Promise of Restoration (Jeremiah 33:1–26)
I. The Rebuilding of Judah and Jerusalem (33:1–9)
1 Moreover the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah a second time, while he was still shut up in the court of the prison, saying, 2 “Thus says the LORD who made it, the LORD who formed it to establish it (the LORD is His name): 3 ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’4 “For thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city and the houses of the kings of Judah, which have been pulled down to fortify against the siege mounds and the sword: 5 ‘They come to fight with the Chaldeans, but only to fill their places with the dead bodies of men whom I will slay in My anger and My fury, all for whose wickedness I have hidden My face from this city. 6 Behold, I will bring it health and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth. 7 And I will cause the captives of Judah and the captives of Israel to return, and will rebuild those places as at the first. 8 I will cleanse them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against Me, and I will pardon all their iniquities by which they have sinned and by which they have transgressed against Me. 9 Then it shall be to Me a name of joy, a praise, and an honor before all nations of the earth, who shall hear all the good that I do to them; they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and all the prosperity that I provide for it.’
A. God can reveal what he desires to whom he desires and when he desires.
Jeremiah was still in the courtyard of the guard when the Lord spoke to him a second time, linking verse 1 with the previous occasion when the word of the Lord came to him (see 32:1–2).
God’s role as Creator is emphasized, a theme also mentioned in the previous chapter in the context of God’s plans of deliverance. The words of praise of God as Creator in v. 2 are not unrelated to the context but serve as a reminder that he who created this world has the power to restore Israel and Judah.
B. God who appears to show no mercy in the previous verse now promises that he would bring “health” and healing to the same people he had condemned.
The defiled nation would be healed and cleansed, and the disgraceful city would bring joy and renown to the Lord and be a testimony to all the nations of the world of the marvelous goodness and grace of God.
The transition from the judgment to the promise is abrupt. The sequence itself shows how God acts; he brings salvation and blessing out of the blackest despair. When it was restored, Jerusalem would be a means of bringing joy, praise, and honor to itself before all nations.
II. The Restoration of Joy and Thanks and Pastures and Flocks (33:10–13)
10 “Thus says the LORD: ‘Again there shall be heard in this place—of which you say, “It is desolate, without man and without beast”—in the cities of Judah, in the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate, without man and without inhabitant and without beast, 11 the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who will say:“Praise the LORD of hosts,For the LORD is good,For His mercy endures forever”—and of those who will bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD. For I will cause the captives of the land to return as at the first,’ says the LORD. 12 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘In this place which is desolate, without man and without beast, and in all its cities, there shall again be a dwelling place of shepherds causing their flocks to lie down. 13 In the cities of the mountains, in the cities of the lowland, in the cities of the South, in the land of Benjamin, in the places around Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, the flocks shall again pass under the hands of him who counts them,’ says the LORD.
A. Jerusalem is described as a desolate place, devoid of people or animals.
Although the verses describe the city in its state of devastation, Jerusalem would again become a bustling, joyful city. There would be a complete reversal of the judgment. The voices of bride and groom would be heard again, sounds that are associated with unrestrained celebration.
The temple would be rebuilt, and people would again bring their thank offerings to it. At the same time they would acknowledge that “the Lord is good; his love endures forever”. The description of Jerusalem’s future joy is paralleled by the joy that comes when the old life is exchanged for the new and abundant life in Christ.
B. Shepherds would once again find pastures where their flocks could rest.
The pasture lands, ruined by devastating judgment, would one day be full of flocks and herds, and the little towns would once more enjoy happiness.
Since these blessings didn’t come during the post-exilic period, we have to believe they’ll be realized when the Lord returns and restores His people and their land.
III. Restoration of the Davidic Dynasty and the Levitical Priesthood (33:14–26)
14 ‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘that I will perform that good thing which I have promised to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah:15 ‘In those days and at that time I will cause to grow up to David A Branch of righteousness; He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. 16 In those days Judah will be saved,And Jerusalem will dwell safely.And this is the name by which she will be called:THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS’ 17 “For thus says the LORD: ‘David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel; 18 nor shall the priests, the Levites, lack a man to offer burnt offerings before Me, to kindle grain offerings, and to sacrifice continually.’ ” 19 And the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying, 20 “Thus says the LORD: ‘If you can break My covenant with the day and My covenant with the night, so that there will not be day and night in their season, 21 then My covenant may also be broken with David My servant, so that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne, and with the Levites, the priests, My ministers. 22 As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured, so will I multiply the descendants of David My servant and the Levites who minister to Me.’ ” 23 Moreover the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying, 24 “Have you not considered what these people have spoken, saying, ‘The two families which the LORD has chosen, He has also cast them off’? Thus they have despised My people, as if they should no more be a nation before them. 25 “Thus says the LORD: ‘If My covenant is not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth, 26 then I will cast away the descendants of Jacob and David My servant, so that I will not take any of his descendants to be rulers over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For I will cause their captives to return, and will have mercy on them.’ ”
A. The time will come when God will fulfill “the gracious promise” he had made to Israel and Judah.
The verses promise the restoration of the Davidic dynasty. “A righteous Branch” of David’s family would do what is just and right, as contrasted with the many wicked kings who occupied the throne since David’s death. Under the leadership of this new ruler, Judah would be saved and the people would live in safety.
The city would be given a new name: “The LORD our righteousness.” The meaning of the new name is that Jerusalem would finally become what God intended for it to be all along—a city noted for its righteousness.
B. God affirmed that a descendant of David would always be on Israel’s throne.
Because no descendant of David has been on Israel’s throne for centuries, nor has Israel been a monarchy for centuries, one of several conclusions may be drawn from the promise.
One is that the promise has failed or that God changed his mind and withdrew the promise. Another is that Jeremiah was not a true prophet and was only speaking his own words. A third interpretation advocated by many is that Christ, a descendant of David through his earthly genealogy, is the fulfillment of this. The prophecy of Jeremiah, therefore, was not fulfilled completely with the restoration of Judah in the communities of Ezra and Nehemiah but is fulfilled in Jesus Christ (in his present reign and future return).
C. The greatest blessing of all will be their promised King reigning in righteousness!
Jeremiah already told us that His name is “The Lord our Righteousness,” but now God revealed that Jerusalem will bear the same name!
That certainly didn’t happen when the exiles returned to rebuild their temple and their city. Therefore, this promise is for the latter days. Then when people call Jerusalem “the holy city,” the name will be appropriate.