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God’s Word for You

Jeremiah 30:8-10a

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Wednesday, April 29, 2015

8 “In that day, declares the LORD of Armies,
   I will break the yoke from off your neck.
   I will tear away your bonds.
Strangers will not longer enslave them,
  9 but they will serve the LORD their God
     and David their king,
     whom I will raise up for them.

An ancient Aramaic paraphrase of this verse (the Targum) has as the middle line of verse 9, “and Messiah, the son of David, their King.” Clearly they saw the coming Messiah as the descendant of David and also as the Son of God—the equivalent of the LORD God. This shows as clear an understanding of Christ as both true God and true man as that of the Nicene Creed. Although it is only the Targum that says “Messiah,” there is really no other way to take the passage. The “David” whom God would raise up for his people was the coming Christ.

So even though Hananiah the false prophet had sinned by breaking Jeremiah’s yoke back in chapter 28, Jeremiah confesses that the yoke would in fact be broken eventually—but not by Hananiah nor by his aspirations and hopes for deliverance quickly in his lifetime. It would be the Son of God who broke the yoke. But it wasn’t to be the yoke of something as meager as Babylonian oppression. It would be the yoke of sin itself. Jesus Christ smashed the yoke of our slavery to sin, the yoke of the devil’s power, and the yoke of our slavery to death. Jesus promised: “If anyone keeps my word, he will never see death” (John 8:51). Solomon did not go far enough when he said that “love is as strong as death, its jealousy as unyielding as the grave (Song of Solomon 8:6). God’s love is even stronger than death; God’s passion for our salvation breaks the hold even of the grave.

10 Therefore do not be afraid, my servant Jacob, declares the
LORD.
      Do not be discouraged, Israel.
For I will save you from far away
  and your descendants from the land of their captivity.

How far away do we need to be before God can no longer save us? Jeremiah’s people were worried about being a few hundred miles away—a few week’s walk away—in Babylon. But we could be on the moon, a quarter of a million miles away, and we would not be too far. We could be on Pluto, four and a half billion miles away, and we would not be too far. Distances in miles is no object to God. The real distance is sin, not miles. Sin is far, far away from holiness, an infinite, uncrossable chasm, but Jesus the infinite Son of God crossed the chasm, made a bridge of his own love, and brought us home.

“I will save you from far away.” What better words could we hear from our God? And he has spoken them to us.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.