God’s Word for You
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Monday, April 27, 2015
THE BOOK OF CONSOLATION
Chapters 30-33 are Jeremiah’s Book of Consolation. They are the gospel hope offered by God to his people to lift them up out of the tragedy that was coming. Some readers of the Bible forget that it was written in the past for someone else’s ears; for someone else’s life and circumstances. That doesn’t detract from the Bible’s importance to your life as you read it, but don’t forget that this was originally preached to a nation of people so deeply embedded in their sins that they needed to know just how serious God’s anger over sin is. That makes Jeremiah a hard book to read, and a very hard book on which to meditate for nearly a year as we have done together.
It is going to get worse. We are going to see the fall of Judah and the destruction of the temple, and then we are going to see the backbiting and scrambling of the people after that disaster. We will see petty plots and murder, and Jeremiah himself will be forced to go somewhere besides Babylon; forced to miss the peace God offered to his people there.
How could Jeremiah endure this? He had a message of comfort from God. He had this Book of Consolation. What woman would go through the agony of childbirth if there were not the joy of the baby afterward? Jeremiah had this gospel message as his promise of what was to come. What scholar would go through the years of arduous difficulty for a doctoral dissertation if he would not be able to benefit from his degree afterward? Who would want to go through a painful surgery if there were no hope of recovery afterward? Jeremiah looked forward to recovery, and this Book of Consolation shows what that recovery was to be like.
The Lord will Restore Israel
30 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD. He said, 2 “The LORD, the God of Israel says, Write all the words that I have spoken to you in a book. 3 The days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will bring my people Israel and Judah back from captivity. I will restore them to the land I gave to their fathers, and they will possess it, says the LORD.”
The word for “book” here is sepher, which would have been a roll or scroll. Books, bound on one side with a stiff protective cover, were a modification of a Roman technique (we would call the early Roman books pamphlets or booklets). The earliest bound hardcover books were copies of the Gospels or the entire New Testament.
With these words, the Lord commands Jeremiah to preserve this Book of Consolation so that it will not become lost. The essence of the message is wonderful: Judah will be brought back from captivity. They will once again inhabit their land, and they will be blessed by God.
God invites and invites and invites. His invitation to us is more direct even than this invitation to Judah. They thought of God’s blessings as coming through the land they were promised. We know that it is not Israel the place, or Jerusalem the city, or Zion the hilltop, or even the temple or tabernacle that is the source of blessing. It is Jesus. Our possession is eternal life, a place in heaven forever with Jesus and because of Jesus. This Book of Consolation speaks to us as well as to the Jews, but we know that God’s true consolation is the forgiveness of sins through the blood of Jesus Christ.
Pastor Timothy Smith
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