet” and with good reason. He lived at the time of Jerusalem’s fall to the armies of Babylon. Much of his prophecy focuses on the coming destruction of the city and its eventual defeat. His prophecies were so dire, that he was often accused of being a spy for Babylon that was sent to discourage the people and entice them to surrender to their inevitable defeat.
Still, in the midst of all the gloom and doom, God speaks words of comfort through His weeping prophet. Jeremiah 31 is part of a section of his prophecies (chapters 30-32) often referred to as The Book of Consolation. In the midst of the impending doom, God again affirms His everlasting love for Jerusalem. He will gather all the exiled people of Israel and Judah back to the Promised Land and will restore them to the pristine condition they knew when He first rescued them out of Egypt hundreds of years before. They will feel restored.
Often in life, we carry the scars of the damage that has been done in our world by the Fall of humanity from its place of glory at the time of creation. Whether it be sins of our own commission or a society not living as God desires it to be, we all can often feel dirty and stained before a holy God. We feel the shame of our condition.
Thankfully, God promises restoration to His original purposes for us if we are willing to accept it. We don’t have to live in our shame. God offers each of us the opportunity to be like brand new again.
- In what ways do you need God to bring restoration into your life?