“Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will fulfill the good word which I have spoken concerning the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch of David to spring forth; and He shall execute justice and righteousness on the earth. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell in safety; and this is the name by which she will be called: the LORD is our righteousness.” Jeremiah 33: 14-16

Like a light piercing utter darkness, the “Weeping Prophet” Jeremiah provides an interlude of hope. This priest who resided and served in Jerusalem lived long enough to see Babylon invade and destroy the beloved home of God’s Temple. Judah’s idolatry, corrupt leaders, and social injustice would now result in seventy years of exile. Yet, Jeremiah’s description of God’s initial (chapters 1-29) and culminating (chapters 34-52) messages of judgment serve as massive frames for a brilliant magnum opus of redemption. The dark, tragic consequences of disobedience only serve to make brighter the light of God’s restoration of Jerusalem.

The promises to the King after God’s own heart will be fulfilled for both Israel and Judah in a reunited Kingdom of God. The Branch of David will emerge from the seemingly dead stump of devastating judgment, bringing with it the justice and righteousness of shalom in the City of Peace. Salvation and safety will mark Jerusalem and its people again. Jerusalem will again be where the Lord our righteousness dwells. In fact, God’s righteous presence will be so visceral that it will rename the region. There will be a new Jerusalem, restored houses of Judah and Israel, a righteous Branch, a return of righteousness and justice, a new sanctuary of God’s salvation, even a renewed moniker.

In this season of Advent, God still specializes in penetrating hope. Judgment and repentance come first. Their duration depends, in part, on how long we resist God’s call to righteousness and justice. The days are coming. How might we take the next steps to prepare our hearts for His Righteous Branch, our Redeemer and Restorer?