What does it say?
At the very darkest moment in Judah’s history when all appears lost, God gives a message of hope and restoration through Jeremiah in these two chapters. God is not finished with Israel (30:10-11).
Notice Jeremiah 30:2. This is a clear example of the inspiration of scriptures. God directly tells Jeremiah to record the words spoken to him in a book. Jeremiah 30:4-9 predicts a time of tribulation that Jeremiah likens to a woman in childbirth. He also calls this the time of Jacob’s trouble. The book of Revelation predicts a time of tribulation preceding the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Many Bible students see this time in Israel’s history as a foreshadowing of the tribulation yet to come. The same image appears again in Jeremiah 31. Matthew quotes Jeremiah 31:15 in Matthew 2:18 as being fulfilled in Herod’s slaughter of innocent children following the birth of Jesus.
The second half of Jeremiah 31 (31:22-40) points to the new covenant that God will make with his people. He promises them a new heart and his truth written inside of them rather than on tables of stone. The passage looks forward to the mission completed (31:34).
What does it mean?
We do well to remember that even in the worst moments of life when all hope seems gone, God’s grace is still near. All we need do is allow him to find us and carry us back to fellowship with him.
Paul makes it clear in Galatians 3 that as followers of Jesus we are included spiritually in this new covenant. The church does not replace Israel in God’s missional program, but rather God includes us as the spiritual descendants of Abraham. We will revisit these words of Jeremiah in Hebrews 10:15-16.
How will I respond?
I am just as prone to wandering far from God as I see the Jews do in the days of Jeremiah. Proverbs 4:23 warns me to guard my heart. How am I am doing taking care of my heart? Following through on my commitment to read through the Bible is a good thing, but are there other heart issues that I am leaving undone? What one thing can I do right now to promote a healthy spiritual heart? As an example, can I share with another person what I am learning in God’s word? Someone has invested in me; how will I invest in others?