6.72 Jeremiah -- Hope of Restoration
Most of Jeremiah’s pictures of a bright future are compressed into four chapters, 30-33. They are the more precious for being hard-won. The prophet looked ahead to an age of miracles: Israel and Judah reassembled from dispersion, a new king raised up, hearts changed to love and obey the Lord. In token of this hope, Jeremiah bought a field in his hometown, at the height of the siege (Jer 32). The Lord assured him,
"As I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will give them all the prosperity I have promised them" (Jer 32:42).
Jeremiah wrote to the exiles in Babylon, advising them to settle down and plant gardens in exile. But their resettlement would only be temporary. Later, God would send them a different word:
"Flee out of Babylon" (Jer 50:8, Jer 51:6).
"Come out of her, my people!" (Jer 51:45).
This cry has come down to our own day as an appeal to God's people to separate themselves from the practices and beliefs of a godless and secular civilization. But in Jeremiah's time, this command was given for a single specific time in the future, not as a general ethic. In fact, Jeremiah provided an exact timeframe: Judah’s exile in Babylon would last 70 years (Jer 25:11-12, Jer 29:10). If one starts from the first deportation in 605 BC, and dates the return as following Cyrus’s decree in 538, one has very nearly 70 years.