While We Are Still Shut Up

“The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah a second time, while he was still shut up in the court of the guard: ‘Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it—the Lord is his name: Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. For thus says the Lord,.. concerning the houses of this city and the houses of the kings of Judah that were torn down to make a defense against the siege mounds and against the sword: They are coming in to fight against the Chaldeans and to fill them with the dead bodies of men whom I shall strike down in my anger and my wrath, for I have hidden my face from this city because of all their evil. Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security. I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel, and rebuild them as they were at first. I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me. And this city shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I do for them. They shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it.

“Thus says the Lord: In this place,.. in the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate, without man or inhabitant or beast, there shall be heard again the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voices of those who sing, as they bring thank offerings to the house of the Lord.” Jeremiah 33:1-11

There’s something about this first verse that grips and squeezes the heart. While Jeremiah was still shut up in the court of the guard for speaking truth in obedience to his call, in the very place of restraint and loneliness and suffering, the Lord addressed him personally with an invitation to commune and hope. He would reveal secrets, restore, and rebuild, all promises that bring light to the darkest places. (Jeremiah 32:1-3)

God’s word comes with assurance into our doubt, pledges renewal in our depletion, and hope in our despair. Jeremiah had seen devastation in his beloved Jerusalem, and God proclaimed it would be a name of joy, a praise and a glory. Only His Word offers such substance from ruin, backed by God who will certainly bring it to pass. (Psalm 18:30)

The Living Word, Jesus Christ, came to free us from captivity to sin, announcing victory. When we are hemmed in by grief, pain, and fear, His promises are a palpable comfort. His vibrant message of hope and light penetrates our every dark place, beckoning us to lift our heads and cling to His promises. (Psalm 3:3; 139:5; John 1:1-4)

Are we ‘shut up’ in body, circumstance, or mindset, in need of healing, gladness, or song? Would we cry out to God who has great and hidden things in store, if not for this life, the next?

Lord, help me always take You at Your word, with thankfulness and expectancy.

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