6.71 Jeremiah -- The Remnant
The Lord says that Jeremiah is to be "a tester of metals," observing the "ore" of his people and subjecting them to further purification (Jer 6:27). The Lord Himself has been refining Israel since the days of slavery in Egypt, "the iron-smelting furnace" (Jer 11:4). He continues to do so:
"See, I will refine and test them, for what else can I do because of the sin of my people?" (Jer 9:7).
"Is not my word like fire," declares the Lord, "and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?" (Jer 23:29).
But He holds out little hope:
"the refining goes on in vain; the wicked are not purged out" (Jer 6:29).
Under these circumstances, one wonders if there will be any remnant. But God says:
Those who remained in the land after the second deportation of 597 were compared to poor figs, fit only for destruction. But those in exile, scattered in many lands, were good figs, and the Lord will watch over them and bring them home (Jer 24:1-10, Jer 29:16-18). And at last they will be purified; their sins and guilt will no longer be found, "for I will forgive the remnant I spare" (Jer 50:20).