An exposition of Jeremiah 33:1-9. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, November 2, 2008.
Do you like secrets? I remember when our kids were little I use to love to say, “Come here I need to tell you something.” And then whisper something in their ear. And I would say, “Now don’t tell anyone.” Of course they couldn’t wait to tell anyone who would listen! I don’t think we ever grow out of that. If there is anything better than hearing a secret – it’s telling a secret! “Now I’m going to tell you this but you can’t say anything about this to anyone because I promised so and so that I wouldn’t tell anyone.” Now then, that ought to get me out of any further pastoral counseling. I’m kidding I know how to keep a confidence but you know what I’m talking about. There is just something about us – secrets like to be told. And the greater the secret the greater the need to tell. Jeremiah the prophet found himself in jail. He was there because his sermon really got him in some hot water. He really upset the king with that sermon about Babylon destroying Jerusalem and carrying off the king. Oh yeah and the king was going to die down in Babylon. The king was not thrilled with that particular sermon. Then Jeremiah got involved in that land deal. The one where he bought the old family farm that was currently occupied by the enemy. There went 17 shekels down the drain. He had second thoughts the minute he made the deal. Yes God told him to do it but it just seemed silly. Maybe he misunderstood. What was God’s response? “Oh I’m sorry Jeremiah do you think that’s out of my league? Are you worried that obeying me might be stupid?” Jeremiah decided that God could be trusted and that he probably did need to question Him any further. Now he is still in jail and the Lord comes to him a second time. You know I think every time Jeremiah heard God’s voice he got a knot in his stomach. Our text this evening is found in Jeremiah chapter 33.
You see the context? He is still shut up in the court of the guard. The Babylonians have the city surrounded. Jerusalem is under siege.
Jeremiah’s prophecies are coming to pass but that is of little comfort. He was not interested in being vindicated at this point. His homeland, his country was on the verge of destruction. His countrymen will be exiled to Babylon. 70 years of judgment await them. This is not a moment of rejoicing. Jeremiah was not jumping up and down in his cell saying, “I was right. I was right.” He is in mourning. Further he is in jail with the threat of death hanging over him when his only crime was being faithful. He had all kinds of questions. That’s when God showed up. As we make our way through these opening verses of chapter 33 I want us to note…
Thesis: When weighed down by worry, doubt and fear God’s servant finds peace and rest in God’s troubling yet comforting revelation.
Follow along as we learn three things from Jeremiah’s experience.
I. The Sovereign Lord welcomes the questioning heart in pursuit of answers. (33:1-3)
Wait a minute pastor – are you contradicting what you said a couple of weeks ago about Jeremiah second-guessing? No not at all. The problem back in chapter 32 was not one of misunderstanding or uncertainty it was a matter of doubt. Jeremiah knew what God said. He knew what he was supposed to do but he began to doubt. God simply reminded him that nothing was impossible for God.
In this instance Jeremiah is confused. There are things he does not know. And God comes to him and says, “Ask me!” “Call to me and I will answer you.”
The point is you don’t have to hide your fears or your questions before God. He welcomes the questioning heart. Seek and you will find. Knock and it will be opened to you is the promise of the Lord Jesus. Our Lord commands us to come when we are weak and heavy burdened. When we are overwhelmed with cares. We are assured that we will find rest for our souls. He bids you come. But let me be honest with you…
II. God’s answer may be uncomfortable and unsettling. (33:4-5)
One of the great and unsearchable truths that God reveals to Jeremiah is that Jerusalem is going to be destroyed and he does not sugarcoat the message it is vivid and ugly! He paints the picture of a gruesome sight. Look at it in verses 4-5.
Not a pretty sight. But a reminder even the strongest city cannot withstand the judgment of God. Further an assumed relationship with God is not guarantee of safety. There is a fine line between faith in God and presumption upon God. “We are God’s chosen people – we are safe.”
What was God’s assessment of the city? “I have hidden my face from this city because of all their evil.” 33:5
We need to be careful – if we ask God – He may answer! And the answer may not be what you are expecting or what you want to hear.
But mark this down – it is worth hearing. God’s wrath against sin is great and unsearchable. God’s holiness demands sin be dealt with. God’s wrath is merely the outworking of His holiness with regards to sin and rebellion.
Here is the bottom line – there are only two things you can do with your sin.
You can hold onto it and face God and suffer the punishment yourself. Or you can take them to the cross. You can acknowledge the Lord Jesus as your substitute. Who drank the cup of God’s divine wrath on your behalf.
Those are your only options. God’s justice is going to be preserved one way or the other.Your sin must be dealt with. Either by you or by Christ.
III. God’s answer may just shock and amaze you. (33:6-9)
Here is another example of that “new math.”
You know were things do not seem to add up. Look carefully again at verses 4 and 5. Got that in mind? Now look at verse 6.
God promises to restore, renew and rebuilt Jerusalem.
He promises peace and pardon. This is remarkable given Jeremiah spent 40 years preaching God’s judgment. He warned against those who kept saying, “Peace. Peace. When there was no peace.” Now Babylon is knocking on the door and Jeremiah is promising God is going to bring peace!
But wait it is more glorious still – 33:8-9 – 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.
1 John1:7 – “…the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”
Ephesians 1:7 – “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace…”
What is the end result of all this?
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
What do you do when you have questions, fears and frustrations? You go to the Lord your God who welcomes your questioning heart. Be prepared when you do His answers may cause you some unrest but then again, His answer may just shock and amaze you.
Oh yeah, one more thing – this is a secret don’t you dare tell anyone!