We’re heading into the most focused period of this book. It is a premier example of how narrative and oracle are woven together in Jeremiah’s book and Jeremiah’s life: The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, chapter 32 begins, in the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar. At that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the guard that was in the palace of the king of Judah.
The word of the LORD had first come to Jeremiah almost forty years ago, during the reign of King Josiah. And in those first words the LORD warned Jeremiah: “I am watching over my word to perform it… I will declare my judgments against them, for all their evil in forsaking me. They have made offerings to other gods and worshiped the works of their own hands.”
You know, and I know, that there is no escape from the judgment to come. The storm of destruction was formed on the horizon and propelled by the LORD’s hand long before Zedekiah was born. Jerusalem will fall, as the LORD must be true to His word. Jeremiah has pushed hard at the king and his subjects to accept this fate and allow the LORD to spare their lives, insisting that while the kingdom will end, “everyone shall die for his own sin. Each man who eats sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge.”
Sprinkled throughout are promises of the LORD’s faithfulness to His chosen. In chapter 31, the LORD reminds His people that they will not be forsaken forever: Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: "Once more they shall use these words in the land of Judah and in its cities, when I restore their fortunes: "'The LORD bless you, O habitation of righteousness, O holy hill!' In chapter 32, Jeremiah buys a field – an odd transaction during a siege – to illustrate his faith that the land will one day be restored.
And finally, in chapter 33 the LORD compares His covenant with David to his covenant with the fixed order of heaven and earth…” If His covenant with day and night cannot be broken, then neither can His promise to David’s descendants.
Our verse for this week is Hebrews 8:10: For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Jeremiah 31 through 33. Now let’s read it!
“Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?