A Summary of Jeremiah 30 – 35

Jeremiah 30-35

Jeremiah 30–34:7 | Book of Encouragement

And at this point — having summarized Jeremiah 1-6, 7-20, 21-26, and 27-29 — you need to admit that things are looking pretty bleak. Sin has brought God’s punishment and no one is getting out of this unscathed.

But this is exactly where God nuances his tone a bit. In Jeremiah 30-34:7 God still does recognize his need of judging the sinful rebels in Judah. But he looks beyond that immediate judgement to a time of restoration. And it’s for this reason that these 4-plus chapters are often called in the academic literature on Jeremiah the Book of Consolation or the Book of Encouragement. And within this larger Book of Encouragement there are a few sub-sections.

Jeremiah 30:1-3 | Introduction

Jeremiah 30:1-3 serve as a short introduction to this Book of Encouragement.

Jeremiah 30:4-31 | Concerning Israel & Judah

Following that to the end of chapter 31 we have Encouragements Concerning Israel and Judah. God gives prophecies of future restoration and a new covenant with Israel and Judah in the midst of his current punishment for their sin.

Jeremiah 32 | Jeremiah Redeems a Field

Then in Jeremiah 32 we have a story about Jeremiah Redeeming a Field.

As a continuation of the book of consolation, Jeremiah is told by God to buy a field in Anathoth from his relative – though Jeremiah himself is in prison. God is signifying by this that in the future God will restore Judah to its land and that people will buy fields once again.

This is all in the context of the last year before Jerusalem was taken by Babylon.

Jeremiah 33 | David, Levi, & Jacob Will Never End

Next in Jeremiah 33 God promises that David, Levi, & Jacob Will Never End.

Jeremiah – still imprisoned like he was in the last chapter – receives word from the Lord that God will restore Judah. In particular, he will restore the cities of Judah and preserve sons of David and sons of the Levites to minister to himself.

Also promised – just like in chapter 23 – is the coming of the Righteous Branch of David.

Jeremiah 34:1-7 | Zedekiah Will Not Die

And the last part of this Book of Encouragement is in Jeremiah 34:1-7 where God says that Zedekiah Will Not Die.

In the midst of the great siege of Babylon against Jerusalem, God sends Jeremiah to King Zedekiah to relay a message. The message is that God will not allow Zedekiah to die. Zedekiah will lose to Nebuchadnezzar, but he will live and even have a decent burial.

And that ends the Book of Encouragement.

Jeremiah 34–35 | Promise Keeping

Then in the rest of Jeremiah 34 and to the end of 35 we’re taught The Importance of Keeping Promises. And this breaks into two sub-sections.

Jeremiah 34:8-22 | Jubilee Covenant Violated

First in Jeremiah 34:8-22 we see The Jubilee Covenant Violated.

King Zedekiah and the officials in Jerusalem apparently released their Hebrew servants in keeping with the law of Jubilee. But it seems that when Nebuchadnezzar left briefly they took their servants back by force.

God was not pleased that they broke the covenant they made with their former servants in keeping with Jubilee. So God promises to destroy them.

Jeremiah 35 | Rechabites

And then the second section that teaches the importance of keeping promises – Jeremiah 35 where we see the Rechabites’ Obedience.

In contrast to the broken covenant of Zedekiah’s day just previously related, the Rechabites obeyed a relatively obscure command of their ancestor to not drink wine. They serve as an example to Judah of how to obey.

And yet Judah has not obeyed God like the Rechabites obeyed their ancestor. So God needs to punish Judah. But the Rechabites will always have someone to stand before God as a result of their obedience.

Reasons to Study the Book of Jeremiah

Reasons to Study Jeremiah

Why should we as New Testament Christians study the Old Testament book of the Jewish prophet Jeremiah? I have several reasons.

Jeremiah is Scripture

The normal answer of 2 Timothy 3:16 applies here, of course. The book of Jeremiah is part of the all Scripture which is inspired or breathed-out by God. And because of that, it’s profitable for us to know and believe and practice.

Jeremiah is Applicable

But beyond that and probably because of that first point, the book of Jeremiah is very much applicable for us today.

Judah Was Greatly Blessed by God

Jeremiah was ministering in a culture that had seen great blessings from God. The Jews had God’s Scripture, his ministers, and times of prosperity sent by him.

Our western culture is similar. Beyond the material blessing with which God has showered us, he’s also sent religious revivals in times past. He’s allowed us great access to his word. He’s given us good ministers.

We’re blessed, just like — and maybe more so than — the nation of Israel was in the Old Testament.

Judah Rebelled Greatly Against God

But amazingly, Jeremiah also found himself in a day of almost total apostasy. God’s people were in bad shape. True and undefiled religion had fallen upon hard times in his days.

And we find ourselves in exactly that position. You do believe that, don’t you? We’re in the midst of a nation that is openly antagonistic to God — on the one hand — or at best a nation that holds to a form of godliness but denies its power.

Apostolic teaching is mocked.

Just like happened to Jesus on the Sea of Galilee after casting out the legion of demons from that man, our leaders have urged God out of our presence.

Judah Deserved Punishment

And any time you have a nation which has been given unusual blessings — and has responded with unusual rebellion against the giver of all of those gifts — you are going to have punishment. That’s obviously what Jeremiah was living in and experiencing. God was punishing his nation.

And again we know what that’s like. We are a nation that is experiencing God’s punishment.

Our nation seems more divided than ever. Do you think that just happens? No, it’s a result of the Lord letting us go to have our own way.

The church is less and less influential. The church is more and more worldly and – for the purpose of glorifying God in this world – near worthless. The salt has by-and-large lost its savor.

Sexual perversion. Infanticide. Economic instability. Threats of violence at home and abroad.

Unless we’re all a bunch of atheists reading this, we cannot deny that God is in some way or another bringing these things to this nation because of our rebellion against him.

Let’s Learn from the Past

And this is why the book of Jeremiah is so helpful to us. How did the godly Jeremiah respond to the troubling realities of his day? We’re experiencing some troubles that are strangely similar to what Jeremiah experienced. Maybe the way that Jeremiah responds to these things can inform our response.

Maybe the progression (or regression) of things in Jeremiah’s day will inform our thinking regarding what to expect in the coming days.

And I hope that all of it moves us to trust the Lord more and walk with him closer.

Jeremiah is Biographical

The book of Jeremiah is so biographical. It seems that he expresses so much more of his experience and his feelings about what’s going on around him than his fellow-prophets.

For example, we don’t really know much about how Isaiah felt about certain things happening around him. Ezekiel is similar.

But there’s something about the book of Jeremiah that just seems to let us in more on the author’s thoughts and emotions.

Jeremiah is Structured as Narratives

And here’s my theory on why that is — why the book of Jeremiah seems so personal. Why it draws the reader in so much.

I think it’s because it’s structured like a narrative — a story, or rather a number of different stories.

In Jeremiah we’re given details about people and places and events. We’re often given plot lines with good guys and bad guys. There are stories with climaxes. There are scenes and characters and actions. And that — in a nutshell — is a story.

The book of Jeremiah is not all stories, though. There are long stretches of straight prophetic utterances. But even most of those long utterances are framed within the structure of a story — with plot or characters or a scene which is set for us.

Conclusion

So, for all these reasons and more we should be encouraged concerning the value of studying the book of Jeremiah