Bringing Believers Together
And I will be found of you, saith the Lord: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the Lord; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive. Jeremiah 29:14
suggested further reading: Revelation 7
God’s people, who have been dispersed into all nations and all places, will one day be brought together, the prophet says. The same message is declared in the Psalms: “he gathereth together the outcasts [or, the dispersions] of Israel” (Psalm 147:2). Jeremiah declares this truth to Jews who are considering their dreadful dispersion and can entertain no hope.
We see how the prophet offers them hope and encourages them to struggle against this trial. The words seem to have been taken from Moses, who says that, though they will be scattered through the extreme parts of the world, yet God will gather them (Deut. 30:1–3). In Deuteronomy 30, Moses expressly reproves the unbelief of God’s people if they despair of God’s mercy and salvation when they are torn and scattered. He says that God’s power is abundantly sufficient to gather them together, even if they are scattered to the four quarters of the world.
We now perceive the intent of the prophet. We also gain a useful teaching that God in a wonderful manner will gather his church when believers are scattered to form them into one body. For a time he may obliterate the name of the church and even its appearance. He has given us some proof of that in our time. For who could have thought that the church we now see with our eyes in some parts of our world would ever take place? How could we know that in a time of dreadful desolation everywhere, when no corner in the world could be found where two or three faithful men could dwell together, that God in a secret manner would gather his elect?
We hence see that this prophecy has not only been fulfilled at one time, but that by the grace of God it has often been manifested and is still being made manifest in the gathering together of God’s church.
for meditation: How can we believe the church is triumphant when it is constantly torn apart by schisms or frequently driven underground, such as in China or Russia? How can we grasp this promise that all believers will one day be gathered into one body to praise and worship God?