Friday, August 28, 2015

As Sure As The Rising Of The Sun

Jeremiah 33:1-26

“Moreover the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison, saying, Thus saith the LORD the maker thereof, the LORD that formed it, to establish it; the LORD is his name; Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” (Jeremiah 32:1-3)

Jeremiah was still in prison, accused of treason because he had preached that God said the Jews were to submit to Nebuchadnezzar and the Chaldeans rather than fighting them, when God sent this prophecy.  He starts by encouraging him, reminding him that God is the creator of all the universe, including the prison he was in.  While it might seem hopeless, if he would just call on the Lord, God would answer and show him wonderful and powerful things he couldn’t even imagine.  Verse three is one of the most popular verses in the book of Jeremiah.  Unfortunately is often misapplied, ignoring a vital part of the message.    

“For thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city, and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, which are thrown down by the mounts, and by the sword; They come to fight with the Chaldeans, but it is to fill them with the dead bodies of men, whom I have slain in mine anger and in my fury, and for all whose wickedness I have hid my face from this city.” (Jeremiah 33:4-5)

About fourteen years before, Nebuchadnezzar’s army had defeated Judah and carried away much of the population.  Three years later they were forced to return to put down an insurrection, and removed Jehoiakim from power, taking him as a prisoner, aAnd making his son Jehoiachin king.   Jehoiacnin was just a child and his advisors continued the insurrection so after three months Jehoiachin was dethroned and Jehoiakim’s brother Zedekiah was made king.  For the next ten years, Zedekiah and the other leaders plotted to throw off Babylonian power and finally Nebuchadnezzar was forced to besiege Jerusalem again. 

God said that all those who had plotted against Babylon were expecting to throw off Nebuchadnezzars power, but instead they were just going to provide dead bodies to fill the houses in Jerusalem when they were defeated.   They would be killed as a result of God’s anger.  Their wickedness has lcaused god to turn his back on them.  More than a hundred years before, Isaiah told Israel , “Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear,” in Isaiah 59:1-2.  Most people choose to ignore the warnings and focus only on the final result. 

Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.  And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first.  And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me.  And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honour before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it.” (Jeremiah 33:6-9)

God is going to cure the Nation, and eliminate all the sins they have committed in the past and forgive them for all the times when they have deliberately broken his law.  Then Jerusalem and Judah will have a reputation that glorifies God.  The other nations will know what God has done for them and will respect and honor him for what he does for them.  This will not happen until the old rebellious generation are dead and a new generation with a different attitude take their place.  The elimination of that wicked generation is part of God’s mighty work. 

“ Thus saith the LORD; Again there shall be heard in this place, which ye say shall be desolate without man and without beast, even in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, that are desolate, without man, and without inhabitant, and without beast,  The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the LORD of hosts: for the LORD is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the LORD.

Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Again in this place, which is desolate without man and without beast, and in all the cities thereof, shall be an habitation of shepherds causing their flocks to lie down.  In the cities of the mountains, in the cities of the vale, and in the cities of the south, and in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, shall the flocks pass again under the hands of him that telleth them, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 33:10-13)

When God has cleansed the land, he will again restore it.  The areas which were considered just desert and uninhabitable will resound with the music from weddings and other celebrations.  The people will be thanking god for his eternal mercy that did not completely destroy Israel and Judah and they will bring sacrifices to show their thanks.    They will be free again, and the desert places will again support vast flocks of sheep and cattle and be traded in Jerusalem. 
“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.  In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.  In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness.  For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel; Neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.” (Jeremiah 33:14-18)

The day will surely come when God will keep his promise to Israel.  When that Day comes, Christ will be king over Israel, fulfilling God’s promise to David. For a thousand years there will be peace on earth during the Millennium, as described in Isaiah and Revelation. 

“And the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD; If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers.  As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.” (Jeremiah 33:19-22)

God’s promises to David are as sure to be fulfilled as it is that the sun will come up in morning or that it will go down in the evening.  The descendants of David and the Levites that serve God will be as numerous as the stars of heaven or as the grains of sand on the seashore. 

“Moreover the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying, Considerest thou not what this people have spoken, saying, The two families which the LORD hath chosen, he hath even cast them off? thus they have despised my people, that they should be no more a nation before them.

Thus saith the LORD; If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them.” (Jeremiah 33:23-26)

After seeing the destruction of Israel and Judah, people thought God had broken his covenant with them because of their sin and would never forgive them or save them.  God says his promise to Abraham is as sure as his planning for the rising of the sun and the orbits of the many stars and planets.  If those break down, then God will forget his promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David.  God will deliver them from captivity and bless them.  

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