We have here further intimations of the favour God had in reserve for them after the days of their calamity were over. It is promised,
I. That the city and temple should be rebuilt, Jer. 30:18. Jacob’s tents, and his dwelling places, felt the effects of the captivity, for they lay in ruins when the inhabitants were carried away captives; but, when they have returned, the habitations shall be repaired, and raised up out of their ruins, and therein God will have mercy upon their dwelling places, that had been monuments of his justice. Then the city of Jerusalem shall be built upon her own heap, her own hill, though now it be no better than a ruinous heap. The situation was unexceptionable, and therefore it shall be rebuilt upon the same spot of ground. He that can make of a city a heap (Isa. 25:2) can when he pleases make of a heap a city again. The palace (the temple, God’s palace) shall remain after the manner thereof; it shall be built after the old model; and the service of God shall be constantly kept up there and attended as formerly.
II. That the sacred feasts should again be solemnized (Jer. 30:19): Out of the city, and the temple, and all the dwelling-places of Jacob, shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of those that make merry. They shall go with expressions of joy to the temple service, and with the like shall return from it. Observe, The voice of thanksgiving is the same with the voice of those that make merry; for whatever is the matter of our joy should be the matter of our praise. Isa. any merry? Let him sing psalms. What makes us cheerful should make us thankful. Serve the Lord with gladness.
III. That the people should be multiplied, and increased, and made considerable: They shall not be few, they shall not be small, but shall become numerous and illustrious, and make a figure among the nations; for I will multiply them and I will glorify them. It is for the honour of the church to have many added to it that shall be saved. This would make them be of some weight among their neighbours. Let a people be ever so much diminished and despised, God can multiply and glorify them. They shall be restored to their former honour: Their children shall be as aforetime, playing in the streets (Zech. 8:5); they shall inherit their parents’ estates and honours as formerly; and their congregation shall, both in civil and sacred things, be established before me. There shall be a constant succession of faithful magistrates in the congregation of the elders, to establish that, and of faithful worshippers in the congregation of the saints. As one generation passes away another shall be raised up, and so the congregation shall be established before God.
IV. That they shall be blessed with a good government (Jer. 30:21): Their nobles and judges shall be of themselves, of their own nation, and they shall no longer be ruled by strangers and enemies; their governor shall proceed from the midst of them, shall be one that has been a sharer with them in the afflictions of their captive state; and this has reference to Christ our governor, David our King (Jer. 30:9); he is of ourselves, in all things made like unto his brethren. And I will cause him to draw near; this may be understood either, 1. Of the people, Jacob and Israel: “I will cause them to draw near to me in the temple service, as formerly, to come in to covenant with me, as my people (Jer. 30:22), to approach to me in communion; for who hath engaged his heart, made a covenant with it, and brought it into bonds, to approach unto me?” How few are there that do so! None can do it but by the special grace of God causing them to draw near. Note, Whenever we approach to God in any holy ordinance we must engage our hearts to do it; the heart must be prepared for the duty, employed in it, and kept closely to it. The heart is the main thing that God looks at and requires; but it is deceitful, and will start aside of a great deal of care and pains be not taken to engage it, to bind this sacrifice with cords. Or, 2. It may be understood of the governor; for it is a single person that is spoken of: Their governor shall be duly called to his office, shall draw near to God to consult him upon all occasions. God will cause him to approach to him, for, otherwise, who would engage to take care of so weak a people, and let this ruin come under their hand? But when God has work to do, though attended with many discouragements, he will raise up instruments to do it. But it looks further, to Christ, to him as Mediator. Note, (1.) The proper work and office of Christ, as Mediator, is to draw near and approach unto God, not for himself only, but for us, and in our name and stead, as the high priest of our profession. The priests are said to draw nigh to God, Lev. 10:3; 21:17. Moses drew near, Exod. 20:21. (2.) God the Father did cause Jesus Christ thus to draw near and approach to him as Mediator. He commanded and appointed him to do it; he sanctified and sealed him, anointed him for this purpose, accepted him, and declared himself well pleased in him. (3.) Jesus Christ, being caused by the Father to approach unto him as Mediator, did engage his heart to do it, that is, he bound and obliged himself to it, undertook for his heart (so some read it), for his soul, that, in the fullness of time, it should be made an offering for sin. His own voluntary undertaking, in compliance with his Father’s will and in compassion to fallen man, engaged him, and then his own honour kept him to it. It also intimates that he was hearty and resolute, free and cheerful, in it, and made nothing of the difficulties that lay in his way, Isa. 63:3-5. (4.) Jesus Christ was, in all this, truly wonderful. We may well ask, with admiration, Who is this that thus engages his heart to such an undertaking?
V. That they shall be taken again into covenant with God, according to the covenant made with their fathers (Jer. 30:22): You shall be my people; and it is God’s good work in us that makes us to him a people, a people for his name, Acts 15:14. I will be your God. It is his good-will to us that is the summary of that part of the covenant.
VI. That their enemies shall be reckoned with and brought down (Jer. 30:20): I will punish all those that oppress them, so that it shall appear to all a dangerous thing to touch God’s anointed, Ps. 105:15. The Jer. 30:23, 24 come under this head: The whirlwind of the Lord shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked. These two verses we had before (Jer. 23:19, 20); there they were a denunciation of God’s wrath against the wicked hypocrites in Israel; here against the wicked oppressors of Israel. The expressions, exactly agreeing, speak the same with that (Isa. 51:22, 23), I will take the cup of trembling out of thy hand and put it into the hand of those that afflict thee. The wrath of God against the wicked is here represented to be. 1. Very terrible, like a whirlwind, surprising and irresistible. 2. Very grievous. It shall fall with pain upon their heads; they shall be as much hurt as frightened. 3. It shall pursue them. Whirlwinds are usually short, but this shall be a continuing whirlwind. 4. It shall accomplish that for which it is sent: The anger of the Lord shall not return till he have done it. The purposes of his wrath, as well as the purposes of his love, will all be fulfilled; he will perform the intents of his heart. 5. Those that will not lay this to heart now will then be unable to put off the thoughts of it: In the latter days you shall consider it, when it will be too late to prevent it.
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