God's promises to his people
1 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah a second time while he was in prison in the yard of the palace. 2 He said, ‘I am the Lord who made the earth. I gave a shape to it and I put it in its place. The Lord is my name. I say this to you: 3 “Call out to me and I will answer you. I will tell you about great things. They are secret things that you do not yet know.” 4 The Lord, Israel's God, has a message about the houses in this city and about the royal palaces of Judah's kings. The people have knocked down the city's buildings. They have used the stones to make the city's walls stronger, 5 to fight against Babylon's army. The Lord says, “The city's houses will be full of dead bodies. I am very angry with the people in the city and I will kill them. I will refuse to help this city because of the wicked things that its people have done.
6 But listen to me! I will bring health again to the people of this city. I will make my people well again. They will live safely in peace. 7 I will bring back the people of Judah and Israel from foreign lands. I will make them a strong nation, as they were before. 8 They have done bad things and they have turned against me. But I will forgive all their sins that they have done against me. 9 Then this city will cause the people of all the nations on the earth to give me honour. They will praise me and make me happy. They will hear about all the good things that I am doing for Jerusalem. They will see that I have caused its people to have health and peace. Because of that, they will respect me and they will shake with fear.”
10 The Lord says, “You say that this place is like a desert, and no people or animals live here. But I tell you that people will return to live here. You will hear the voices of people in the streets of Jerusalem and in the towns of Judah that are now empty. 11 You will hear the sounds of happy people. You will hear the songs of men and women at their weddings. You will hear the voices of people as they bring gifts to the Lord's temple to thank him. They will say,
‘We thank the Lord Almighty,
because he is good.
His faithful love continues for ever.’
Yes, I will make the land successful again, as it was before.” That is what the Lord says.
12 The Lord Almighty says, “This place will become a heap of stones. No people or animals will live here. But I will put fields of grass around the towns again. There will be places for shepherds to rest with their sheep. 13 Shepherds will count their sheep again, one by one. They will do that in the towns of the hill country, in the low hills in the west and in the Negev region in the south. They will do it in the land that belongs to Benjamin's tribe, in the villages around Jerusalem and in all the towns of Judah.” That is what the Lord says.
14 The Lord also says, “A time will soon come when I do good things for the nations of Israel and Judah. I will do what I have promised to do for them. 15 At that time, I will cause a descendant of David to be born. He will be righteous. He will grow like a branch on the tree of David's family. He will do what is right and fair in the land. 16 When he rules, the people of Judah will be safe. Jerusalem's people will live in peace. People will give this name to the city: ‘The Lord is our righteous Saviour.’ ”
17 The Lord says, “One of David's descendants will always rule as king over the nation of Israel. 18 There will always be priests who are descendants of Levi. They will serve me in my temple. They will always be there to offer burnt offerings, grain offerings and other sacrifices to me.” ’
19 The Lord also said this to Jeremiah: 20 ‘I, the Lord, say to you, “The day and the night will always come at their proper times. I have made that agreement with them, and nobody can stop it. 21 In the same way, nobody can stop the covenant that I have made with my servant David, and with the Levites. I promise you that there will always be a descendant of King David who rules as king. I also promise that there will always be descendants of Levi to serve me as priests. 22 I promise that my servant David will always have many descendants. There will also be very many Levites to serve me as priests. You will not be able to count them. They will be more than the stars in the sky and more than the sand on the shore of the sea.” ’
23 The Lord also said to Jeremiah, 24 ‘Some people are saying, “The Lord chose the two nations of Israel and Judah to be his special people. But now he has turned away from them.” You have heard people say those things. They do not think that my people will ever be a nation again. 25 But I promise you this: Nobody can stop the agreement that I have made with the day and the night. I have also commanded the earth and the sky to obey certain laws. 26 In the same way, I will never change my promise to the descendants of Jacob and to my servant David. I will always choose one of David's descendants to rule over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I will bring them back to their own land. I will be kind to them and forgive them.’
33:26Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were the ancestors of God's special people.