Bible: What Does Jeremiah 32-33 Teach Us About God's Sovereignty and Israel's Restoration to the Land?
Jeremiah, The Prisoner
Zedekiah Appears Before Nebuchadnezzar
God: "I Will Bring Israel Back to the Land"
Almost six years have passed since chapter twenty-eight (v. 1).
[The narrative proceeds in the third person, perhaps suggesting but not necessarily proving, that Jeremiah himself does not pen this portion].
The man of God finds himself in the king's prison court (v. 2), having told Zedekiah three painful facts:
(1) Babylon would soon conquer Jerusalem (v. 3).
(2) The king himself would become a captive and appear before Nebuchadnezzar (cf. 2 Kings 25); and
(3) The king would languish in that foreign land (vv. 4-5).
Suffice it to say, Zedekiah did not like what he heard.
Hanameel and the Field
At this point Jeremiah receives a visitor, his nephew Hanameel, who asks the prophet to buy his field.
This request confirmed an earlier revelation that appeared illogical at the time (vv. 6-8).
The prophet may have initially asked himself, "Why should I buy a field when my enemy is going to confiscate it?"
Nevertheless, In obedience, he buys the property for seventeen shekels of silver, and goes through all the necessary business transactions to make the redemption official (vv. 9-11).
Afterwards, he gives the purchase deed to Baruch before the proper witnesses (v. 12), and tells him to preserve the deeds in an earthen vessel (vv. 13-14).
By completing the transfer, he operated by faith in God's promise (v. 15).
God is Sovereign
The Sovereignty of the LORD
Seeking to understand what he had just done, Jeremiah prays fervently (v. 16), acknowledging God's omnipotence as Creator of the universe (v. 17), and His justice and love toward mankind (v. 18).
The prophet then emphasizes the LORD’s omnipresence as the righteous Judge (v. 19), remembering His plagues upon Egypt, His deliverance of Israel from that land of bondage, and His establishment of the people in Canaan (vv. 20-22).
Then the prayer turns to an acknowledgment of Israel's failures in obedience and his resultant destruction (v. 23), even recording the nation's anguish at the conquest of the city (v. 24).
Jeremiah's review of history has a point, surfacing his primary concern here: Why did God just instruct him to buy land the Chaldeans now owned? (v. 25)
Yahweh responds to the prophet's request for understanding (v. 26) by announcing His sovereignty over man and history (v. 27).
His question suggests a mild reproof of Jeremiah in light of the prophet’s previous confession of God's omnipotence (cf. 32:17).
[What He intimates, in essence, is “Do you truly believe what you have confessed, Jeremiah?
Then you should not doubt that I will bring you and the people back to the Land.”]
"Behold, The Days Are Coming!"
The prophet receives a second message from God while in prison (see Jer. 32:2); this time the LORD identifies Himself as the Maker, Former, and Establisher of Jerusalem (vv. 1-2) Who promises to reveal mysteries—perhaps regarding the future of the city and its people—to whomever asks Him (v. 3).
Futile, indeed, are Israel's efforts to prevent the Chaldeans from entering Jerusalem and killing her people (vv. 4-5).
But Yahweh promises that a time of healing will come (v. 6).
[Note: three forms of the underlined word appear in verse six].
In that day peace, truth, joy, praise, honor, goodness, prosperity, cleansing, pardon will characterize Jerusalem and its inhabitants (vv. 6-9).
What is in Jeremiah’s day a desolate city will again become a place of great joy and celebration, because the captives will return (vv. 10-11).
[In what sense is God referring to the return of Judah from Babylon, and in what sense is He pointing to the future kingdom of Messiah?]
Peace will reign throughout Israel, symbolized by the quiet life of the shepherd tending his flock (vv. 12-13).
The Days Are Coming
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Messiah's Reign on Earth
A familiar phrase— "Behold, the days are coming"—reappears (see 30:3; 31:27, 31, 38), predicting the days of the reign of Messiah (v. 14).
David's Son—a Branch of righteousness—will come to punish the Earth’s inhabitants, but He will also save Judah and Jerusalem (vv. 15-16; cf. Zech. 3:8; 6:12; Is. 11:1).
The city will then share the name of her Deliverer (v. 16; cf. 23:5, 6).
Messiah's righteous reign will fulfill a promise to David (see 1 Kings 2:4), and the sacrificial system will continue in force (vv. 17-18).
For Yahweh to break His unconditional covenant with David is, according to the LORD, impossible.
Furthermore, to prove a point, He compares the stars and sand to the number of that king's descendants, and of the Levites and priests that He would give His servant (vv. 19-22).
[God would fulfill His covenant to Abraham and his descendants].
The Babylonians (?) (“these people”) think that God has rejected His people (v. 24), but the only way this tragedy could happen would be if days and nights should cease.
In other words, since He will not break His covenant with day and night, abandonment of Israel is not God's will (v. 25).
Yahweh will bring the captives home and “mercy” them (v. 26; cf. 31:35-37).
Do you believe Israel's presence in the Land today represents a fulfillment of Scripture?
Israel: Chastened, and Then Restored to the Land
The LORD reveals His plan to allow Babylon to punish Jerusalem for its idol worship (vv. 28-30).
Everyone in Israel and Judah has provoked Him to anger by continually sinning, turning away from Him to serve pagan gods, and performing abominable human sacrifices at Tophet (vv. 31-35).
The LORD, however, does not conclude His message in a minor key.
He still plans to bring Israel back to the Land—knowledge of which Jeremiah should have been assured, but had apparently forgotten (vv. 36-37)—and do all kinds of good works among them.
One special grace predominates: the renewal of a close covenant relationship based upon God-given, apostasy-proof "fear" that will produce a unity of thought and deed among the people (vv. 38-40; cf. 31:31-34).
After revealing His willingness and ability to chasten, God makes for Himself a new opportunity to show them His goodness by permitting them to return to buy fields all over Israel (vv. 41-44).
Jeremiah's purchase of his nephew's property served as a sign to Israel that his God will bring them back to the land after the captivity had finished its course and accomplished its purpose.
[An eschatological element is also involved in this return to the Land.]
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