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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 29

The Church Pulpit CommentaryChurch Pulpit Commentary

Verse 11

GOD’S THOUGHTS OF PEACE

‘The thoughts that I think toward you.’

Jeremiah 29:11

I. God thinking of us in our need.—‘I am poor and needy, yet the Lord thinketh upon me.’ ‘ Yet’ is an interpolation of the English version. It would be nearer the truth to say, ‘ therefore the Lord thinketh upon me.’ Why is it necessary to emphasise the fact that God thinks of men? (1) Men were saying in Israel’s days of trial that God had given them up, and that these evil times were only the beginning of the end. Even so; men are now making light of the Gospel—preaching ‘other Gospels’ not stamped with the Divine character of free grace. Any delusion is easier for the sinner to believe than that God is altogether loving and gracious— even to him in his sin. (2) Uneasy consciences suggest a gloomy view of the sinner’s case. It is the duty of conscience to condemn the sinner and make him feel his sin; but it is the work of the Gospel to persuade him of the all-forgiving mercy of God. The prophet sets God’s word against that of false witnesses. So let us hold to the message. God has not put us out of His kindly thought. For—

II. God protests the peaceableness of His thoughts towards Israel: ‘thoughts of peace.’—‘Conscience makes cowards of us all.’ ‘The wicked fleeth when no man pursueth.’ Even so the sinner flees from God, because he argues that since he has been so long at war with God, God must be at war with him. As God did not leave Israel in Babylon, so He will not leave us in our sins if we accept His salvation.

The Old Testament man cries, ‘Woe is me! for I have seen the Lord.’ The New Testament man says, ‘Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord!’ Everybody knows there must be a distance put between God and sin, but the spiritually enlightened know that the proper way is to put away sin—not to ask God to leave us. He who understands the Gospel knows that God has put away sin by the sacrifice of Jesus—that Jesus has put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. Hence, God can think thoughts of peace and not of evil concerning the sinner. It was for the sake of a Christ to be crucified that God could deal mercifully with Israel: it is for the sake of a Christ Who has been crucified that He can think thoughts of peace concerning us. The sinner flees from God. The God of his imagination may be a God of vengeance and of evil thoughts about us. But the true picture of God is here given. ‘The thoughts that I think—thoughts of peace, and not of evil.’

III. Jeremiah closes the verse by saying God is to give His people an expected end.—Let us ask ourselves what kind of end ought we to expect as the gift of a God full of such thoughts as God protests He has towards us? Fill in all your best and noblest expectations or thoughts of love, peace, eternal blessings, home comforts for ever, with no interruptions—these are all in the promise of God; no good thing will He withhold from those who close with His offers of mercy.

When we have learned to ‘expect great things from God,’ we shall begin to get great things. All things are ours in Christ—deliverance from captivity included. Sin and Satan are no more powerful to hold us than Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar to hold Israel, when God’s word of peace and goodwill is accepted by us.

Illustration

‘In a land where the custom of the vendetta was practised, a man had the cruel (supposed) duty laid on him of vindicating the death of his brother, who had been slain in a sudden heat of passion by his own dearest friend. He set out on the odious task, but on his way he learned that another member of his family had already avenged the murder on a member of the murderer’s family. Delighted to be set free from the burden of shedding his friend’s blood, he now pursued him to let him know that the old peace need not be disturbed; the vile custom was satisfied. But it was long before he could get his errand of mercy accomplished. The murderer ever fled from his approach, fearing vengeance, though it was mercy that brought his comrade after him.’

Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Jeremiah 29". The Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cpc/jeremiah-29.html. 1876.
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