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Jeremiah is ordered by the Lord to buy a field in the middle of the Chaldean siege at Anathoth. He gets witnesses together, weighs the coins in a scale, signs the deed and makes the purchase, which confuses the king Zedekiah. Jeremiah then prays for understanding from God for the people of Jerusalem. God responds to Jeremiah saying that these people will face the consequences for their many abominable actions, but that they will be lead home to safety one day with a new heart and a fear of the Lord. “And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.”
The Lord then points ahead to a time when He will reveal all sorts of great and secret things, forgive the sins of His people, and make them glad before Him. The Lord also declares that He will raise up a new King over His people who will sit on the throne of the house of David who will do justice and righteousness in the land. “For thus says the Lord: David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel, and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man in my presence to offer burn offerings, to burn grain offerings, and to make sacrifices forever.” (33:17)
In chapter 34, Zedekiah is told he will die in Babylon, but in a state of peace and honour. He will not die by the sword or lack those who will burn spices at his grave. Jeremiah then speaks the word of the Lord to the king, telling him to order all those who have their Hebrew brother and sisters in slavery to let them go and proclaim liberty. This takes place which greatly pleases the Lord – however it does not last. No sooner do these people let their slaves go before they take them right back into captivity! This angers the Lord greatly and he says that He will proclaim Judah’s liberty to suffering by the sword and by pestilence before they are taken off their land. There is reassurance for the people called the Rechabites who have been loyal to the Lord and followed the righteous commands of their father.
Though there is much doom and gloom in the message of these prophets, let us not become discouraged reading their bleak warnings, for that’s exactly what they are: warnings. What good and faithful Father would not warn their child of the consequences of their missteps? What righteous and just God would let abominations and corruption and the cries of the poor go unheard? By now, the pattern of mankind has been firmly established: God’s people love and obey Him for a time before getting comfortable and complacent and wandering from Him into moral destitution.
The Lord has every right to abandon His people for their countless transgressions, but He never does. Instead, He disciplines them, allows them to see the fruit of their sin, humbles them, and then restores them when they acknowledge the error of their ways and turn their hearts to Him. We see His unending patience and Love in the 33rd chapter of Jeremiah where compassion and patience and gladness abound!
How does the Lord plan on breaking this pattern of disobedience? Chapter 33:17 (quoted above) is a beautiful promise of the coming Lord Jesus, the promised one who would be our peace with God. Though it may not have made sense to the peoples of the time, the man who would sit on David’s throne forever and the man who would be acting as a priest in the presence of God with an eternal sacrifice would be one man, not two.
It harkens to Hebrews 4:14-16 which beautifully reads: “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to to help in time of need.”
Jesus Christ, the King from the line of David, sits enthroned forever, our advocate before the Father, making peace between us and God by His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead. He has given us His Holy Spirit as a down-payment, who works in us to will and to act to please God. Jesus is the promised cure for the sinful hearts we see in Jeremiah and anyone may call on His name and be saved!
These major and minor prophets are historical accounts, yes – but they are much more than that. They hold up a mirror to us and the world around us. As we read Jeremiah and then Ezekiel and so on, let us pray and approach the Lord with a humble heart so that He might point out or own sin and idolatry. Nobody likes to admit that they are so deeply sinful, yet it is on the other side of this acknowledgement and repentance that we can truly sense and appreciate the depth of God’s goodness, patience, mercy, and grace! The Lord opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble, so let us humbly accept His discipline, knowing that Jesus is our peace today just as it was prophesied all those years ago by a lowly prophet in Judah.
How can we always remain humble before the Lord and in all places? What does it look like to submit to God in each area of our hearts and lives?
Lord, we thank you that you give grace to the humble. Please move in your Holy Spirit to convict us of all pride, all malice, envy, greed, idolatry, and lust. Give us the strength to admit our weakness and need of you and let us learn to rest in your grace and forgiveness. Let us become so in love with you that we cannot help but overflow with adoration for you and what you did to bring us home to you! Finally, Lord, let us show the world that your gift of salvation and relationship with you is worth more than anything the world could ever offer. Amen!
Song: Psalm 91 (On Eagles Wings): Shane and Shane
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.