“I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow. I will feast the soul of the priests with abundance, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 31:13-14)
The Israelites were God’s special people. He had made a covenant with their forefather Abraham and He had given them His commandments to live by. If they did, they would be richly blessed. But the Israelites often violated the terms of God’s covenant. They did not live according to His will, their lives were full of injustice and they worshiped idols — despite repeated warnings. In the end, the Lord God punished them by allowing enemies to take them captive and destroy their land.
However, today’s verses show us that the Lord did not abandon His faithless people. He offered them hope for the future and promised them joy, gladness and abundance. These promises show God’s undeserved grace and goodness, even for a people that had turned its back on Him.
For the Lord God does not rejoice in punishment, but in a loving and joyful relationship with humans. As He says in Ezekiel 33:11, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?”
God has not changed since the days of Jeremiah and Ezekiel. He still wants the best for all of us! He is a God of joy and goodness.