Just As He Had Said

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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On August 17 of that year, which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard and an official of the Babylonian king, arrived in Jerusalem. He burned down the Temple of the LORD, the royal palace, and all the houses of Jerusalem. He destroyed all the important buildings in the city.

Jeremiah 52:12-13

At first reading, the final chapter of Jeremiah seems oddly out of place. It contains no prophesies of Jeremiah. Indeed, the prophet isn’t even mentioned. (A man named Jeremiah appears in 52:1, but he isn’t the prophet.) Moreover, the destruction of Jerusalem had already been reported in Jeremiah 39. So what is the purpose of the last chapter? Why did the editor (or editors) of the prophesies of Jeremiah finish the book with an historical account of the fall of Jerusalem and the experiences of the exiles?

Jeremiah 52 makes the point that everything happened just as Jeremiah had said. Or, perhaps, just as the Lord had said through Jeremiah. The destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple, the decimation of the nation and their being taken into exile, all of this happened according to the prophesies of Jeremiah.

So, on the one hand, Jeremiah 52 underscores the prophetic inspiration of Jeremiah as well as the sovereignty of God. It reminds us to take the word of God seriously, to bank on it, as it were. Moreover, Jeremiah 52 urges us to pay special attention to Scripture when we don’t necessarily like what it’s saying. God’s word is, well, God’s word!

On the other hand, Jeremiah 52 indirectly offers a word of hope. Since it demonstrates that the prophecies of Jeremiah happened just as he had said, it suggests that the promises yet to be fulfilled will also come true. This means, in particular, that the Lord will make a new covenant with his people, and that he will put his instructions within their hearts, and that they will know him deeply, and that he will forgive their sin (Jer. 31:31-34). From our point of view, God has already done this through Jesus Christ, who has drawn us into a covenant relationship with God. Thus, even in its sad ending, Jeremiah points to Jesus Christ and the bright future for God’s people, including you and me.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Do you sometimes have trouble believing God’s promises? When? Why? What helps you to have confidence in God and his word?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, as I read the last chapter of Jeremiah, I feel a deep sadness. The pain and destruction that came to that city was so unnecessary. . . . if your people had only remained faithful to you.

Yet I also feel reassured when I consider the trustworthiness of your word. What you promise will come to pass, both the bad and the good.

How thankful I am, Lord, for the promise of the new covenant, and for the fact that I am in a new-covenant relationship with you through Christ. As I walk with you each day, may I attend to and trust your word. May I hear both your promises and your warnings. And may my life be lived for your honor and glory in all things.

I pray in the name of Jesus, Amen.