God’s Word for You
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Thursday, April 30, 2015
These words are repeated almost exactly in Jeremiah 46:27-28. But more than repeating himself, the prophet is also recalling earlier messages of comfort from God spoken by Isaiah (Isaiah 41:8-10, 43:1-6, 44:1-5, 49:25) and by David (Psalm 122:1-9).
Jacob will return.
He will have quiet and be at ease,
and no one will make him afraid.
Once again, the Lord includes Jacob—a name usually reserved for the Northern Kingdom—in the promise of restoration. Those people were long gone; the restoration was the spiritual restoration through Christ. Jesus will give us “ease,” a rest from the burden of sin and guilt.
When God first sent Joshua into Canaan to subdue it, he said “the Lord your God is giving you rest and has granted you this land” (Joshua 1:13). The rest there was not the familiar shalom “peace,” but nuach, “rest,” such as weary feet slipping into cool water, or a weary head laying down on a pillow. Here, the “rest” is a similar word, shaqat, like a peaceful nation (1 Chronicles 22:9; Judges 18:27). It is the rest that a people has who are completely unafraid—and only God can give us that kind of peace. He soothes us with his gospel: “Keep calm (shaqat) and don’t be afraid… The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:4,14).
11 I am with you to save you, declares the LORD,
I will completely destroy all the nations among which I have scattered you,
but I will not completely destroy you.
I will discipline you with justice,
yet I will not regard you entirely innocent.”
When Jeremiah was first called, God said to him, “I am with you and I will save you” (Jeremiah 1:8), but now this message is extended to all of Israel and Judah.
The last sentence in verse 11 makes you stop and think. The NIV’s translation shows that naqad can mean either “innocent” or “unpunished” (“I will not let you go entirely unpunished”). The Lord will still discipline his beloved people, but only with justice and not with wrath. His wrath fell on Jesus, so we receive only his correction, to keep us mindful of his will and of his holy word. While we are in this lifetime, we are infected with the Old Adam, and we are “not… entirely innocent.” So we pray the ancient prayer of John Chrysostom (d. 407): “O Lord, I have sinned. Have mercy on me as the God full of compassion, seeing the feebleness of my soul.” His mercy endures forever.
Pastor Timothy Smith
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