While Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard, the word of the Lord came to him a second time: 2 “This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it—the Lord is his name: 3 ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ 4 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says about the houses in this city and the royal palaces of Judah that have been torn down to be used against the siege ramps and the sword 5 in the fight with the Babylonians: ‘They will be filled with the dead bodies of the people I will slay in my anger and wrath. I will hide my face from this city because of all its wickedness.
6 “‘Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. 7 I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before. 8 I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me. 9 Then this city will bring me renown, joy, praise and honor before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it.’ (Jeremiah 32-34)
While Jeremiah was still confined …
Jeremiah is still imprisoned, the King of Babylon is already besieging Jerusalem and King Zedekiah of Judah is pretty ticked at Jeremiah for all the doom and gloom he’s been prophesying. And honestly, Jeremiah is probably not all that happy about it either – he is a man, after all: he’s still confined and he’s still being asked to say what nobody wants to hear.
… But then comes the “nevertheless” part
Then comes the God who heals, and saves, and restores and who frees
Then comes the God of all mankind, the “is anything too hard for me” God. The God who says, “Yes, this pre-stuff is going to happen, but whereas you see and hear and concentrate only on the bad, I see and perform and concentrate only in the good:
“You are saying about this city, ‘By the sword, famine and plague it will be given into the hands of the king of Babylon’; but this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 37 I will surely gather them from all the lands where I banish them in my furious anger and great wrath; I will bring them back to this place and let them live in safety. 38 They will be my people, and I will be their God. 39 I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me and that all will then go well for them and for their children after them. 40 I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me. 41 I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul.
42 “This is what the Lord says: As I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will give them all the prosperity I have promised them. 43 Once more fields will be bought in this land of which you say, ‘It is a desolate waste, without people or animals, for it has been given into the hands of the Babylonians.’ 44 Fields will be bought for silver, and deeds will be signed, sealed and witnessed in the territory of Benjamin, in the villages around Jerusalem, in the towns of Judah and in the towns of the hill country, of the western foothills and of the Negev, because I will restore their fortunes, declares the Lord.”
It’s not easy to see beyond our circumstances. It’s not easy to see past our pain, our dire straits, our needy state. It’s not easy to swallow the “In this world you will have tribulations” part of the deal. (That’s the clause we were hoping was just a typo in the fine print.)
But Jesus doesn’t leave us there, He sandwiches it all in hope: “I have said these things to you so that you might have peace. Yes, in this world you will have tribulation, BUT (nevertheless) be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.”
This is the beginning and the ending, the reason to hope beyond our circumstances and carry on.
This is the Truth in all His leadings:
“Don’t be afraid.”
“Be of good cheer.”
“Don’t be dismayed.”
This is the rope to grab on to and hold tight – the “Nevertheless”
Because… We. Are. Never. Promised. Any. Less.
– Never Less than the Best.
Yes, Lord, I will hold on to nothing less than your best.
Watering Today: Prov 24; ps 24, 124; Jeremiah 32-34; Psalms 74; 1 John 5