Jeremiah 31:16 (ESV) … Thus says the Lord: “Keep your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears, for there is a reward for your work, declares the Lord, and they shall come back from the land of the enemy.”
Most of Jeremiah’s life was spent ministering in a country whose doom was sealed—and obvious. His words were dark with warning. And Jeremiah lived to see the terrible things he foretold come true. The city founded by David, and the temple built by his son Solomon, were destroyed, and most of Judah’s citizens died in the siege or in Egypt where the remnant fled.
The Jews who remained were transported to Babylon. There, torn from the Promised Land, and suddenly aware of the depth of their sins against God, they lived in material comfort but spiritual pain. Had God, the God of Abraham, really abandoned His people? Had God rejected them because of their unfaithfulness?
Many Christians, when troubles come and sins are remembered, may ask the same question. Are my troubles evidence that God no longer accepts me? That I am abandoned by the Lord?
The answer of Jeremiah to the people of Judah comforts us too. God had Jeremiah announce His plan to make a New Covenant with the people of Israel. A New Covenant which would lift Israel—and you and me—to a new and vital relationship with our God.