(21 verses, 3:49 to read)
What I am about to READ
- God commands Jeremiah to be a living illustration what will befall Judah, but He also promises to rescue a remnant.
- vv. 1-4: This is the Lord’s Word to Jeremiah warning of the disaster that will come upon children born in the land, demonstrating the extent of the Lord’s anger over their sins.
- vv. 5-9: This is the Lord’s Word concerning the consolation of sinners. Because of their hardness of heart, no peace will be given to those who mourn.
- vv. 10-13: The Lord expressly reveals the reason for His anger toward His people.
- vv. 14-21: But the Lord’s anger does not last forever. He promises to restore Israel.
- This passage from Jeremiah is an excellent master course in distinguishing Law and Gospel. The first half of the text (vv. 1-13) detail the curse that the people had brought upon themselves because of their sins. This shows us that all wickedness is a result of sin, both of our own and of the sin of the world. However, we cannot know this on our own, that is, naturally. We must have God’s Word of Law applied to us directly. Without this application, we may become puffed up, thinking that any disaster we see is a result of sinners worse than me, or we might fall into despair, thinking that God has a personal vendetta against me. We do well to remember our Lord’s preaching concerning the tower of Siloam and the blood Pilate mingled with the sacrifices in Jerusalem (Luke 13:1-5). There, our Lord reminds us that we deserve punishment, both temporal and eternal, for our sins. The proper response lies between pride and despair–that is, in repentance and faith.
- But the Law serves the purpose of leading us to the Gospel. God does not desire to leave us in our sin, because He does not desire the death of the sinner. Here, He promises to gather the faithful back to Himself. He uses the imagery of hunters and fishers, which is likely in the background of Jesus’ call of the apostles in Luke 5.
- Take note of who is doing the action here! It is the Lord who brings the people out of the north country (v. 15). It is the Lord who sends out the fishers and hunters (v. 16). Whenever we see texts about the office of the ministry, we ought to recall that it is the Lord Himself who works through the men He sends to bind sins to unrepentant sinners and loose sins from those who repent.
- Finally, the Lord assures His hearers that He will doubly repay the people for their sins (v. 18). This is language similar to Isaiah 40:2, where the Lord promises to give double for the sins of the people. Ultimately, this wrath is poured out entirely on Christ at the cross. There, He bears the wrath of God for our sins. It is in the crucifixion that we see how God regards our sins. But it is also in the crucifixion that we see the depth of God’s love for sinners. There, in the broken body and shed blood of Christ Jesus, is a double payment for our sins. Jesus does not simply pay enough to make up for our sins, but He pours so much grace upon us that our cups overflow.
- Prayer: Lord God, Heavenly Father, do not discipline us in wrath, but bring us to repent of our sins and believe in the Gospel proclaimed to us through the preaching of the Word. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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-Rev. Jordan McKinley, pastor
Trinity Lutheran Church, Vallonia, IN
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