Things at times may not look as bright as you wish them to be.
We all have a tendency to ask ourselves, didn't God promise me a prosperous future? didn't he promise me that my burdens will be light? didn't he promise me that everywhere my feet tread he will give to me? Well, why do I find myself chained up, limited, entrapped, or not going anywhere?
The prophet Jeremiah is no novice to asking himself these questions or finding himself in predicaments which were way beyond what God had promised him or the people of Israel where they would be. Even though this message was promised weeks if not months after the great message of Jeremiah 29 (I know the plans I have for you), the prophet finds himself chained to a brick wall with his liberties taken away.
You see, there are many times in our faith journey that everything that is happening is contrary to popular demand. It seems as though the harder you try the harder it gets. But there are several benefits that are hard to identify when facing trials, and one of those benefits is the building of a Godly character. You see, this prophet was not only a prophet (one who hears and speaks for God) in public, or while his liberty is intact. But, he continues to be a prophet while his liberties are taken away. He never stops hearing from God, nor does he shrink back every time God promises him and/or his people something which seems impossible to believe. No, he writes this message in the midst of great difficultly as he humbles himself to seek the voice of the only one who could hear him or rescue him.
For those who are trained to listen to the Word of the Lord or his voice, there is nothing greater, or more inspiring, or soothing to the soul than the voice of your maker. He has ways to transform your difficulties into hope. Here in this message, God promises a full restoration to Israel (God's promised people) as they journey through life's greatest valleys as well as life's greatest mountains. He invites each one of them to "call upon him" and the God who created the mouth will speak. He promises that he "will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." Nothing is more needed when you have no one to talk to when life's door is closing in on you, and there seems to be no way. In this New Year, listen to the voice of the Lord, and humble yourself to him. You never know what you will hear!!
Happy New Year.
1 While Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard, the word of the Lord came to him a second time: 2 “This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it the Lord is his name: 3 ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ 4 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says about the houses in this city and the royal palaces of Judah that have been torn down to be used against the siege ramps and the sword 5 in the fight with the Babylonians: ‘They will be filled with the dead bodies of the people I will slay in my anger and wrath. I will hide my face from this city because of all its wickedness.
6 “‘Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. 7 I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before. 8 I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me. 9 Then this city will bring me renown, joy, praise, and honor before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it.’
10 “This is what the Lord says: ‘You say about this place, “It is a desolate waste, without people or animals.” Yet in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are deserted, inhabited by neither people nor animals, there will be heard once more 11 the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, and the voices of those who bring thank offerings to the house of the Lord, saying,
“Give thanks to the Lord Almighty, for the Lord is good; his love endures forever.” For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were before,’ says the Lord.