Day 134: The Reversal of the Captivity of Judah

Jeremiah 31:23-30

Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Yet again they will use this speech in the land of Judah and in its cities, when I reverse their captivity: ‘Yahweh bless you, habitation of righteousness, mountain of holiness.’ Judah and all its cities will dwell therein together, the farmers, and those who go about with flocks. For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul.”

On this I awakened, and saw; and my sleep was sweet to me.

“Behold, the days come,” says Yahweh, “that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man and with the seed of animal. It will happen that, like as I have watched over them to pluck up and to break down and to overthrow and to destroy and to afflict, so I will watch over them to build and to plant,” says Yahweh. “In those days they will say no more,
“ ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes,
and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’
But everyone will die for his own iniquity. Every man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth will be set on edge.

You can imagine that Jeremiah had trouble sleeping. God had given him a horrible glimpse into the future; one that involved the annihilation of his people. God had also allowed him to be hated by his own people including being disowned by his own family members. He even had people who wanted to kill him, but it appears that the thing that really kept him up at night was the fact that God’s wonderful plan for Jerusalem and His people Israel was stopping. So, what we have in this chapter is God making it extremely clear that God’s plan for Jerusalem and for Israel was not coming to a complete end. In fact, God intended to make things much better. Here we read that this revelation made it into the heart of Jermiah because he wrote here: “On this I awakened, and saw; and my sleep was sweet to me.” God told Jeremiah that He intended to “reverse” the captivity of Judah. God even refers to himself as: “the God of Israel.” It wouldn’t make sense for God to refer to Himself as the God of those He rejects. Jeremiah was obviously very concerned about God’s people and God’s land and perhaps even panicked when he heard of God’s intention to destroy them. God made sure to help His prophet through these thoughts so that his mind would be at ease. This same God helps us in our times of distress too.

The next section of this passage tells us that the future kingdom of Israel will be governed differently. The current kingdom allowed the children of those who sinned to suffer for their father’s errors. This is clearly not God’s intention and I believe that this is caused by poor government leaders. The reason I make this assertion is because I believe that God is referring to the future messianic kingdom of Israel here. One of the amazing things about the reign of Jesus on earth will be the difference in the speed and precision of justice. The Bible tells us that Jesus will rule with a rod of iron. He won’t be a passive leader at all. The Bible indicates that sinners will get caught immediately under Jesus’ rule. This won’t allow children to be affected by their parent’s sin anymore. There won’t be time for them to learn how to sin from their parents before the parents are publicly exposed and shamed. This may not be what people are expecting of Jesus in His leadership role, but I don’t see how it could mean anything else at this point. I don’t believe that there will be “death row.” People will probably die the day after they murder someone else and children will be given good fathers in their place. It’s hard to imagine Jesus ruling in our time isn’t it? But we should spend some time considering it because Jesus will eventually rule over this sinful world. I may not be right about what this is referring to, but I do know that Jesus will return and rule over this earth for 1000 years and we will see justice like we have never seen before.