(Taken from Awaiting the Christ Child—DECEMBER 1-21 NOW AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD)
December 18th: Jeremiah & The Hope for the Exiles
Who is the most powerful person you know? A President? A King? A Ruler? What if God gave you the power to say one word and cause the most powerful rulers, kings, and nations of the world to fall? That is exactly what God did for his prophet Jeremiah:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations…Behold, I have put my words in your mouth. See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.” –Jeremiah 1:5,10
Jeremiah was just a teenager, and he was given power over nations and kingdoms. He would speak God’s Word and see the rise and fall of the most powerful armies and peoples and kings in the world! Unfortunately, God told Jeremiah to speak judgment on his own land, on his own people, on his own king, on his own priests…on everyone he knew. Even Jerusalem, the place of God’s presence with his people would experience God’s judgment.
God’s people would be ruined like a piece of cloth rotted by mold, worms, and mildew, worthless like a piece of spoiled clay in the hands of the potter, and smashed like a piece of pottery hurled to the ground. Jeremiah watched as his own king and most of his people were dragged off as exiles to the foreign land of Babylon to serve a foreign king. He watched as the city he loved was burned to the ground.
Tears filled Jeremiah’s eyes as his terrible words came true. He must have felt like God was undoing everything he had done—all of the promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Exodus of God’s people, the conquest of the Promised Land, the covenant with David. The hope of the Christ Child was all but over. But then God began to give Jeremiah a new message:
“Behold, days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel and Judah, says the LORD, and I will bring them back to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall take possession of it…Just as I have brought all this great disaster upon this people, so I will bring upon them all the good that I promise them.” –Jeremiah 30:3, 32:42
God had not forgotten his promises! The Christ Child was still coming! God promised that He would establish a new covenant with His people, and He would “remember their sin no more” (Jeremiah 31:34). The people needed to be freed from exile. They had been sent away from the presence of God, and they needed the Christ Child to lead them back to God. Just as the Babylonians captured God’s people like with a fishnet and carried them off into captivity, the Christ Child would send fishers of men to gather up his broken people to lead them back to the presence of God, and God would “make with them an everlasting covenant” (Jeremiah 32:40).