“While Jeremiah was still locked up in jail, a second Message from God was given to him:
‘This is God’s Message, the God who made earth, made it livable and lasting, known everywhere as God: ‘Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own’.’
‘This is what God, the God of Israel, has to say about what’s going on in this city, about the homes of both people and kings that have been demolished, about all the ravages of war and the killing by the Chaldeans, and about the streets littered with the dead bodies of those killed because of my raging anger—about all that’s happened because the evil actions in this city have turned my stomach in disgust.’
‘But now take another look. I’m going to give this city a thorough renovation, working a true healing inside and out. I’m going to show them life whole, life brimming with blessings. I’ll restore everything that was lost to Judah and Jerusalem. I’ll build everything back as good as new. I’ll scrub them clean from the dirt they’ve done against me. I’ll forgive everything they’ve done wrong, forgive all their rebellions. And Jerusalem will be a center of joy and praise and glory for all the countries on earth. They’ll get reports on all the good I’m doing for her. They’ll be in awe of the blessings I am pouring on her.’
‘Yes, God’s Message: ‘You’re going to look at this place, these empty and desolate towns of Judah and streets of Jerusalem, and say, “A wasteland. Unlivable. Not even a dog could live here.” But the time is coming when you’re going to hear laughter and celebration, marriage festivities, people exclaiming, “Thank God-of-the-Angel-Armies. He’s so good! His love never quits,” as they bring thank offerings into God’s Temple. I’ll restore everything that was lost in this land. I’ll make everything as good as new.’ I, God, say so’.” Jeremiah 33:1-11 (MSG)
Whenever there is a natural disaster somewhere in the world, we see pictures of the desolation. Homes and buildings are left in ruins. People’s lives are turned upside down in a moment. It can be difficult to imagine how life could come forth from ruins. Many times, it takes years to rebuild communities. Yet, people seek restoration so that they might come home again. And when we look around and see desolate situations in our lives, only God can bring the restoration that we seek.
During this time of Jeremiah’s life, he was placed in confinement by Zedekiah, king of Judah. In Jeremiah 32, we learn of the background information to Jeremiah 33. The Babylonians had the city of Jerusalem under siege. In the midst of this reality, Jeremiah was telling the people of the destruction coming to Israel and Judah because of their rebellion against God. The Babylonians would take the people into captivity. This was not a popular message or well received. The king of Judah placed Jeremiah in jail to silence him. Yet, out of a very difficult time in Israel’s history, God’s Word spoke forth. Through Jeremiah, God gave the people a promise that they would experience restoration. Out of brokenness and desolation, there would be restoration and healing. God was asking the people to look to Him in this desperate time. There would come a day in the fulfillment of these verses that God would bring restoration, and ultimately, God would bring that restoration through Jesus. Jeremiah admonished the people to call on God in their time of need, for God was ready to answer.
You may be in a season of life where you look around and say, “This place is a desolate waste.” You might have divorce papers in your hand, and your marriage seems to be over. You might be staring at the wall in a hospital room, waiting and wondering if God sees you. You might be looking at your past decisions and wondering if you will ever be able to find freedom. As you look around, it may appear lifeless. You feel as if you are in the battle, and victory seems so far away. Disappointment and discouragement might be your constant companions. It is difficult to imagine something good coming out of the brokenness. It can be tempting to take these moments in our lives and try to get through them on our own. As God promised Israel, God breathes life into desolate places. His promise is true and fulfilled through Jesus. He can bring health and healing to your heart and life. No situation is too difficult for Him, and no person is too far away from Him. Jesus’ death and resurrection is an invitation to you and me for healing and restoration. Though sin wreaked havoc on our lives, Jesus can bring deliverance. He will bring joy to your heart and replenish that which has been lost. If you are burdened by your circumstances and don’t know where to turn, call on God in your moment of need. God can make a beautiful tapestry out of broken hearts, disappointments over the past, and desolate seasons. As He works His restoration in our lives, we find the truth that there is hope and healing in Jesus, and His promise to renew and restore stands firm. He can turn desolation into something beautiful and new.
Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.