Promises of Deliverance
30 The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, 2 “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Write down for the record everything I have said to you, Jeremiah. 3 For the time is coming when I will restore the fortunes of my people of Israel and Judah. I will bring them home to this land that I gave to their ancestors, and they will possess it again. I, the Lord, have spoken!”
4 This is the message the Lord gave concerning Israel and Judah. 5 This is what the Lord says:
“I hear cries of fear;
there is terror and no peace.
Now let me ask you a question:
Do men give birth to babies?
Then why do they stand there, ashen-faced,
hands pressed against their sides
like a woman in labor?
In all history there has never been such a time of terror.
It will be a time of trouble for my people Israel.[a]
Yet in the end they will be saved!
For in that day,”
says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
“I will break the yoke from their necks
and snap their chains.
Foreigners will no longer be their masters.
For my people will serve the Lord their God
and their king descended from David—
the king I will raise up for them.
“So do not be afraid, Jacob, my servant;
do not be dismayed, Israel,”
says the Lord.
“For I will bring you home again from distant lands,
and your children will return from their exile.
Israel will return to a life of peace and quiet,
and no one will terrorize them.
For I am with you and will save you,”
says the Lord.
“I will completely destroy the nations where I have scattered you,
but I will not completely destroy you.
I will discipline you, but with justice;
I cannot let you go unpunished.”
This is what the Lord says:
“Your injury is incurable—
a terrible wound.
There is no one to help you
or to bind up your injury.
No medicine can heal you.
All your lovers—your allies—have left you
and do not care about you anymore.
I have wounded you cruelly,
as though I were your enemy.
For your sins are many,
and your guilt is great.
Why do you protest your punishment—
this wound that has no cure?
I have had to punish you
because your sins are many
and your guilt is great.
“But all who devour you will be devoured,
and all your enemies will be sent into exile.
All who plunder you will be plundered,
and all who attack you will be attacked.
I will give you back your health
and heal your wounds,” says the Lord.
“For you are called an outcast—
‘Jerusalem[b] for whom no one cares.’”
This is what the Lord says:
“When I bring Israel home again from captivity
and restore their fortunes,
Jerusalem will be rebuilt on its ruins,
and the palace reconstructed as before.
There will be joy and songs of thanksgiving,
and I will multiply my people, not diminish them;
I will honor them, not despise them.
Their children will prosper as they did long ago.
I will establish them as a nation before me,
and I will punish anyone who hurts them.
They will have their own ruler again,
and he will come from their own people.
I will invite him to approach me,” says the Lord,
“for who would dare to come unless invited?
You will be my people,
and I will be your God.”
Look! The Lord’s anger bursts out like a storm,
a driving wind that swirls down on the heads of the wicked.
The fierce anger of the Lord will not diminish
until it has finished all he has planned.
In the days to come
you will understand all this.
Hope for Restoration
31 “In that day,” says the Lord, “I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they will be my people. 2 This is what the Lord says:
“Those who survive the coming destruction
will find blessings even in the barren land,
for I will give rest to the people of Israel.”
Long ago the Lord said to Israel:
“I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.
With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.
I will rebuild you, my virgin Israel.
You will again be happy
and dance merrily with your tambourines.
Again you will plant your vineyards on the mountains of Samaria
and eat from your own gardens there.
The day will come when watchmen will shout
from the hill country of Ephraim,
‘Come, let us go up to Jerusalem[c]
to worship the Lord our God.’”
Now this is what the Lord says:
“Sing with joy for Israel.[d]
Shout for the greatest of nations!
Shout out with praise and joy:
‘Save your people, O Lord,
the remnant of Israel!’
For I will bring them from the north
and from the distant corners of the earth.
I will not forget the blind and lame,
the expectant mothers and women in labor.
A great company will return!
Tears of joy will stream down their faces,
and I will lead them home with great care.
They will walk beside quiet streams
and on smooth paths where they will not stumble.
For I am Israel’s father,
and Ephraim is my oldest child.
“Listen to this message from the Lord,
you nations of the world;
proclaim it in distant coastlands:
The Lord, who scattered his people,
will gather them and watch over them
as a shepherd does his flock.
For the Lord has redeemed Israel
from those too strong for them.
They will come home and sing songs of joy on the heights of Jerusalem.
They will be radiant because of the Lord’s good gifts—
the abundant crops of grain, new wine, and olive oil,
and the healthy flocks and herds.
Their life will be like a watered garden,
and all their sorrows will be gone.
The young women will dance for joy,
and the men—old and young—will join in the celebration.
I will turn their mourning into joy.
I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing.
The priests will enjoy abundance,
and my people will feast on my good gifts.
I, the Lord, have spoken!”
Rachel’s Sadness Turns to Joy
15 This is what the Lord says:
“A cry is heard in Ramah—
deep anguish and bitter weeping.
Rachel weeps for her children,
refusing to be comforted—
for her children are gone.”
But now this is what the Lord says:
“Do not weep any longer,
for I will reward you,” says the Lord.
“Your children will come back to you
from the distant land of the enemy.
There is hope for your future,” says the Lord.
“Your children will come again to their own land.
I have heard Israel[e] saying,
‘You disciplined me severely,
like a calf that needs training for the yoke.
Turn me again to you and restore me,
for you alone are the Lord my God.
I turned away from God,
but then I was sorry.
I kicked myself for my stupidity!
I was thoroughly ashamed of all I did in my younger days.’
“Is not Israel still my son,
my darling child?” says the Lord.
“I often have to punish him,
but I still love him.
That’s why I long for him
and surely will have mercy on him.
Set up road signs;
put up guideposts.
Mark well the path
by which you came.
Come back again, my virgin Israel;
return to your towns here.
How long will you wander,
my wayward daughter?
For the Lord will cause something new to happen—
Israel will embrace her God.[f]”
23 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “When I bring them back from captivity, the people of Judah and its towns will again say, ‘The Lord bless you, O righteous home, O holy mountain!’ 24 Townspeople and farmers and shepherds alike will live together in peace and happiness. 25 For I have given rest to the weary and joy to the sorrowing.”
26 At this, I woke up and looked around. My sleep had been very sweet.