Jeremiah 46 is a chapter of dread and fear, with a smattering of salvation. The first twenty-six verses are of the LORD describing the terror He will bring against “the nations”. Just like so many prophecies before, God promises to bring retribution on the unrighteous. Promises, such as these, bring hope to the people of Israel. This is easily reminded with the closing of the chapter (v27-28) beginning with the admonition to “fear not…nor be dismayed”.
At the time this prophecy is delivered, the nation of Israel is divided, conquered, and many are captives to Babylon. This has been brought about by God to punish them for forsaking His teachings- as He had promised. In the past, the nation had seen such prosperity when they were looking to God. King David had expanded the borders with military might and was a “man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13.22). Solomon started out strong and was blessed with more wisdom than any other man (1 Kings 3.12). In the days Solomon ruled, silver was as common as stone (1 Kings 10.27). Yet, the kings that followed (largely) did not seek God for hundreds of years. Eventually, all prosperity is squandered, and God is faithful to His promise to deliver His people into the hands of their enemies.
Jeremiah is letting God’s people know that God has stored up a day in which He will squash all of their enemies. He promises the scattered, indentured, faithful that He is with them (28). The LORD assures them that “[He] will make a full end of all the nations to which [He has] driven [them], but that “[He] will not make a full end [of them]”.
However, the last line of the chapter is “I will discipline you in just measure, and I will by no means leave you unpunished”. The reminder is clear- God must punish the wicked, and His people have been wicked. We would be wise to take heed to the same teaching. God loves His people. His desire is to bless us beyond conceivable measure, and He will. But we must be faithful to Him. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Seek, and be blessed.