Question: "What does God mean when He says, "I am the God of all flesh" (Jeremiah 32:26)?"
Answer: The prophet Jeremiah ministered in a time when Israel’s day of reckoning was sealed. Because of the people’s repeated idolatry and refusal to obey God’s Law, Jerusalem would be destroyed, and the surviving Jews would be transported to captivity in Babylon. But the Lord reassured Jeremiah that all was not lost. He intended to regather His people and make a new covenant with them (Jeremiah 32:36–44). God told Jeremiah, “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27, ESV).
All flesh is a figure of speech frequently used in Scripture to refer to all the living human inhabitants of the earth. It encompassed all of God’s creatures, particularly humanity. In Genesis 6:12, “All flesh had corrupted their way on the earth” (ESV). King David urged, “Let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever” (Psalm 145:21, ESV). And at the beginning of his ministry, John the Baptist quoted the prophet Isaiah, saying, “All flesh shall see the salvation of God” (Luke 3:6, ESV). “All mankind” (NIV), “all the peoples of the world” (NLT), and “every creature” (CSB) are appropriate substitutes for “all flesh” (ESV).
“I am the God of all flesh” was Yahweh’s reminder that His power and influence over all humankind were without limit. Jeremiah could trust that in God’s “hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:10). He was the “the God who gives breath to all living things” (Numbers 16:22) and “the God of the spirits of all flesh” (Numbers 27:16, ESV). The all-powerful, sovereign Lord had created all people, and He had a plan to offer redemption to all people. Yes, He would need to discipline and punish them for their disobedience, but that would not be God’s final act. In Jeremiah 33:1–26, God promised restoration and peace to Judah.
God’s question, “Is anything too hard for me?” was obviously rhetorical since Jeremiah had just declared, “Nothing is too hard for you” (Jeremiah 32:17). The Lord of the universe, the God of all flesh, was able to accomplish what frail humanity could not.
We see a clear link between this passage in Jeremiah and the new covenant of salvation in Jesus Christ through the sacrifice of His blood on the cross. When the disciples heard Jesus explain how difficult it was for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven, they asked, “Then who in the world can be saved?” (Matthew 19:25, NLT). God’s creatures do not have what it takes to save themselves. But with God all things are possible. And Jesus said as much: “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible” (Matthew 19:25–26, NLT).
The One who said, “I am the God of all flesh” also said, “I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior” (Isaiah 43:11). All people stand in need of salvation, which is only possible through faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1–2). What human beings could not do to save themselves, God did by providing gracious entrance into heaven through the gift of salvation in Jesus Christ (Romans 5:6–8; Titus 3:4–7; Ephesians 2:4–9). “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people” (Titus 2:11, ESV).
“All flesh” is a reference to a powerless and perishing humanity. Every person’s life, death, and salvation depend on the God of all flesh, who alone can save.