Power, Righteousness, Grace and Peace

JeremiahAn exposition of Jeremiah 32:26-46. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, October 26, 2008.

Are you ever troubled, burdened or confused about God’s will or God’s timing? Do you ever find yourself wondering if God is paying attention? Thought maybe He is just distracted and so hasn’t noticed what’s been happening in your world? Do you ever just want to say, “Lord are you sure about this?” That’s where Jeremiah was. Sure God had made it clear. God said to him, “Your cousin is going to come and offer you a piece of land. When he does you need to buy it.” Now this wasn’t a “coded” message. It was not a puzzle that he had to figure out. God plainly told him what to do. The cousin came. Made the offer and Jeremiah bought the old family farm. So what was the problem? Jeremiah had second thoughts. He obeyed without a moment’s hesitation but after the deal he thought, “what have I done?” Do you remember the circumstance?

  1. Jeremiah was in jail for his preaching. He really upset the king.
  2. He could die any day should the king decide to execute.
  3. It was a time of war.
  4. The Babylonian army already had the city surrounded.
  5. Oh, and the farm was in enemy occupied territory!

According to “the book” this was not a good time to invest in real estate. Can you imagine going to the Babylonians and saying, “Ah, excuse me. I just bought this land so you’re going to need to move along.” No wonder he had second thoughts. No wonder he was struggling. Let’s see how he works through this struggle. Our text this evening is found in Jeremiah chapter 32.

Text: Jeremiah 32:26-46
This just might go down as one of the worst real estate investments in the history of the Middle East. But to make matters worse – it was God’s idea! Thus Jeremiah prays: 24 Behold, the siege mounds have come up to the city to take it, and because of sword and famine and pestilence the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans who are fighting against it. What you spoke has come to pass, and behold, you see it. 25 Yet you, O Lord GOD, have said to me, Buy the field for money and get witnesses—though the city is given into the hands of the Chaldeans. (32:24-25) It is not really a request. It is not a question. It is kind of a statement but it is as if he stopped himself or maybe just wasn’t sure where to take it. It just hangs there. I think it is safe to read it as, “Am I right? Is this really what you want me to do?” Jeremiah cannot bring himself to say, “This is crazy” but that is what he is thinking. What do you do when you   God is crazy? How do you respond when you are confused and bewildered about things? When your stomach is in knots and your head is spinning where do you find peace? I think our text makes it clear that…

At the end of the day, the troubled heart finds peace when standing in awe of the power, glory and grace of God.
Let’s look quickly at three things:

  1. God responds to the questioning heart with a gentle yet firm reminder that He alone is God. (32:26-27)
    In affect Jeremiah is saying in that prayer recorded in 24-25 – “Lord do you know what you’re doing to my life?” Have you ever been there? Are you there now? “Lord is this really your answer? Are you kidding me?” How does God respond to that? He responds to Jeremiah’s question with a question of his own. “I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” I’m sorry Jeremiah are you saying this is too big a job for me? Are you saying this is out of my league? There is only one possible answer to this question – “NO!” The point of the question in Jeremiah 32:27 is that God is the almighty. This is to acknowledge that God is God. There are times you have nothing else to stand on. But you must understand – it is enough!
  2. God reminds struggling saints of His just and righteous judgment. (32:28- 35)
    After God reminded Jeremiah that He alone is God He then reveals what he plans to do about it. The first thing He makes plain is that He is going to punish sin. This was something Jeremiah was very aware of. Already the Babylonians are pounding on the door. The nation is about to enter at time of severe judgment involving 70 years of exile. It may sound harsh but remember what brought this on. It is not like they were not warned. Repeatedly God sent his messengers. Jeremiah preached for 40 years. No one is going to be able to say, “We just didn’t know.” No one is going to be able to say, “It wasn’t me” – that’s the whole point of Romans 1-3. God is holy, righteous and just in his judgment. Romans 3:23; 6:23a. This is where our text gets very interesting. It takes a sudden and dramatic turn. Look at 32:36-37. What? “Therefore?” It is not logical. What follows doesn’t fit with what went before.
  3. God reassures shaken saints of the wonder of His grace. (32:36-44)
    It just doesn’t fit. It isn’t logical. Donald Grey Barnhouse was exaggerating a bit but was right when he said the only logical doctrine in the Bible is the doctrine of hell. That one makes perfect sense. That a holy righteous God must punish sin. But the doctrine of grace defies logic. It seems fantastic even impossible – but is anything too hard for Him? Philip Ryken says this section reads like a “to do” list.

Here is what God promises to do by His grace.

  • He promises to bring His people home – 32:37
  • He promises to make His people His own – 32:38
  • He promises to give His people a new heart – 32:39
  • He promises to make an everlasting covenant with them – 32:40a
  • He promises to make them secure – 32:40b
  • He promises to rejoice over them – 32:41

Do you ever doubt God? Do you struggle with understanding His will? Are there times when you just don’t know? You obey but you have a nagging doubt? Go stand in His presence and be reminded that He alone is God. Remember His judgment is right and true. Then stand in awe of the wonder of His grace and find peace.

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