HOPE FOR RESTORATION (JEREMIAH 30:12-17)
Beloved, it is such a blessing to worship together with you this Sunday! I would like to congratulate those who had birthdays and all kinds of aniversaries in the course of this week. Please continue to enjoy the moment while it lasts.
You have probably heard someone say that our God is a God of a second chance, He is a God of restoration. This may sound like simple talk, but it is actually reality. The theme of restoration is one that runs through the entire length of the bible, right from Genesis to Revelation. Today, I will attempt to explain this theme in the light of the nation of Israel, as presented to us through the prophecy of Prophet Jeremiah.
In Jer 30:3, the prophet writes thus, “For the time is coming when I will restore the fortunes of My people of Israel and Judah. I will bring them home to this land that I gave to their ancestors, and they will possess it again. I the Lord have spoken! “ In this book, chapters 30-33 are often referred to as the “Book of comfort” because of the message of hope contained within these chapters. Having refuted the lies of the false prophets about a short -term exile (27:12- 17; 29:8-9), Jeremiah proceeded to offer a message of hope and reversal of fortune. It
is important to note that Jeremiah’s message of hope did not negate God’s threatened judgement. The other prophets had not taken God’s judgement seriously, but Jeremiah had persistently spoken against the sins of the people (Jeremiah 1-29).
From 30:7 it’s clear that a time of terror would fall upon the people of Israel. The day of God’s judgement was commonly understood as God executing His final judgement upon His enemies and blessing His people. But this time of terror would not exclude the nation of Israel (Isaiah 21:2; Jer 25:33; Lamentations 1:12; Ezekiel 30:3; Joel 1:15; Amos 5:18).
Jeremiah further explains in 30:8-9, that on that day, God’s people would cease to be slaves of a foreign king and return as servants of the true King, the Lord. Hananiah had prophesied that God would break the yoke of Babylonian captivity, but he had incorrectly shortened the time of captivity from 70 years to 2 years (Jer 28:11). Jeremiah confirmed that God indeed would liberate His people from Babylonian oppression, but only in His appointed time.
A significant question then, that many believers ask is, what is it that motivates God to show compassion? The truth is, many Christians suffer with great remorse for the things they have done in their past. We must understand that God is neither anxiously waiting to zap
us with lightning nor is He indifferent toward His own people (Isaiah 30:18). No, we serve a personal God who is the lover of humanity! He is determined – more determined than you and me are – to demonstrate His love to unlovely people like us (Jn 8:1-11); this is the basis of our restoration. It is possible that as you read this message, you feel that you have fallen away from grace, my encouragement for you is that you do not back away from God’s love, but embrace it, explore it – enjoy it, receive His forgiveness and allow Him to restore you! It’s His gift to you (1Cor 13:2). Stay blessed.
The Very Rev. Canon Michael Mukhwana