Our reading today begins during the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem (32:2). Jeremiah is in prison (v. 2) for prophesying that Jerusalem will fall to Nebuchadnezzar (v. 3). We see that Zedekiah has a personal stake in this – he doesn’t like what Jeremiah prophesied about him (vv. 4-5). In response, Jeremiah tells Zedekiah a story. God had spoken to the prophet and told him of events that were about to come to pass (vv. 6-7), and they did (v. 8). Jeremiah says that this is how he knew it was the word of YHWH. But he already knew that. The point is that he is telling Zedekiah that he will know the word of YHWH is true when it comes to pass.
Jeremiah then tells of his obedience to YHWH in buying the field (v. 9). He does it legally and publicly (vv. 10-12). And he tells Baruch his assistant to make sure he preserves the deed (vv. 13-14), because YHWH will bring Judah back to their land (v. 15). Then, Jeremiah tells Zedekiah that he prayed for understanding (vv. 16-25). Sometimes, we don’t understand how God works, after all. Yet Jeremiah’s faith is still in YHWH. Just as God saved Israel and gave them the land (vv. 20-23) and then because of their disobedience is removing them from the land (vv. 23-24), in the same way, just because He is removing them from the land doesn’t mean He can’t restore them to the land.
And that is what YHWH tells Jeremiah. There is nothing He can’t do (v. 27). And He is the One behind the siege (v. 28). Judah will be punished for worshiping false gods (v. 29), which they have done from the beginning (vv. 30-35). So He is removing them from His presence (v. 31). And yet, God will restore them. He will call His people back to Him (vv. 37-38). He will be their God and they will be His people. The heart He will give them (v. 39) is the heart that the Law is written on. The everlasting covenant He will make with them is the New Covenant. This is the promise of 31:33. This is the restoration of the spiritual people. This is what Jeremiah was missing.
In chapter 33, we see that while Jeremiah is still in prison, YHWH speaks to him again (33:1). He wants to fill Jeremiah in on what he’s been missing (v. 3). God has forsaken the physical people (v. 5). But not His spiritual people that are among them. They have wounds that can be healed, and will be healed (v. 6 – see 30:12-17). He will restore their fortunes (v. 7 – see 30:18). He will remove their sin and remember it no more (v. 8 – see 31:34). And the spiritual Jerusalem will praise and glory in God before all the nations of the earth, and the nations will “hear of all the good” (receive the good news) through the spiritual Jerusalem (v. 9).
God will restore the place He has made a wasteland (v. 10 – see 32:43) – He will undo what He swore to do in 7:34 (v. 11). They will sing the refrain of God’s people (see 30:19). In place of the wasteland, God will place shepherds (kings – v. 12). He will return the people to the land and restore their fortunes (see 32:44) under the hands of “the one who counts them” – the One Who is their Shepherd (King).
And Who is this King? He is the righteous Branch of David (v. 15 – see 23:5). In those days, God’s people will be saved and Jerusalem (spiritual Jerusalem!) will dwell securely (v. 16). And we will be called after His name. He is called “YHWH is our righteousness” (23:6), and “it” (Jerusalem – the church) will be called “YHWH is our righteousness.” We are the people called by His name (see Isa 43:6-7, 65:1, Amos 9:11-12, Acts 15:13-17). And this King will fulfill the covenant with David (v. 17), and He will be our Priest (v. 18), because the covenant with David cannot be broken (vv. 20-21). And His people will fulfill the promise to Abraham (v. 22 – see Gen 22:17, Gal 3:7). The physical people may be rejected (v. 24), yet God’s promise is not broken (vv. 25-26), and the Greater Son of David will be the King of the true (spiritual) offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob!