Saturday after the Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Jeremiah 30:1-24 (NKJV)
1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, 2 “Thus speaks the LORD God of Israel, saying: ‘Write in a book for yourself all the words that I have spoken to you. 3 For behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah,’ says the LORD. ‘And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.'”
4 Now these are the words that the LORD spoke concerning Israel and Judah. 5 “For thus says the LORD: ‘We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. 6 Ask now, and see, whether a man is ever in labor with child? So why do I see every man with his hands on his loins like a woman in labor, and all faces turned pale? 7 Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it. 8 For it shall come to pass in that day,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘that I will break his yoke from your neck, and will burst your bonds; Foreigners shall no more enslave them. 9 But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, Whom I will raise up for them.
10 ‘Therefore do not fear, O My servant Jacob,’ says the LORD, ‘Nor be dismayed, O Israel; For behold, I will save you from afar, and your seed from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return, have rest and be quiet, and no one shall make him afraid. 11 For I am with you,’ says the LORD, ‘to save you; Though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you, yet I will not make a complete end of you. But I will correct you in justice, and will not let you go altogether unpunished.’
12 “For thus says the LORD: ‘Your affliction is incurable, your wound is severe. 13 There is no one to plead your cause, that you may be bound up; You have no healing medicines. 14 All your lovers have forgotten you; They do not seek you; For I have wounded you with the wound of an enemy, with the chastisement of a cruel one, for the multitude of your iniquities, because your sins have increased. 15 Why do you cry about your affliction? Your sorrow is incurable. Because of the multitude of your iniquities, because your sins have increased, I have done these things to you. 16 Therefore all those who devour you shall be devoured; And all your adversaries, every one of them, shall go into captivity; Those who plunder you shall become plunder, and all who prey upon you I will make a prey. 17 For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds,’ says the LORD, ‘Because they called you an outcast saying: “This is Zion; No one seeks her.”‘
18 “Thus says the LORD: ‘Behold, I will bring back the captivity of Jacob’s tents, and have mercy on his dwelling places; The city shall be built upon its own mound, and the palace shall remain according to its own plan. 19 Then out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of those who make merry; I will multiply them, and they shall not diminish; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small. 20 Their children also shall be as before, and their congregation shall be established before Me; And I will punish all who oppress them. 21 Their nobles shall be from among them, and their governor shall come from their midst; Then I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach Me; For who is this who pledged his heart to approach Me?’ says the LORD. 22 ‘You shall be My people, and I will be your God.'”
23 Behold, the whirlwind of the LORD goes forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind; It will fall violently on the head of the wicked. 24 The fierce anger of the LORD will not return until He has done it, and until He has performed the intents of His heart. In the latter days you will consider it.
“‘For behold, the days are coming,’ says the LORD, ‘that I will bring back from captivity Israel and Judah,’ says the LORD. ‘And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.'” (Jer. 30:3)
From the day the children of Israel went into exile down to this very day, there has never been a moment in history in which the majority of Jews lived in the land of Canaan. When the day came, 70 years after they went into exile, that they were allowed to return, most of them had grown up in Babylon. It was home for them. They had no interest in going back. Only a minority of them did; enough so that Jesus could be born where He was supposed to be, and complete His work of bringing salvation to the world by His death on the cross and His subsequent resurrection.
So has God failed to keep this promise? Of course not. In Christ Jesus, Israel is reduced down to one man. He calls twelve Apostles because He is having Himself a New Israel. As Israel passed through the waters to enter Canaan, they pointed us forward to the day when all who would be part of the New Israel of God would enter the promised land of the Church by passing through the waters of Holy Baptism.
You are the fulfillment of this prophecy! The promised land of the Church, and the eternal promised land of Heaven, are yours. You shall possess it, for the sake of Jesus Christ your Savior.