The theme of this chapter is much the same as that of the foregoing one – namely, to confirm the promise of the restoration of the Jews to their own homeland after the Babylonian exile, despite the present desolations of their country and the dispersions of their people. And these promises have a reference as far forward as to the Gospel-Church.
It is here promised that the city of Jerusalem would be rebuilt and re-established in its former state (verses 1-6). The captives, having their sins pardoned, would be restored to their homeland (verses 7-8); and this was to be very much for the glory of God (verse 9). Their country would then have both joy and plenty (verses 10-14). The prophet goes on to speak of the way that would be made for the coming of the Messiah (verses 15-16). The house of David, the house of Levi, and the house of Israel are all spoken of as flourishing again; for now all three would be permanently established in the spiritual Kingdom of Christ. Thus the Gospel-ministry and the Gospel-Church shall continue, as long as the world stands (verses 17-26).
These words from the Lord came to Jeremiah while he was shut up in prison. Yes, he was restrained from going in and out among his friends and neighbors, but there was no way for the king or the princes to prevent the prophet from communing with his God! The Lord told him, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not!” Those who expect to receive comforts from God must first call upon Him. Promises are not given to us so that we may do away with prayer and requests to our Lord; but rather, they are given so that we may be quickened and encouraged in prayer. The promises of God lead us to the Gospel of Jesus; and in that Gospel, He has revealed truth to direct us, and peace to make us at ease. All who are cleansed from the filth of sin, by pardoning mercy and sanctifying grace, are freed from the guilt of sin (verse 8). When sinners are thus justified, washed, and sanctified in the name of the Lord Jesus, they are enabled to walk before God in peace and purity. And where the Lord gives righteousness and peace, He will also give all necessary supplies for temporal needs; and all that we have will be comforts, for they will be sanctified by the Word of God and prayer.
Let us take a moment to direct our attention specifically to verse 13, which so plainly and so fully points to the Lord Jesus! When the prophet speaks concerning Him Who oversees the flocks, to Whom can he be referring except to Christ? Was it not He Who took down our names in the everlasting covenant when He bargained for our redemption, and when He received us from His Father? Did He not say, in the days of His earthly ministry, that all those whom the Father had given Him would indeed come to Him? And did He not pledge Himself to give eternal life to as many as the Father had given Him? Surely the words of this verse can be applied to none other! What a blessed confirmation of the rich mercy of God in Jesus!
To crown the blessings that God has in store for His children, the rest of this chapter (verses 15-26) contains promises concerning the Messiah! “In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land!” Yes, that “Branch of righteousness” is Christ Jesus! He imparts righteousness to His Church; He is our righteousness, our sanctification, and our redemption. And here, in verse 16, we behold the repetition of one phrase that we have seen before in chapter 23:6 – namely, “the Lord our Righteousness!” But when we compare these two Scripture-passages together, we cannot help noticing a slight variation in this passage from that which we had before. Here we read, “She shall be called, The Lord our Righteousness”; but in chapter 23, it was He Who was to be known by that name! Why is this? It is to show and prove that as the Lord Jesus, the Husband and Head of His Church and people, becomes “The Lord our Righteousness”; so also does the Church, as His Bride, take a part in all that belongs to Him – for she takes His own name upon herself! The truth of this is undeniable, and the preciousness and blessedness of it is beyond all calculation! The indissoluble oneness and unbreakable union between our Savior and our soul is indisputable.
But there’s more! The Messiah’s Gospel-Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom. David’s royal line (verses 17, 21, 22) culminated in his greater Son, Who sits upon the throne of the universe forever and ever. And just as the Lord’s covenant with David is hereby satisfied to all eternity, so also is His covenant with Levi fulfilled concerning the priesthood (verses 18, 21, 22); for all true believers are a holy and royal priesthood before God! Not only do they offer up spiritual sacrifices of praise, which are acceptable to the Lord; but they themselves are also presented before Him as living sacrifices that are entirely dedicat-ed and consecrated to His service. The promises of all these Old Testament covenants were to have their full accomplishment under the Gospel. Although it sometimes seems, to our limited vision, that the Lord has forsaken His people; we may rest assured that His covenant of mercy with all the spiritual descendants of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David stands more sure and secure than His unbreakable covenant with day and night! (verses 25-26)
Lord Jesus, we praise You as the “Branch of righteousness,” our righteousness, our sanctification, and our redemption; and we thank You that we – Your Bride – are united in marriage with You! Amen.
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