For the Love of God, Volume 2/August 5
From Gospel Translations
Judges 19; Acts 23; Jeremiah 33; Psalms 3—4
IN THE VISION OF RESTORATION provided by Jeremiah 33, the last half of the chapter focuses on the restoration of the Davidic throne and related matters (Jer. 33:14-26). Some observations:
(1) Verses 15-16 largely repeat 23:5-6 (see meditation for July 27). The words are described as God’s “gracious promise” (33:14), i.e., the promise he made to Israel a little earlier through Jeremiah, and to which he again draws attention now that Jeremiah is imprisoned in the courtyard and the doom of the city is not long delayed. The destruction of the city is imminent, the exile of the people all but inevitable—and God wants both Jeremiah and the people to look beyond the impending disasters and contemplate his promises that await sure fulfillment. That is a substantial part of what it means to walk by faith.
(2) On the whole, Jeremiah does not disclose as much about the coming of the Messiah as does Isaiah—or, more accurately put, what he discloses is more diffuse and less focused. Nevertheless he depicts the coming one as the good shepherd (23:4; 31:10), the righteous Branch (23:5; 33:15), and as David the king, the Lord’s servant (30:9; 33:21, 26).
(3) The certainty of God’s covenant with David is tied to the certainty of God’s covenant with the day and the night (33:19-21)—in other words, to the utter reliability of God to maintain his ordered universe. The stability of the Davidic monarchy is not likened to the morning mist that passes away, but to the daily cycle, whose regularity depends on the faithfulness and reliability of a powerful, providential God. Although all that will be seen of the Davidic dynasty for a while will be a poor stump, yet God himself will make “a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line” (33:15).
(4) Slightly more surprising, and certainly rarer among the prophets, is the promise that the Levites will not fail to have a man stand before God and offer the prescribed sacrifices (33:18, 21). This may refer to the postexilic years when the temple was rebuilt and the Levitical sacrifices were reconstituted. But this same Jeremiah has also foreseen a new covenant, an announcement that makes the Mosaic covenant obsolete in principle (Heb. 8:13). Indeed, four centuries before Jeremiah, David foresaw the rise of a Melchizedekian priesthood (Ps. 110) that anticipated the end of the Levitical system and a change in the Law (Heb. 7:11- 12). From a canonical perspective, perhaps the ultimate typological fulfillment of this passage is in the kingdom of “priests” arising from the work of the great David (1 Pet. 2:5; Rev. 1:6).