Jeremiah 30-33 are often called “The Book of Consolation” or “The Book of Comfort”. These chapters are such a contrast because they are filled with hope and the coming restoration. Looking at Jeremiah 30, we find three distinct segments. These segments are divided by the words, “Thus says the LORD” in verses 5, 12 and 18. Stepping back with a broad lens it becomes apparent that the first two sections are similar, though not the same, but the third section is quite different. The truth is the chapter actually shows the progression of God’s restoration for his people. Let’s watch the progressive restorative process and realize that God’s goal is always restoration for his people.
Beginning of Restoration – Jeremiah 30:5-11
The first thing to understand, as the text demonstrates, is that restoration is a process. It does not happen all at once. Verse 8 says, “And it shall come to pass in that day, declares the Lord of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off your neck, and I will burst your bonds, and foreigners shall no more make a servant of him.” This means the yoke or slavery you are bound to is broken. God must first break off what you are yoked to. This whole first section is talking about fear and verse 10 explicitly talks about the release of fear. Fear is a good example and can be “yoked” to you. To experience the freedom of Christ, first he breaks off fear and other bondage to restore you. It does not matter if we are talking about salvation or sanctification (the process of becoming more like Christ), the process of restoration always begins with the breaking of bondage. This may seem simple, but this is important to realize because for the fullness of restoration to occur, God’s freedom from bondage must come first.
Second Stage of Restoration – Jeremiah 30:-12-17
In the second segment of Jeremiah 30, it deals extensively with the many sins of the people of God. However, the text takes a sharp turn in verse 16-17.
Therefore all who devour you shall be devoured,
and all your foes, every one of them, shall go into captivity;
those who plunder you shall be plundered,
and all who prey on you I will make a prey.
For I will restore health to you,
and your wounds I will heal,
All the oppressors of the people become oppressed and plundered. And God promises to restore the people to health and heal their wounds. This shows the second stage of restoration. How do we know? Well, just because bondage is broken does not mean you are healed or that your enemy becomes your friend. It is important to understand that restorative healing is not the same as breaking bondage. They are two very different ideas and processes. Do you remember the return of the unclean spirit in Matthew 12.
“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first.” Matthew 12:43-45
This shows that the breaking of bondage leaves a person in a very interesting position. They must fill themselves with the Word to become whole. The breaking of the yoke in itself does not fully restore you. The breaking of the yoke comes first, then the healing process can begin. So, this second stage is God changing circumstances with those who oppress you and bringing health and healing to your past wounds.
Before we move to the final stage, I want to give a practical example. Most of us have experienced some type of pain in relationships, such as backbiting, slander, mistreatment and the like. No one is immune to these things both inside and outside the Body of Christ. Now after you have gone through this type of experience and it is over, are you suddenly healed? No, you’re not. The bondage or bad experience is over (broken), but the healing process may take a year or two or … God’s perfect restoration is a process with very specific restorative processes happening at specific times along the way.
The good news is there’s a wonderful final stage of restoration – Get ready because this shows how spectacularly awesome our God is.
Final Restoration – Jeremiah 30:18-24
What is great about this last segment of the chapter is that it is so different. There is no discussion about sin or bondage, only restoration at the highest level.
Verse 18 begins, “Behold, I will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob and have compassion on his dwellings; the city shall be rebuilt on its mound, and the palace shall stand where it used to be.” The third segment starts with restoration, compassion, and then quickly moves to rebuilding the city and palace. Rebuilding the city means restoring the entire nation and the palace could mean the king’s house, but more likely means rebuilding the temple. We can already see this is an entirely different level of restoration. Verse 19 tells us that there will be thanksgiving and celebration, and that God will multiply and honor (or glorify) his people. Verse 20 goes on to say the children will be restored and the people will be established before God. Verse 21 tells of the prince or leader drawing near to God and verse 22 says, “And you shall be my people, and I will be your God.” Now that is the perfect restoration of God for his people. However, there is another caveat. In verse 23-24 it demonstrates the wrath of God against the wicked using very strong language such as, “whirling tempest”, “fierce anger of the Lord”, and “burst upon the head of the wicked”. This type of language is not used in the previous two sections and reveals the culmination of God’s restorative process. If there is an oppressor, then God will bring forth his justice. The language of the last two verses confirm this as does other scripture (Proverbs 6:31). So the fullness of God’s restoration is thanksgiving, celebration, joy, multiplication, honor and the glorification of his people. But it is also God crushing the oppressors of his people. Both are marks of God’s justice and his restorative process.
Be encouraged even in difficult days, for God has declared, “I will restore the fortunes of my people.” That is a personal and authoritative declaration by our Sovereign God – it is true, it is right, and it will happen!