Time of Jacob’s Trouble (Jeremiah 30)

Scripture reading – Jeremiah 30

Continuing our study of Jeremiah, we come to a tragic chapter in Judah’s history. Already, many in Judah had been removed from the land and were living in captivity in Babylon. With the exception of the city of Jerusalem, Judah was occupied by Nebuchadnezzar’s army, and the soldiers of Babylon were positioned outside the city walls. The setting of Jeremiah 30 was one of despair, thus giving way to “The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying…Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book” (30:2).

Jeremiah 30

God’s message for His people was a promise that He had not forgotten His covenant with Israel. He promised the day would come when He would “cause them to return to the land that [He had given] to their fathers, and they [would] possess it” (30:3). For a perspective on that miraculous promise; the Jewish people alone, of all the ancient nations, remain as a distinctive people in our world today! Assyria is gone; Babylon is fallen; the Greek empire was annihilated; and Rome was destroyed as much by its depravity, as it was by the barbaric raiders that spoiled her cities. Yet, today the Jews inhabit the land of Israel!

Tribulation: Consequences of Sin and Disobedience (30:4-9)

Remember, prophecy often carries an immediate application and a far-reaching implication. Jeremiah 30:4-9 described Judah’s immediate sorrows, and gave a far-reaching promise of hope and restoration. The prophet addressed Israel and Judah, and reminded the people how their wickedness had brought upon them the afflictions in which they found themselves.

Students of prophecy are familiar with the phrase, “time of Jacob’s [Israel’s] trouble” (30:7), for it is a prophetic description of the Great Tribulation, just before the Second Coming of Christ (Matthew 24:21-31; Mark 13:19-27; Revelation 7:14). Describing the time of tribulation, we have a scene of war (“trembling…fear, and not of peace”, 30:5). The sounds of battle, were likened to “travail with child” and a scene of death (“faces turned into paleness,” 30:6). The tribulation will be a great and terrible day for the world. Yet, the LORD promised, Israel “shall be saved out of it” (30:7b).

Returning to an immediate implication of the prophecy, Jeremiah prophesied concerning Israel and Judah that the LORD would “break his [Babylon’s] yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds [ropes; chains] (30:8). Jeremiah 30:9 is still future, and will not be fulfilled until Christ returns to reign in Jerusalem as “King of kings, LORD of lords” (Revelations 17:14; 19:16). Then Israel will “serve the Lord their God, And David their king, whom [God] will raise up unto them” (30:9).

Promise of Vindication and Restoration (30:10-12)

Speaking to those in captivity, Jeremiah encouraged them to not give into fear, and anxiety (30:10). Though all seemed lost from a human perspective, the LORD assured His people, “I will save thee…And Jacob [Israel] shall return, And shall be in rest, and be quiet, And none shall make him afraid. 11For I am with thee, saith the Lord, to save thee” (30:10-11a). Though the LORD had used the nations to punish and scatter Israel and Judah for their sins, He promised He would not allow them to be vanquished as the other nations (30:11-12).

Sadness and Solitude (30:14-16)

Rather than turn to the LORD, Israel and Judah had foolishly looked to other nations (“thy lovers”) to ally themselves against Assyria and Babylon (30:13-14). When the people needed help, none of those nations answered their cry (30:13-14). While the focus of Jerusalem and Judah was arrested by Babylon, Jeremiah reminded the people their sufferings were because of their sins, and the LORD Himself declared, “I have done these things unto thee” (30:15).

Compassionate Restoration (30:17-24)

I conclude today’s devotional with good news, for Jeremiah declared the LORD would heal His people of their sorrows (30:17). Jerusalem would be rebuilt, repopulated, and joy would be restored (30:18). The Jewish people would increase (30:18), and the government would be restored (30:21). God would re-new His covenant with Israel, and they would be His people, and He their God (30:22).

Though still in captivity and oppressed by the heathen, Jeremiah declared the LORD in His wrath would come upon the enemies of His people like a whirlwind, and the nations that oppressed Israel and Judah would fall (30:23-24).

Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith

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