There Is Nothing Too Hard

Jeremiah came before God to pray, and he said: "Ah, LORD God! Behold, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for you" (32:17).

This declaration expressed Jeremiah's confidence and faith in a God whom he knew was able to do whatever was necessary to fulfil His promises, and even bring about the outcome he desired of God as he prayed for his people.

The prophet rehearsed before God the many ways in which the Lord had proved Himself before His people Israel in the past (32:17-25), so on the strength of these mighty acts he was confident, afresh for the future – that the Lord could be relied on to keep His promises. Nothing was too hard for Him.

The Promise of Deliverance

Jeremiah had sent a message, a letter, to his people who were exiles in captivity in Babylon, that the Lord would deliver them after seventy years: "For thus says the LORD: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform my good word towards you, and cause you to return to this place" (29:10).

This was a short-term prophecy referred to by Daniel (chapter nine), which was fulfilled when, "the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia" (2 Chronicles 36:22 and Ezra 1:1), at the end of the seventy years.

Jeremiah also speaks of a future time when the Lord would deliver His people by an even greater deliverance (30:5-11): "'For I am with you,' says the LORD, 'to save you; though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you, yet I will not make a full end of you, but I will correct you in justice, and will not let you go altogether unpunished'" (30:11).

The Promise of Healing

Their punishment had occurred as the Lord reminded them: "because your sins have increased . . . because of the multitude of your iniquities" (30:15), and He further added that He would then visit punishment on their adversaries.

Although the people of Judah had been severely wounded, the Great Physician would heal them (30:12-17): "'For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds,' says the LORD, 'because they have called you an outcast, saying: "This is Zion; no one seeks her"'" (30:17).

The Promise of Retribution

The evil and increasing winds of anti-Semitism have always blown against God's people, but Jeremiah points out that there is coming a day when there will be a fulfilment of God's promised retribution against their enemies.

"Therefore all those who devour you shall be devoured . . . those who plunder you shall become plunder, and all who prey upon you I will make a prey" (30:16).

"Behold, the whirlwind of the LORD goes forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind; it will fall violently on the head of the wicked. The fierce anger of the LORD will not return till he has done it, and until he has performed the intents of his heart" (30:24).

The Promise of Restoration

We hear the word of the Lord from Jeremiah again: "Behold, I will bring back the captivity of Jacob's tents, and have mercy on his dwelling-places . . . I will multiply them, and they shall not diminish; I will also glorify them . . . 'You shall be my people, and I will be your God'" (30:18, 19, 22).

It is interesting to note that when the Lord concluded His promise of restoration of His people and retribution against Israel's enemies, He instructed Jeremiah: "In the latter days you will consider it" (30:24).

The Promise of Grace

The wonderful promise of grace and forgiveness towards a suffering people will finally reunite them in both joy and prosperity. May all "sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations; proclaim, give praise, and say, 'O LORD, save your people, the remnant of Israel!'" (31:7).

The Promise of Consolation

We read in Jeremiah 31:15 of the anguish of the people when "a voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted for her children, because they are no more" , a prophecy fulfilled in the days of Herod.

And ever since, through anti-Semitism, persecution, and death at the hands of their persecutors, the people's grief has been inconsolable, even as in Ramah. But according to the promise of God, this will be reversed: "'Refrain your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears . . . they shall come back from the land of their enemy. There is hope in your future,' says the LORD, 'that your children shall come back to their own border'" (31:16, 17).

The Promise of Transformation

The prophet speaks of the repentance and confession that come after their bitter experience in exile as they now confess their sin before God: "Restore me, and I will return, for you are the LORD my God. Surely, after my turning, I repented; and after I was instructed, I struck myself on the thigh; I was ashamed, yes, even humiliated . . . " (31:18,19).

Jeremiah went on to state the promise that will yet be completely fulfilled: "'And it shall come to pass, that as I have watched over them to pluck up, to break down, to throw down, to destroy, and to afflict, so I will watch over them to build and to plant,' says the LORD" (31:28).

This is not too hard for the Lord. "Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for me?" (32:27).

The Promise of the New Covenant

Because of human frailty, God revealed through the prophet that the former covenant made with His people needed to be succeeded by a new covenant. They had broken the covenant, "that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt" (31:32).

So He enunciated the terms of the new covenant: "'After those days,' says the LORD, 'I will put my law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people'" (31:33).

The new covenant will produce a new heart and a new motivation in the people of Israel to obey the law of God and to recognize and acknowledge the Messiah's claims. He was the One after all who introduced the new covenant at the Passover meal: "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you" (Luke 22:20).

If the introduction of the new covenant was not too hard for God to bring about, then the complete fulfilment of the promise of the new covenant, when, "I will put my law in their minds, and write it on their hearts" will likewise not be too hard for Him.

He even stated: "'For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more" (31:34).