The prophet Jeremiah had beautiful, prophetic words of restoration in these verses for Israel. The vision was so completely lost that NO MAN was seeking Zion any more.
17 For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after.
I often think of these verses when driving through the shanty towns of big cities like Tijuana Mexico. The darkness is so dark you can feel it. If you stop and speak with these people you quickly realize there is no hope left in the inhabitants of these villages. Mostly what you see is people desperately looking for coping mechanisms to deal with their utter misery.
18 Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will bring again the captivity of Jacob's tents, and have mercy on his dwelling places; and the city shall be builded upon her own heap, and the palace shall remain after the manner thereof.
The literal message in this verse is that Jesus will restore a beautiful city in the very place of ruins complete with even a palace. Complete and total restoration in a place mankind had completely given up hope and were no longer seeking Zion ( the Kingdom of God)
19 And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small.
20 Their children also shall be as aforetime, and their congregation shall be established before me, and I will punish all that oppress them.
21 And their nobles shall be of themselves, and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them; and I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto me: for who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto me? saith the LORD
22 And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
What a beautiful picture of restoration. I love how these verses give a detailed picture of what a redeemed and restored shanty town looks like. Notice how the beauty described here is not in the physical houses or buildings but in the restored hearts of the people full of hope and restored relationships where even the children will be again as afore-time. Zechariah says it best when describing the Aforetime.
3 Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain.
4 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age
5 And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof.
6 Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If it be marvelous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvelous in mine eyes? saith the LORD of hosts.
I love the picture painted in verse 5 “streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets” A safe place for children to grow up in a healthy environment with the old men and women in the streets watching the children.
Sometimes the work we do at SLCH can seem so insignificant, taking one child at a time out of this place of darkness and bringing them to the safety of the home at Shining Light while there are thousands still in the unredeemed shantytowns that are awaiting restoration. Our hearts cry out “ Jesus please restore these places of desperation where thousands of innocent children are born into daily” It does not seem fair or right. Maybe just maybe Jesus will use one of these little ones to go back to their people and be a prophet like Jeremiah and the prophets of old.
The gut-wrenching reality continues to burn the vision deep in our hearts of bringing Jesus to one child at a time.
Please join us in fervent prayer that God would do a work of revival starting in our own hearts that would spread to thousands who live without hope.