“Therefore I will teach them—
this time I will teach them
my power and might.
Then they will know
that my name is the LORD.”
Jeremiah 16:21 NIV
The extended passage, Jeremiah 16:19-21, seems to be in the form of a conversation between Jeremiah and God. Jeremiah started by seeing the nations, or Gentiles, coming to God and confessing that the gods they worshipped were not really gods at all. And God responded by saying that he would teach these Gentiles about his power and might. And, as a result, they would come to know God as Lord.
It would be easy to read this and see God’s power and might be displayed in a fashion similar to the plagues of the Exodus. Some dramatic and highly visible manifestation of God’s power. But when that did occur, it seems not to have had a long-ranging impact on those who experienced it. Within weeks, or even days, the Jews coming out of Egypt were complaining. And two years later were in full rebellion.
What is described in this verse would seem to be a more lasting change; they will know. Not just in their heads, but in their hearts. If the plagues in Egypt did not elicit that response, what would?
In 1 Corinthians 1:18 Paul says that “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” The power of God is most clearly displayed in the cross of Jesus. And it is through the transforming power of the cross, that people will come to know the Lord. And know him in a way that no number of external displays of power could ever duplicate.