destroyed building August 21 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Jeremiah 21, 32, 33, 34

Hope in the Midst of Despair

Imagine that an apartment complex, house, or place of business is condemned. The foundation is not sound. The wiring and plumbing are bad. There are many chinks and cracks in the walls. It is not a safe habitation. For a long time the managers have not cared for the land or property. It has been turned into a place of prostitution, drug dealing, and cultic practices. The rest of the neighborhood also fell into wickedness, but it has been cleared. Just one building remains.

The residents do not want to be evicted. They even hire others to come and stop the destruction. That only helps for a short while. Now the demolition team is coming back. For the long time occupants of that place, there is a sense of despair. Tomorrow everything that is familiar to them, the one-time glorious building, will be destroyed. The gas and electricity and plumbing have been turned off. The walls will be knocked down by a crane with its big destruction ball. The building will be burned tomorrow. All that will be left is rubble. All the remaining residents of the building will then be taken away. Is all hope lost for them? Will their place ever be rebuilt? What about all the rubble—how will it be cleared? Will they ever return to this spot and prosper again?

This story illustrates the situation of the city of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. when Zedekiah is king. Perhaps we can't relate to that, but many of us have experienced despair from being kicked out of school, fired from a job, getting a divorce, or experiencing bankruptcy and repossession of property. Is there any hope for us? This Bible study from Jeremiah is a message of hope in the midst of despair.

Jerusalem is in despair. She looks to Egypt for help against the siege of the Babylonians. Although she is given temporary relief, Babylon returns and Egypt offers no more aid. Jerusalem’s hope and protection are gone. Is our hope and protection gone? Are we in despair? Let's look to God for help.

Zedekiah hates Jeremiah’s message of doom. The LORD tells him their only hope to stay alive and preserve the city is to surrender to the Babylonians.

It is at this time that God instructs Jeremiah to do something strange. He tells him to purchase a piece of property from his cousin, who is coming to meet him. This happens just exactly as He said it would. Why is Jeremiah told to purchase property when the city is doomed to destruction? As most of the things Jeremiah does as a prophet, his purchase of land is a sign from God. What does it mean?

Jeremiah gives us the interpretation of the sign in 32:36-44 and chapter 33. After God destroys the land and its people by famine and sword (the results of a Babylonian siege and attack) and plague (possibly a disease, or a locust invasion as recorded in the book of Joel and referenced in Jeremiah 51:14 and 51:27), God’s anger will subside. Because of His unconditional covenant with Israel, however, the LORD will restore them to their land. The land is wasted; the real estate is worthless, but God promises to restore it in a future day. There will be a partial fulfillment of this after Israel's seventy years of exile, and there will be complete fulfillment during the 1,000 year reign of Christ (Revelation 20:4). Once again, the Israelites will dwell in their own land. Land purchases between relatives in their tribes will be renewed. The LORD promises

“...I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. I will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity and will rebuild them as they were before. I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me. Then this city will bring me renown, joy, praise and honor before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it.” (Jeremiah 33:6-9, NIV).

The temple will be rebuilt and there will be sacrifices offered on the altar (we will discuss reasons for this an upcoming Bible study in Ezekiel). In a future day (which refers to the millennial reign of Christ), God will renew an everlasting covenant He made with Israel. These are the fulfillments of the Abrahamic covenant (Genesis 15;5-21; 17) and the Davidic Covenant (2Samuel 7:16). The people, priests, and leaders of Israel and Judah will be shown compassion. They will once again be one nation. God will give Israel peace and restore her fortunes when she receives a new heart and forgiveness. Christ, the “Righteous Branch” will rule forever as king. Do any of us need a new heart or renewed favor with God? We can turn from our sins and look to Him to save us (more...).

Lessons to Live By

  • What God destroys He is able to rebuild, no matter how unlikely that might seem.
  • To bring hope amidst despair we must first learn lessons from the discipline and punishment we receive. Submitting to it brings more mercy than fighting against it.
  • We can find hope in times of despair if we ask the LORD to be our God. We must look to Him for mercy, forgiveness, and grace. Our hearts need to be changed. Only He can restore our souls and our lives (more...).
  • Although our situation may look hopeless, God, who is Almighty, can help us. He can bring help and healing in our situations.

Focus Verses

Jeremiah 33:5b-6 (NIV) God says, “I will hide my face from this city because of all its wickedness. Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.”

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A Look Ahead: Finally, the dreaded day arises for Judah—the Day of Disaster. How will she respond to it? How should we respond if it happens to us? Join us for our Next Lesson.

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