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The Book of Hope, Chapter 4 - Jeremiah 33

God's promises to His people are as sure as His promise that the sun will rise and set: Absolutely unbreakable.

Jeremiah 32:17, 33:1-26; Genesis 2:24; 2 Samuel 7:16; Psalm 89:3-4, 110:4; Hebrews 4:14, 10:12-14.

Jun 09, 2013 12:00 PM

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Scripture Reading

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Gen 1:1

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” Job 38:4a

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host. Ps 33:6

For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Ex 20:11a

All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. John 1:3

“You are the Lord, you alone.  You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.” Neh 9:6

Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. Ps 102:25

Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Ps 124:8

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever; Ps 146:5-6

Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, Isaiah 42:5a

For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (he is God!), who formed the earth and made it (he established it; he did not create it empty, he formed it to be inhabited!): “I am the Lord, and there is no other.” Isaiah 45:18

May the Lord bless you from Zion, he who made heaven and earth! Ps 134:3

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One of the marks of the decline of American life is the number of couples today who forego marriage for the sake of co-habitation.  It is really not difficult to understand why this situation exists.  I believe it mostly has to do with commitment as is typically expressed in marriage vows.

It is common knowledge that over half of all marriages in the US have ended in divorce for many years.  Now it seems the mentality of the majority of young adults is that it is better not to make marriage vows than to make them and break them.  This attitude is coming from a very high percentage of children from divorced families.  Mom and Dad didn’t keep their promises, and I expect I won’t keep mine either, so let’s just not make those promises and agree to live together in a non-committed loving relationship.

Which begs the question: How much love is there in a relationship between two people who agree in advance not to be committed to one another exclusively?  I would say, “Not much.”

Thus the need for prenuptial legal agreements, and separate bank accounts, and carefully worded wills, and myriads of very rich divorce lawyers with more work than they can do.  It is hard to find people who are reliable, trustworthy, and willing to commit to much of anything, much less to marriage “for better or for worse”.  It is even hard to find Christians who are committed to the Lord Jesus, “til death do us part”.  Or rather, ‘til death do us meet!”

The Scriptures speak often of God and His people in marital terms.  God is the husband and Israel is his wife.  Jesus is the bridegroom and the Church is His Bride.  The intention of this imagery is that just as marriage was invented by God to be a permanent bond between husband and wife . . .

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24 ESV)

. . . so His relationship with His people is a permanent commitment of love.  At least on His part.  Regardless of how faithless His people have been or will be, even to the point of murdering the Lord Jesus, God never has, and never will make a promise that He cannot keep or that He does not fully intend to keep.  God is committed to save and keep a people for Himself, to whom He has made a vow to hold fast. His covenant with His people can never be broken.  That is the main point of Jeremiah 33.  The primary reason why it cannot be broken is because of who it is that has made the covenant.

The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah a second time, while he was still shut up in the court of the guard: 2 “Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it—the Lord is his name: 3 Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. 4 For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city and the houses of the kings of Judah that were torn down to make a defense against the siege mounds and against the sword: 5 They are coming in to fight against the Chaldeans and to fill them[b] with the dead bodies of men whom I shall strike down in my anger and my wrath, for I have hidden my face from this city because of all their evil. 6 Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security. 7 I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel, and rebuild them as they were at first. 8 I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me. 9 And this city[c] shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I do for them. They shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it.

10 “Thus says the Lord: In this place of which you say, ‘It is a waste without man or beast,’ in the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate, without man or inhabitant or beast, there shall be heard again 11 the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voices of those who sing, as they bring thank offerings to the house of the Lord:

“‘Give thanks to the Lord of hosts,
for the Lord is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!’

For I will restore the fortunes of the land as at first, says the Lord.

12 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: In this place that is waste, without man or beast, and in all of its cities, there shall again be habitations of shepherds resting their flocks. 13 In the cities of the hill country, in the cities of the Shephelah, and in the cities of the Negeb, in the land of Benjamin, the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, flocks shall again pass under the hands of the one who counts them, says the Lord.

14 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15 In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’

17 “For thus says the Lord: David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel, 18 and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man in my presence to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings, and to make sacrifices forever.”

19 The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 20 “Thus says the Lord: If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night will not come at their appointed time, 21 then also my covenant with David my servant may be broken, so that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne, and my covenant with the Levitical priests my ministers. 22 As the host of heaven cannot be numbered and the sands of the sea cannot be measured, so I will multiply the offspring of David my servant, and the Levitical priests who minister to me.”

23 The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 24 “Have you not observed that these people are saying, ‘The Lord has rejected the two clans that he chose’?  Thus they have despised my people so that they are no longer a nation in their sight. 25 Thus says the Lord: If I have not established my covenant with day and night and the fixed order of heaven and earth, 26 then I will reject the offspring of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his offspring to rule over the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  For I will restore their fortunes and will have mercy on them.”

Ten times in these 26 verses we read phrases like the one in verse 1 - The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah. Or verse 2 - Thus says the Lord. That particular phrase is repeated seven times.  So one thing we can learn from this chapter is what? -- The LORD had something to say to Jeremiah.  And through Jeremiah to the people.  The LORD is speaking.

And someone might be so foolish as to say, “So why is this important?”  It is only important if the person making these statements is credible.  So the next question should be, “Is the LORD credible?”  Can we trust what He says?  Is He just making empty promises He either cannot keep or has no intention of keeping?  Is this covenant He has made with His people any good?

It is as good as the LORD who spoke it is credible.  And how credible is He?

Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it.

Those are His credentials.  In chapter 32 Jeremiah said, ‘Ah, Lord God!  It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm!  Nothing is too hard for you. (Jeremiah 32:17 ESV)

Nothing is too hard for God!  He made everything.  He made heaven and the heaven of heavens.  He made the earth and everything in it.  Without Him, nothing was made that was made.  He upholds the entire universe by the word of his power.  And here He is speaking another word to Jeremiah: Nothing will keep me from restoring My people in this place and returning their fortunes to them.  The destruction I have brought upon them in my anger against their sinfulness, I will reverse.  I will keep all my promises to my people Israel.

“‘Give thanks to the Lord of hosts, for the Lord is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!’

For I will restore the fortunes of the land as at first, says the Lord. (Jeremiah 33:11b ESV)

However, there is one thing that could possibly cause God to break His covenant.  Look at verse 19.

20 “Thus says the Lord: If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night will not come at their appointed time, 21 then also my covenant with David my servant may be broken, so that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne, and my covenant with the Levitical priests my ministers.

Notice what this says: “If you can break my covenant with the day and with the night.”  Who did God make this covenant with?  The day and the night.  Who did He not make this covenant with?  Us.  Israel.  It is not a covenant with men.  How is it possible that men could break this covenant?  We aren’t involved in it at all.  It is God’s promise to the earth that He has made by His own great power.

Q:  Secondly, if we could break it, what would we have to do to cause God’s covenant with day and night to be broken?  What would we have to do in order to prevent day and night from coming at God’s appointed times?

A:  Change the rotation of the earth on its axis.  I would submit to you that it is in our best interest not to attempt that.

This chapter begins with a phenomenal statement regarding who it is that is speaking: Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it.  That is who is speaking.  He says that His establishment of the Earth is an unchangeable covenant which He has made with night and day.  It is permanent.   And this text reiterates ten times the fact that this is the God who is speaking.  And He who made an unbreakable promise with the Earth has also made an unbreakable covenant with Israel.  If we can alter the spinning of the Earth to change the God-established processes of sunrise and sunset, then we can break God’s covenant with His people Israel.

How is it possible that the One who permanently established the heavens and the earth, day and night, all the hosts of Heaven, and who created all of mankind -- How is it possible that this God would make a commitment to Israel that He could not or would not keep?  He absolutely cannot and will not violate His vows.  It is impossible.

Exactly what is it that He has promised?  What is the nature of His covenant with Israel?  Notice verses 14-18.

14 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15 In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely.  And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’

17 “For thus says the Lord: David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel, 18 and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man in my presence to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings, and to make sacrifices forever.”

God’s people, in that day, will never lack a King.  God said to David,

And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me.  Your throne shall be established forever.’” (2 Samuel 7:16 ESV)

And David said to God,

You have said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn to David my servant: ‘I will establish your offspring forever, and build your throne for all generations.’” (Psalm 89:3-4 ESV)

In that day they will never lack a Priest.

The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind,

“You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” (Psalm 110:4)

This is the Messiah.  God promised Israel an eternal King and an eternal Priest who is the Lord Jesus.

We have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, (Hebrews 4:14 ESV)

12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. (Hebrews 10:12-14 ESV)

The Lord Jesus is the only Priest who ever worked himself out of a job.  With one sacrifice, the sacrifice of Himself, His work of offering sacrifices to God on behalf of all His people was done.  Jesus is the promised Branch, the promised Priest, and the promised King of Israel.  He is the literal embodiment of the phrase, “The LORD is our righteousness.  He will save Judah and cause Jerusalem to dwell securely.  These are euphemisms to represent His elect people from all the ages, everywhere.

Finally, verses 23-26 serve as an encouraging conclusion:

23 The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: 24 “Have you not observed that these people [presumably the Chaldeans] are saying, ‘The Lord has rejected the two clans that he chose’?  Thus they have despised my people so that they are no longer a nation in their sight. 25 Thus says the Lord: If I have not established my covenant with day and night and the fixed order of heaven and earth, 26 then I will reject the offspring of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his offspring to rule over the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For I will restore their fortunes and will have mercy on them.

This is why these four chapters of Jeremiah we’ve just studied are called the Book of Hope. Things are very, very bad in Judah and Jerusalem.  Jeremiah is under house arrest.  All of his prophecies go unheeded.  His own people want to kill him.  The Chaldeans have surrounded the city and built their seigeworks.  The people of Jerusalem are cut off from the outside world.  Soon they will begin to starve.  Then King Nebuchadnezzar will finish what he started by destroying the city,tearing down the walls, burning the Temple to the ground and hauling all the sacred things of the Temple back to Babylon to be placed in the temple of his own pagan gods.

But,

6 Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security. 7 I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel, and rebuild them as they were at first. 8 I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me. 9 And this city shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I do for them. They shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it.

This is the future of all of God’s people.  Health and healing; Prosperity and security; Restoration and rebuilding; Cleansing and forgiveness of sins; Joy and praise and glory and good.  And it will happen when our great King and High Priest returns for His own.


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