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LAUGHTER WILL RETURN
September 28, 2014
SCRIPTURE: Jeremiah 33:2-11
INTRODUCTION: Men may shut up the Lord’s servant, but they cannot shut out the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:9). The Word comes to you -- no matter where you are -- if your heart is open to God. Also, the Lord sometimes has a “second” message for you, so be alert!
The Lord sent Jeremiah, God’s imprisoned prophet, a message of encouragement:
(1) The “sick” nation would one day have health.
(2) The defiled nation would be cleansed.
(3) War would give way to peace.
(4) The truth of God would conquer the lies of the false prophets.
There would be wedding songs, not funeral dirges; and righteousness would reign from the throne of David.
I. DESTRUCTION OF THE CITY. (Jeremiah 33:2-5)
A. The Lord’s advice.
(Jeremiah 33:2-3) 2 Thus saith the Lord the maker thereof, the Lord that formed it, to establish it; the Lord is his name; 3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
1. The testimony.
“Jeremiah 33:3” is quoted frequently at testimony meetings. It is a very wonderful verse (“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”), but I think it is more meaningful if it is remembered in the context of this chapter.
Despite the fact that Jeremiah is in prison, this man was told by God to buy a piece of real estate. Jeremiah acted by faith and bought the real estate, but he has a great many questions in his mind. WHY was God permitting Judah to go into captivity?
2. The doubt.
Frankly, I think that every believer has these moments of doubt from time to time. Someone will ask, “How can that be.” If you are walking with God and are in fellowship with Him, He is so wonderful and He does such wonderful things that there will be times when you do not understand what He is doing. Our question is bound to be, “WHY are You doing this?” Do you have questions like that?
The Big Question
By Dr. Vernon McGee
I have had questions like [Jeremiah]. I remember one evening going to the hospital to see my wife and our firstborn baby. The nurse said to me, “The doctor wants to speak to you,” and she looked very serious. The doctor said to me, “The little baby died.”
He hadn’t told my wife, so he and I went in and told her and we wept together. I walked out (I never shall forget) to an open-air porch there at the hospital. It was summertime, and I looked up at the heavens and the stars. I had a question. Do you know what that question was? Why? Why? I still look up and ask that same question. Over the years I have learned to put my hand in His and just keep walking in the dark. Many times I talk this over with Him, and I tell Him about my doubts, but I also tell Him that I trust Him.
I’m glad that Jeremiah was that kind of a man. And there are other men in Scripture who also had questions they asked God. In the Book of Habakkuk, we find that Habakkuk had a lot of questions. In fact, his book is just a great big “WHY?”.
Jonah also had some questions to ask the Lord. My friend, such questions are not a revelation of a lack of faith, but it is hypocrisy to pretend that we have accepted God’s ways and are walking in complete submission to Him when actually we are having questions deep inside. I believe that God wants us to be completely honest with Him above everything else. And this is His promise to us: “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” – Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee
3. The covenant.
Now God is going to reaffirm the covenant He made with David in 2 Samuel 7. The Lord made a covenant with David that there would be one to sit on his throne forever. This covenant became the theme song of every prophet, so much so that they all sound like a stuck record. They all refer back to this covenant and rest upon it. Listen to Jeremiah.
B. The Lord’s judgment.
(Jeremiah 33:4-5) 4 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. 5 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.
1. Judgment is coming.
Jeremiah knew that the city of Jerusalem was destined for judgment: “Behold the mounts, they are come unto the city to take it; and the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans, that fight against it, because of the sword, and of the famine, and of the pestilence: and what thou hast spoken is come to pass; and, behold, thou seest it.” (Jeremiah 32:24)
In His love for Jeremiah, the Lord also gave Jeremiah further words of assurance and encouragement -- promises that relate to the end times.
2. Jerusalem will be restored.
Jeremiah knew that the city of Jerusalem was destined for restoration. The houses of Jerusalem (destroyed by the engines of the besiegers or filled with dead bodies) (1) shall be restored; (2) the captives shall be brought back; (3) their sins shall be forgiven, and (4) God shall be glorified.
II. PROMISE OF RESTORATION. (Jeremiah 33:6-9)
A. The Lord will bring healing to the nation.
(Jeremiah 33:6-7) 6 Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth. 7 And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first.
1. The Lord gave words of encouragement.
Jeremiah was still in prison, the Lord gave him further glowing promises of restoration to Israel and Judah. Judah and Jerusalem in their idolatry and rebellion were without peace and health (Jeremiah 8:15, 22). The Lord promised healing in response to their repentance (Jeremiah 3:22; 30:17).
2. The Lord will give them great joy.
The land will be repopulated with joyful people; the mountains will be enriched with flocks; and, best of all, the Messiah, “A Branch of righteousness” descended from King David, will come.
B. The Lord will do good to Israel.
(Jeremiah 33:8-9) 8 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. 9 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.
1. Jehovah will make them clean.
Forgiveness is described with two terms, “cleanse” and “pardon.” The word cleanse describes ritual purification of what is physically or spiritually unclean or defiled, like Israel and Judah (Jeremiah 2:23; 7:30).
2. Jehovah will pardon them.
Pardon means “to forgive,” and in the Old Testament is used only with God as the subject as He forgives man. This fact helps us understand the reaction of the scribes when they heard Jesus forgiving sins (see Mark 2:7).
3. Jehovah will amaze them.
As the citizens of Moab (see Numbers 22:1–6) and Jericho (see Joshua 2:8–14) were full of fear and trembling before the nation that had benefited from the Lord’s mighty works, so all would “fear” and “tremble” in amazement at the Lord’s new masterwork.
III. FUTURE CELEBRATION. (Jeremiah 33:10-11)
Note: As you read, notice the contrast between Jeremiah 33:10 and Jeremiah 33:11:
A. Defeat and destruction.
(Jeremiah 33:10) 10 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.
Verse 10 expresses the tragedy of the destruction and exile of Jerusalem and Judah. The human population and their flocks and herds are all gone!
Note: I would add is that even though there are no domesticated animals left, there is also no mention of wild animals inhabiting the site. These wild animals often denoted the presence of the demonic (cf. Jeremiah 9:11; 10:22; Isaiah 13:22; 34:11-15; Zephaniah 2:14).
B. Joy and gladness.
(Jeremiah 33:11) 11 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.
Verse 11 is a list of the joys of normal social activities (i.e., weddings, feast days, and etc.). This joy is possible because Jehovah (the God of Israel and the Bible) has brought His people back to their land and He dwells with them (i.e., the Temple will be there). This theme of joy is recurrent in the prophets (see, Jeremiah 31:12; Isaiah 12:1-6; 25:9; 35:10; 51:3,11; 65:18; 66:10; Zephaniah 2:6-7).
Note: For Jeremiah’s people a new day was coming because a new covenant was coming. That new covenant is centered on Jesus Christ and salvation by grace through faith (cf. Ephesians 2:8-10), which issues in Christlikeness (see, Jeremiah 33:15).
(Jeremiah 33:15) 15 In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness [i.e., Jesus Christ] to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.
Wrestling With God
By Herbert Vander Lugt
When the board members of George Müller’s orphanage told him it was impossible to raise enough money to keep the operation going, Müller rejoiced. He said their sense of helplessness would make them rely more fully on the Lord. They did, and God met their need.
Complete dependence on God is an absolute necessity if we are to enjoy His blessing and power. But we seldom learn this truth apart from bitter experience.
Take Jacob, for example. For many years he had lived by his own schemes. Even though distressed when he heard that his brother Esau, whom he had wronged, was coming with 400 men, Jacob had a plan. He tried to make sure that if he were attacked, half of his family would survive. It was then that a “Man” (God in human form) wrestled with Jacob. Just before dawn, the Man demonstrated His deity by putting Jacob’s hip out of joint by a mere touch. All Jacob could do was cling to the Man, pleading for His blessing (Gen. 32:26; Hos. 12:4). This was a turning point in Jacob’s life, for he learned that blessing comes only from the Lord.
We too must realize that the only way to experience God’s favor and provision is to depend on Him.
we stop our own devising,
Quit the schemes of our own choosing,
Cease from all our fruitless striving—
God steps in with grace and power!
– Our Daily Bread, January 10, 1994
CONCLUSION: When will all this occur? It will occur during the Millennium when Jesus Christ (the Son of David; Israel’s Messiah), reigns on earth (Jeremiah 23:5–6) and makes Jerusalem a city of righteousness. In the meantime, as the Lord Jesus reigns in our lives, we can be His servants and minister to those who need these same blessings.
Praise the Lord! Through us, the Lord can bring to others the life-changing message of salvation, spiritual health, cleansing, and peace, and they can start rebuilding what sin has torn down in their lives.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “If we depend wholly on God, we will find Him wholly dependable.”
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REFERENCES: References used in the Bible study are the King James Bible (KJV), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, KJV Bible Commentary, Dr. J. Vernon McGee © Thru the Bible Radio Network ( www.ttb.org ), Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, RBC Ministries ( http://rbc.org/ ), selected illustrations, and other references.
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