Jeremiah, known by many as the “weeping prophet” lives in a time of desperation and turmoil. The people of Judah have turned away from God, worshipping idols; even the people of Israel, the ones whom God had made a special covenant with, back stabbed in a way–asking Jeremiah to seek God on their behalf, then denied his instruction, and went after other gods, refusing to repent, and oppressing each other. If nothing else, Jeremiah’s times are dark.
Now, the end of chapter 32 is a declaration of redemption. God is literally saying “My people screwed up. I am choosing to restore them.”
We often hear about the salvation message being this “God didn’t HAVE to save you…” saga-which, in literality, is true. He didn’t have to save us. Does a lifeguard have to save a drowning infant?
[God’s Wrath, by definition, is this]: God intensely hates and responds with anger to all sin and rebellion.
We are seeing this played out throughout the book of Jeremiah. The people have not just fallen short but completely chosen to rebel against the God that delivered them from slavery. Beyond just mere deliverance, God promised great things to his people-he delivered them and promised them a land flowing milk and honey.
And yet they rejected him.
God’s wrath is a touchy subject. I think it is something that is often conjured and misrepresented in our minds and by others’ embodiment of the Word. But the unity of God promises us that all of his characteristics are intertwined-his wrath is never disconnected from his love, wisdom, compassion, patience, blessedness-the list goes on. In this portion of Scripture, the righteous judgement of God is upon his rebellious people-but in Jeremiah 32-33, undoubtedly the restoration process is beginning.
It is as if a husband were to find his wife cheating on him with multiple men. Instead of releasing a furious rage upon her, he makes her dinner every night that she comes home late; she never says thank you, she never asks him how his day was, she just takes the food and leaves the dishes in the sink. She knows that he knows-there is no hiding the shame in her downcast eyes, but neither of them say anything about the white elephant in the room-so he waits, patiently. He is giving her the opportunity to experience the freedom that comes from confessing and receiving forgiveness for wrongdoing. So, he waits.
Days go on and she stops coming home all together. He waits up at night and decides to go out to find her. He searches for her until he lands on Harbor Blvd, where he sees her, in a tight, hot pink, leather skirt, stilettos, and a bubble-gum tube top. Her face is almost beyond recognition with all the makeup she is wearing, as she is leaning into a BMW, making suggestive remarks with her body.
She is whoring herself out.
As her hand reaches the handle of the man’s car, she feels a firm grip on her forearm, yanking her away, then picking her up. It’s her husband.
This is a woman promised to him in covenant. She stared at him in the eyes and promised to love and obey and cherish him for ever. Her heart is his. Her body is his. And she has forgotten her first love.
But I have this against you, that you have abandoned lthe love you had at first. Revelation 2:4
How often are we like this to the Lord? We look at him with stars in our eyes the moment he delivers us from our fallen state, and then, the puppy love stage ends, so we attempt to find a false satisfaction in the gods of sex, money, control, and vanity.
And while the rescued wife shivers, more from shame in her exposure than the cold, the husband leaves her in a room with a comfortable bed and a warm meal. He does this for days, bringing her the things she needs, then leaving her alone for the rest of the day.
Then one day, he brings in her plate of breakfast, and holds his other hand out to hers, inviting her to come with him. The wife knows what he has done, she knows that it is worthy of abandonment and death, but he has done neither yet, so she decides to follow. He walks her out to their front yard, once full of brown grass and tall weeds, revealing instead, a garden with all her favorite flowers.
And she looks down at his hands and notices for the first time that they are covered in dirt.
“I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land of faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul” (Jer. 32:41).
This is before a single word or thought birthed of repentance from Israel. He was planning on blessing them long before they took a step toward him.
In Jeremiah 33, there are a couple of verses that stick out as “go to” verses in times of distress or hardship. There are definitely times where God could use these verses to comfort and encourage us and others, however, the beauty and biggest lessons lie in the story being told. In Jeremiah 33, God is reminding Jeremiah of his promises to always direct the future, heal the land of Israel, and, ultimately, send a Messiah.
Jeremiah 33 is a proclamation of restoration. He is explaining how he will go about in healing the land and the people. And yes, this is all for his unmatched glory, but God also tells us that this is for their benefit:
“I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them…” (v. 39-41).
I believe we have a misconception of God’s dealings with us. We assume that, since he alone is worthy of all glory, honor, and praise, then he is selfish in his ways-and we are here to comply with that. This verse shows a completely different side of life in submission to Christ: it is abundant for not only His Name’s Sake, but for OUR benefit. We need him desperately.
God, like a great gardener,
takes a hoe to dried dirt and dying soil,
uprooting all the dead insects
and rotted weeds
and replanting an entirely new garden.