hope
By Rawpixel

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt stuck, with no escape? It could be where you’re living, a frustrating job, or even a difficult marriage.

It could be that your health has deteriorated, and you feel helpless. It could be that parenting or caring for others is taking too much of a toll, but there’s nothing you can do about it.

That’s exactly how Israel and Judah were feeling when Jeremiah was writing. Approximately 100 years after Israel was scattered by the Assyrians, the southern kingdom of Judah had been attacked by the new global superpower, the Babylonians.

Jerusalem was ransacked and most of its people killed, with only the educated elite like Daniel carted off to Babylon, living in an enemy country.

What’s left of the twelve tribes of Israel? Jeremiah pictures Rachel, the matriarch of Israel, turning in her grave, ‘weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more’ (v15).

First Israel’s destruction, now Judah’s captivity – God’s people are very much where they don’t want to be.

Even though the exile is judgement for Judah’s sin, God can’t help but offer hope (v17). In the future, they would live harmoniously in the land again.

Likewise, when we are weeping, refusing to be comforted because nothing ever feels like it will change, God can always bring hope.

In this passage, the ultimate hope is for them to return, but two chapters earlier, God also tells them to settle down into their exile, and the Lord will look after them in that strange place. We pray for grace for today and for God to restore us in the future.


prayer-to-make-icon

A Prayer To Make:
‘Lord, where I feel stuck, show me hope. Thank You that one day we will all be reunited as God’s people for eternity in heaven. Keep me persevering till then. Amen.’

An Action To Take:
Meditate on the image of Rachel, weeping for her descendants, and place yourself in that scene. Now see God comforting you, using the words of verse 16 or Jeremiah 29:11.

Scripture To Consider:
Ps. 42:1–11; Jer. 29:4–14; Rom. 5:1–5 & 8:18–28

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.