Now therefore Yahweh, the God of Israel, says concerning this city, about which you say, “It is given into the hand of the king of Babylon by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence:” “Behold, I will gather them out of all the countries where I have driven them in my anger, and in my wrath, and in great indignation; and I will bring them again to this place. I will cause them to dwell safely. Then they will be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their good and the good of their children after them. I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from following them, to do them good. I will put my fear in their hearts, that they may not depart from me. Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul.”
For Yahweh says: “Just as I have brought all this great evil on this people, so I will bring on them all the good that I have promised them. Fields will be bought in this land, about which you say, ‘It is desolate, without man or animal. It is given into the hand of the Chaldeans.’ Men will buy fields for money, sign the deeds, seal them, and call witnesses, in the land of Benjamin, and in the places around Jerusalem, in the cities of Judah, in the cities of the hill country, in the cities of the lowland, and in the cities of the South; for I will cause their captivity to be reversed,” says Yahweh.
In our old flesh, when punished, it’s hard to imagine that God would ever want anything good for us again. In my experience, I’m first tempted to think that God has been impressed with the good things I do. I conveniently ignore the bad things and think that God is overlooking them too. When punishment comes for the bad things, I realize just how bad I have been and wonder how God could ever give good again. The problem, here, is that I am thinking that God is blessing me for the good I have done without realizing that the bad that I have done has spoiled the good. There’s only one way to be saved and that is for God to make a provision for my sin so that He can ignore it. Then, He must change my heart so that I can actually do the good that I’m supposed to be doing. This is the very plan that God had for Israel in phase two. He was telling Jeremiah: “Just as I have brought all this great evil on this people, so I will bring on them all the good that I have promised them.” It’s good to note that the second phase of God’s plan is the last one. He clearly says that this covenant will be an everlasting covenant. When God solves the sin problem inside of the Israelis, it will be permanent.
God said: “I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever,” and “I will put my fear in their hearts, that they may not depart from me.” The old “solution” never worked. It’s not that God had to try it first and see, He knew it didn’t work, but I believe the point is that we don’t realize that it won’t work. We tend to think that we are good enough to manage our own destiny. We think that we can be good if we just decide to be good. Israel’s destruction demonstrates for all time, that man cannot be good enough to save himself. What we need is a God who has the power to reverse our captivity to sin and keep us forever.