The Scriptorium

A Complete End

For many nations, but not for God's people. Jeremiah 46-48

Pray Psalm 78.1-4.
Give ear, O my people, to my law;
Incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings of old,
Which we have heard and known,
And our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children,
Telling to the generation to come the praises of the LORD,
And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.

Sing Psalm 78.1-4.
(Foundation: How Firm a Foundation)
Give ear, O my people, attend to my word,
dark sayings and parables sent from the Lord,
things we have before by our fathers been told,
which we would not dare from our children withhold.

Review Jeremiah chapters 46-48; meditate on 46.27, 28.

Prepare.
1. What reason might the people of God have had to be afraid of what was going on around them?

2. Why did God say they should not fear?

Meditate.
For forty years Jeremiah had been prophesying the destruction and captivity of the nations. Isaiah and Micah before him had done the same, as had Amos and many other faithful prophets of God.

Now, in these waning days of Jeremiah’s ministry, what he prophesied was beginning to occur. On every hand, the ancient enemies of Israel – Egypt, Philistia, Edom, Moab, Ammon, Syria – were being crushed by the mighty power of the Babylonian armies. The people who had fled to Egypt, in whose presence these last chapters of Jeremiah’s work unfold, had experienced the same. They feared the Babylonians, which is why they fled to Egypt, hoping to escape Nebuchadnezzar’s wrath.

But their fear was misplaced. If only they’d feared God and held fast to His Word – as Jeremiah had long been calling them to do – none of this trouble would have come upon them. God could reach His people for judgment even in Egypt, and His chosen means for doing so there would be the same as He had used against Jerusalem – Nebuchadnezzar.

But God would not forsake His people. After the Babylonians had wrought their destruction, many of the nations surrounding Israel would be gone forever. But God promised His people that He would save them, even though they were scattered far from their homeland (Jer. 46.27). He would bring them back from captivity to a time of rest and ease (v. 27). He would remove all their fears; and though He would make “a complete end” of many nations, He would not do so for Israel (v. 28). A time of discipline and correction was in order (v. 28); but when that was done, God would restore His people to their land, and He would come to be with them always (v. 28).

The post-exilic period in Israel – reported by Ezra, Nehemiah, and various minor prophets – would be a partial fulfilling of this promise. They would rebuild the temple, God’s dwelling-place, but their “rest and ease” would last only until the Romans came and put them in subjection to Caesar.

And this would set the stage for the complete fulfillment of God’s promise. For, as Daniel foresaw (Dan. 2.44, 45; 7.13-18), it would be during this period that God would set up His eternal Kingdom on earth, with His own Son as King and all His saints as citizens and ambassadors. And He would be with them by His Spirit, and usher in the last days (Joel 2.28ff; Acts 2.16-21). During this time the Kingdom of God would increase in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14.17, 18; Dan 2.44, 45), bringing rest and ease in the Person of Immanuel, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who dwells with us always, even to the end of the age (Matt. 28.20).

Reflect.
1. In what sense would God be “with” His people to fulfill this promise? How do you experience Him with you always?

2. If we fear God, will we have to fear anything else? Explain.

3. Does God still “correct” His people today? How?

The Prophet now directs his discourse to the Israelites; for we have already said that he was not appointed a teacher to heathen nations. Whatever, then, he spoke of heathen nations had a reference to the benefit of his people; and for this purpose, as we have said, the Prophets extended their prophecies respecting God's judgments to all nations; for otherwise the Israelites would have been disheartened, as though their condition was worse than that of others. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Jeremiah 48.27

Lord, I know that You are with me, and will be with me throughout this day as I…

Pray Psalm 78.5-16.

Thank God for His many good works on your behalf, especially in sending Immanuel to save and keep you. Pray for an opportunity to tell someone about Him today.

Sing Psalm 78.5-16.
Psalm 78.5-16 (Foundation: How Firm a Foundation)
The glorious deeds of our God in His might,
and all of the works He has done in our sight,
together with all of the words of His Law,
would we on ourselves and our children bestow.

Lord, let all our children arise and declare
the truth of the Lord every day, everywhere,
and set all their hopes in God’s wonderful Word,
and never forget all the works of the Lord.

Our fathers were stubborn; they would not obey;
when faced with their foes they in fear turned away.
God’s work of redemption they wholly despised,
forgetting the pow’r He had shown to their eyes.

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore