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Thanksgiving Sermon from Jeremiah 33 November 18, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Jeremiah, Religion, Sermons, Thanksgiving.
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THANKSGIVING FOR THE MIGHTY WORKS OF GOD

Jeremiah 33

Sometimes you look around and you do not see a lot of reasons to be thankful. Times are tough. Friends are few. Money is tight. Your nerves are frazzled or numb. Yet it is possible to have hope. It is possible to look forward to the day when you will be able to express your thanksgiving to God. It is just such a situation that Jeremiah finds himself in this chapter.

THE CURRENT SITUATION WAS DIRE BOTH FOR JEREMIAH AND FOR JERUSALEM (verses 1-5).

Zedekiah had been king for almost nine years. The Babylonians had defeated his nephew, taken him off the throne and deported him to Babylon, and put Zedekiah on the throne with the understanding that he would obey them. Things went well for awhile and then Zedekiah decided to rebel against Babylon. The Babylonians brought their army and surrounded Jerusalem. After three or four months, Zedekiah sent a messenger to Jeremiah who was in prison. Now Jeremiah had been prophesying for years that Jerusalem would fall to the Babylonians. Finally, the princes got tired of what they felt was his defeatist attitude and threw him into prison. We find this recorded in Jeremiah 37:13-21. He ended up staying in prison for perhaps as much as a year because he refused to back off of the message that God had given him. Jeremiah had some freedom because he was able to get messages out to the man who wrote down at least some of his prophecies. Chapter 33, we find that God again spoke to Jeremiah. During the months Jeremiah spent in prison, it appears he only heard from God twice. Can you imagine how lonely this man must have been? Here he has given his life to preaching the message of God and then suddenly, God, for the most part, leaves him alone.

The situation outside the prison was not much better. Jerusalem was surrounded. People are suffering from hunger. They cannot get out and nothing can get in for day after day after day. And these people are aware of the prophecies of Jeremiah and Isaiah and Habakkuk, men who were told by God that the Babylonians would defeat and destroy the city of Jerusalem. Verses 4 and 5 describe the desperate situation in which they found themselves. “For thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city and the houses of the kings of Judah, which have been pulled down to fortify against the siege mounds and the sword: They come to fight with the Chaldeans, but only to fill their places with the dead bodies of men whom I will slay in My anger and My fury, all for whose wickedness I have hidden My face from this city.” This city was in a hopeless situation and they had brought it on themselves with their wickedness. In this hopeless situation, God sends a message reminding them of His mighty work in establishing Jerusalem in the past (verse 2). He says, do not forget that this city is mine. It bears my name.

THE PROPHECY OF A BETTER TOMORROW (People need to know there is a better tomorrow. ) 

The Future Situation for Jerusalem is Bright (verses 3, 6-9). In verse 3, God calls for them in their trouble to turn to Him and to see what God will do for them (verse 3). When God says that this is something that they do not know, He does not mean that this is information that had never been available to them. Since the time of David, God had repeatedly promised that Jerusalem would be His city forever. The Psalmist wrote, “Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised, in the city of our God, in the mountain of His holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth is mount Zion on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.” These people could have and should have known that God would not leave their city forever desolate but in their lifetime, they had not been blessed of God. They had been oppressed by their enemies. They had become a pawn in the power struggle between the Babylonian and the Egyptian nations. It appeared that God had forsaken them but Jeremiah wrote, “Call to God and He will answer you and He will show you what it is that He is going to do.” There are three types of mighty works which God promises to do.

 WHAT IS THE PEACE OF JERUSALEM?

The Peace of Jerusalem is Restored (verse 6). Often we have heard people ask based on Psalm 122 that we pray for the peace of Jerusalem. This passage here explains what that means. The request to pray for the peace of Jerusalem is not to pray for peace in the Middle East. It is not to pray that Israel will be able to defeat her Arab and Muslim enemies. The peace of Jerusalem that we are to pray for is not a political peace but an eternal peace.

You may ask yourself, what do I care if they have peace of any kind in Jerusalem. Let me try to impress on you the importance of these promises to us today.

If you would, look again at the beginning of this verse. He describes the restoration of peace as healing. This week as I met with a young couple to discuss the graveside service with them, this concept was very precious to them. They selected two portions of Scripture, in which we can find companion verses to Jeremiah 33:6. The first one is Isaiah 53:5, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” The second is Psalm 147, a beautiful psalm of thanksgiving with which most of us are probably not familiar enough. Verses 2-3 of that psalm say, “The LORD builds up Jerusalem; He gathers together the outcasts of Israel. He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.”

When Christ died, it was to provide forgiveness. When Christ died, it was to provide peace. And when Christ died, it was to bind the brokenhearted. There is comfort in Christ and it cost Him to provide that comfort, that healing. It cost Him His life. All of this is part of the promises that God made to Israel and were through Jesus Christ imparted to us (Romans 9-11).

The Return of Jerusalem’s People is Made Possible (verse 7). Already at this time, many Jews were scattered throughout Asia. The Assyrians had taken the ten northern tribes captive and scattered them throughout the Assyrian empire. The Babylonians had come twice in the past twenty years and had taken Jews captive into their kingdom. In the first captivity was a man who we know well as Daniel. In the second captivity which numbered around 100,000 people was the prophet Ezekiel. Since that time the Jewish nation as a whole has never been in their homeland but God has promised that a day is coming when the Jews will come home to His city to stay.

The Forgiveness of Jerusalem’s People is Provided (verse 8). Cleansing and pardon is provided. God not only is going to restore the city and the people to the city but He is going to restore the people themselves through cleansing and pardon. He is going to do what Isaiah called for when he said to Israel, “Come now and let us reason together. Though your sins be as red as scarlet they shall be as white as snow. Though they be red like crimson, they shall be wool.”

THE WORK OF GOD RESULTS IN PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING (verses 9-13).

His Reputation is Established among the Nations and they Praise Him (verses 9). In these other works is the reputation of God established among the nations. When they see the peace of Jerusalem restored, when they see its people return, and they see that God’s people’s relationship has been restored, they will marvel and they will praise God.

His People Praise and Thank Him because of the Effect that the Mighty Work has on their Lives (verses 10-13). He brings peace to the land so that again, shepherds may safely watch their flocks. God will make the world safe for His people, Israel. This branch, this sprout, will make it happen.

GOD MAKES THIS HAPPEN THROUGH JESUS CHRIST. 

The Mighty Work is Accomplished through Jesus Christ of the House of David (verses 14-22). He will judge righteously (Compare verses 14-16 with Isaiah 11:3-5). See also Jeremiah 23:5. Our Lord Jesus Christ judges righteously and so His people are called by His name THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Now I can understand how that God can judge righteously but how can He become righteousness for me, who am ungodly by birth, by nature, and by choice. 2 Corinthians 5:21 explains, “ For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” We are back again at the sin offering. In the Old Testament, when they laid their hands on the goat before sacrificing it, they were transferring the guilt of their sin to that sacrifice. When we put our faith in Christ, not only is our guilt transferred to our sacrifice, Jesus Christ, but His righteousness, His perfection, His blamelessness is transferred to us. That is why Paul could say in Philippians 3:9 that he was “…found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;…”

He will provide an abundance of peace and truth (compare verse 16 with verse 6). Yes, Jesus started as a branch, as a shoot coming up out of the decaying stump of the royal house of David but He will take root, He will become a tree. When He does, a new day will dawn on the earth. Verse 15 use the phrases “in those days and at that time.” Verse 14 states, “Behold, the days are coming…” The question now is this. What will happen that will reveal Jesus in His power and His glory? He rescues Israel (verse 16). Many of them are in the land now but they still have not accepted Christ as their Messiah. There is coming a day, though, when they will accept Christ as their personal and national Savior. This little branch, this little shoot that was rejected will come back in strength and in power and will rescue His people Israel.

He will reign eternally (verses 17-22). Notice, this message of hope is given not to the people who are going to be here when Christ returns as King but to people who were surrounded by the enemy and given no hope by God’s prophet. Jeremiah is saying to the people. It is bad. You have sorrows. You have troubles. But in your sorrows, in your troubles, in your worries and difficulties you can have peace. The peace of God. The branch has come. He reigns in heaven on high today. He began as a little branch and has grown to be the King of the Universe and He can be a root of strength and nourishment in your life. Go to Him, throw yourself on Him for strength and insight and direction and help in the time of need.

 

In Rome there is a small ancient building called the Mamertine Prison where the Apostle Paul supposedly spent his last days. This building has a dungeon, that was reachable through a round hole in the ceiling where prisoners and food were let down into it. There are no windows. It is cold and damp but in that dungeon there is a small fountain of fresh water.

 

The days sometime look very cold and dark. Hopelessness seems to be all that is around you. This chapter, however, reminds you that no matter how dark it may appear, how cold it may feel, how hopeless you may be, there is hope, there is peace, there is forgiveness, there is righteousness in Jesus Christ.

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Links to Sermons from Jeremiah 33 November 14, 2007

Posted by roberttalley in Jeremiah, Links, Prayer, Religion, Sermons, Spurgeon.
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This one from Spurgeon in his 20’s.

This one from Stedman covering chapters 32 and 33. Preached during the time of the Watergate scandal.