XII. Jeremiah's Message To The Exiled Judeans (29:1–32)
The precise date of this letter is not known. The historical reference in 29:2 places the letter after 597 b.c. The message of Jeremiah's letter is clear. The exiled community, though under judgment, must not give up hope. The time of judgment is also a time for them to build and to plant themselves among the heathen and to live as witnesses of God's grace. Even in the midst of judgment, God does not relieve his people of their responsibility to become a “light for the Gentiles” (Isa 49:6). God's people must pray for their enemies, because he is concerned with their šālôm (v. 7), the wholeness that would come when they acknowledge God as the sovereign ruler of the world.
God has set a time for the punishment of the exiles; when that set time is completed, he will return to them with his gracious promise. Judgment is not the last word God proclaims to the sinners. With his grace he reaches out to them to give them a hope and a future. This promise is, however, conditional. In order to enjoy the benefits of God's grace, sinners must call upon him, and seek him with all their heart (29:10-14).
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