Monday, March 9, 2015

GREAT and MIGHTY THINGS WHICH YOU KNOW NOT

Throughout the Old Testament we read about Israel's unfaithfulness to the LORD and how He relentlessly, faithfully draws them back to Himself, where they enjoy the blessing of renewed zeal and love for YHWH, of the fruitfulness of the land, of peace among her national neighbors with Israel, and so much more.

Even in the times of harshest judgment, where death via casualties of war, famine, disease and the ruin of their beloved city of Jerusalem, and even the temple itself, the LORD always pronounces a message of hope: restoration to the land, and blessing from the LORD Who will rule over the nation, bringing peace and prosperity.

Take a look at the prophets in the Old Testament: I refer to such as the likes of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Joel and so on. Read the last chapters of each of these, and you will find such promises of hope. Here is such a blessed promise found in JEREMIAH:

JER 29:10-14
10 For thus saith the Lord, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.
13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
14 And I will be found of you, saith the Lord: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the Lord; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.


Or consider the last chapter of Hosea, Chapter 14!

Today I would like to look at JEREMIAH 33 and witness more of the same kind of declarations from the LORD Who alone is the Faithful One and Blessed Potentate of Israel to His beloved people! Let's start!

JER 33:1-2
1  Moreover the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison, saying,
2 Thus saith the Lord the maker thereof, the Lord that formed it, to establish it; the Lord is his name;


Let's set this up with a little review of what's been happening:

The house of Israel has been sliding into apostasy; the house of Judah, while being faithful for a time, has likewise been turning away from the LORD and paying homage to foreign gods. The LORD already sent warning to the nation by way of Isaiah and his contemporaneous prophets of Hosea, Amos and Micah. All were soundly ignored.

Enter: Jeremiah, a relatively young man who didn't want to be a prophet (JER 1:6-8); the LORD assured him and so he spoke in the name of the LORD; even later when he determined he would not speak any more in the name of the LORD, he couldn't help it (JER 20:9)!

And yet for all of his pronouncements, after all the persecution and afflictions the prophet endured, what was the fruit of his labors? How many converts did he make by the LORD his God?

None.

Yet, he remained faithful and obedient to the LORD despite his apparent failures to produce repentance in at least one heart that would turn away from their rebellion. The LORD regards faithfulness and obedience as supremely important and holds such servants in the highest esteem, especially in such discouraging circumstances that seem to yield no fruit or results for all of our labors. There is a lesson for us in that! 

Remain true to your calling child of God, saint of the Highest - regardless of any apparent lack of fruit! If you are sure of your calling, as was Jeremiah, then be diligent in the office He has placed you in! Keep not your eye on your surroundings and the lack of response by others, or the absence of any yield: keep your eye, and your heart fixed on the Throne of Heaven and the One Who sees your faithfulness - your reward is awaiting you in the glories of His Kingdom to come!

So, after so much rebellion against the Word of the LORD that Jeremiah proclaimed to the leaders of Israel, what was the result? Did they repent? Did they forsake their rebellion? No . . .
They threw the prophet into a dungeon; dark and lonely - Jeremiah no doubt felt utterly alone and forsaken! 

Babylon had already ravaged the nation, and one would think that this would cause Israel to grieve and repent, not so! They proceeded on with their obstinacy!

It seemed utterly hopeless. One could only imagine what was going through the mind of the prophet, when suddenly the Voice of the LORD spoke to him a second time:

It was the LORD Who made this situation of Jeremiah's imprisonment; He Himself was the maker of it, Who established it! Why would the LORD incarcerate His own prophet? 
Have you ever felt like the LORD has had you captured, isolated, alone - even when you attempted to seek out others, it seems that you were trapped inside a bubble and couldn't break out of it! 
I've known such times of isolation, and after so many years of having to re-learn this lesson, I've finally come to realize that at such times, the LORD's desire is to draw us near to Himself, to get close and personal with the Almighty for the purpose of His revelation of something awesome!

That was the case with Jeremiah as well; let's read on!

JER 33:3-5
3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
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.


The LORD promises that if Jeremiah will call unto Him, He would reveal things never before seen by the prophet. Though Jerusalem and the houses of her kings were destroyed, though they fought valiantly to save their nation, their carcases were piled high all about! God's fury at the wickedness of Israel caused Him to turn away from His people and all their wickedness!

The situation was indeed grim! Would Israel ever again be restored after such ruin and devastation? Generations after this time, Nehemiah was similarly dismayed at the bleak destruction of his beloved Jerusalem and pondered the same question with no small anxiety in his heart.

Yet the LORD is GOD:

JER 32:26-27
26 Then came the word of the Lord unto Jeremiah, saying,
27 Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?

Let us read on and consider what will be revealed if the prophet called upon the LORD . . .

JER 33:6-9
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.
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.


Where disease and incurable sickness were rampant in the land; the LORD promised health and cure - and even repeated Himself that He will cure His people. Further, in place of the spiritual deception and strife that was rank among the people given over to idolatry, the LORD promised He would bring an ABUNDANCE of truth and peace (PSALM 37:11; ISAIAH 65:16). The LORD revealed to Jeremiah that He will cleanse His people who have sinned against Him, and mentions twice that He will pardon and cleanse their iniquity and their transgressions!

You talk about the insurmountable heights, unfathomable depths, and the expansive breadths of the grace of God, this is it!! He declares that even in the midst of this forlorn and heartbreaking captivity, from which I am sure, none of the Jews had any hopes of escaping; He will bring the captivity of Judah as well as Israel back to the land, and that the LORD will build them (and so He did when He moved Cyrus to give the people leave and return to their homeland; he even gave them financial incentives to accomplish this!). Bless the LORD, O my soul for His incredible love for His people and His faithfulness to them - even in the midst of their own deplorable unfaithfulness to their Maker and Husband (ISAIAH 54:5)!

The LORD shall express His heart of joy for all that good that He plans for His people, Israel; a praise and an honor before all the nations who will tremble and reverence the LORD for all of His goodness and prosperity He shall extend to His people, according to His plans!

JER 33:10-13
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,
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.
12 Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Again in this place, which is desolate without man and without beast, and in all the cities thereof, shall be an habitation of shepherds causing their flocks to lie down.
13 In the cities of the mountains, in the cities of the vale, and in the cities of the south, and in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, shall the flocks pass again under the hands of him that telleth them, saith the Lord.


Again and again the LORD reiterates that while there is doom, destruction, desolation, and dire circumstances in that day in which He visited Jeremiah, He has emphasized that joy, gladness, celebration, and prosperity would overflow in the land and that all will praise the LORD with offerings of such for His enduring mercy in returning the captivity to the land!

We understand that in the days of Daniel the prophet, God gave to His servant understanding that the captivity would soon be over; Nehemiah was granted permission by the Persian King he served to restore and rebuild the city of Jerusalem, and after those days Israel returned to the land and received from the LORD blessing.
Is this what is referred to here in Jeremiah? I believe in part, yes; but much more indeed. I believe this is a double reference to those days (and following) Nehemiah's mission in rebuilding the Holy City and also the days in which the Messiah of Israel will reign in Israel. Let's look at the following verses:

JER 33:14-17
14 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.
15 In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.
16 In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The Lord our righteousness.
17 For thus saith the Lord; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel;


The LORD tells Jeremiah that the days are coming when His promises regarding Israel will be fulfilled. Can we know what days are being referred to? Absolutely! "the Branch of righteousness" is of course a reference to Jesus Christ, the Messiah of Israel (JER 23:5):

"Jeremiah reveals Christ as the Righteous Branch, the Lord our Righteousness, Who will pardon sinners from their sins (MATT 5:6; LUKE 23:47; ROMANS 5:18-19; I JOHN 2:1-2)". 

For more on this, have a look at: CHRIST - The CENTER of the OLD TESTAMENT 

The passage in our text speaks of the Righteous Branch will be a descendant of David ("a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel"), thus heir to the royal line, and that He shall execute justice and righteousness in the land; note that - not demonstrate these things in His perfect and holy life, but execute them as a political leader would enforce governmental policy - and this king would be the LORD Himself - "The Lord our righteousness".

Did Jesus act in any official and kingly office in this way? Did Jesus ever sit upon the throne of His father, David in Jerusalem? At the time of Jesus, the throne did not exist; there was no 'kingdom of Israel' - it was a rather insignificant (by pagan standards) province in the Roman Empire; the apostles asked the LORD if He would restore the kingdom to Israel (ACTS 1:6-7) and He simply replied that the time for such was in the Father's keeping.

Yet even though Jesus did not restore the kingdom of Israel at that time, He will! How do we know? Because it's spoken of every where in prophecy!  How resolute and determined in God in this restoration of Israel's kingdom and her subsequent blessing? Read the following verses!

JER 33:17-22
17 For thus saith the Lord; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel;
18 Neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.
19 And the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah, saying,
20 Thus saith the Lord; If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season;
21 Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers.
22 As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.


Who can break the covenants of the day and the night by disturbing their season of cyclical recurrence? No one (except God, but would He?)! Neither can any break God's covenant with Israel and the LORD won't; we can see that in these and multitudes of passages throughout the Old AND New Testaments!
God tells us His covenant "with David and his son to reign upon his throne" cannot be broken any more than the cycles of our day and night! He will bless Israel to such a degree that their numbers could be compared to the stars of the heavens and the sand of the sea (beyond measure!)!!

JER 33:23-26
23 Moreover the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying,
24 Considerest thou not what this people have spoken, saying, The two families which the Lord hath chosen, he hath even cast them off? thus they have despised my people, that they should be no more a nation before them.
25 Thus saith the Lord; If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth;
26 Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them.


The nations round about Israel had thought that their God had forsaken them because of their abject bondage and misery there in Babylon (and Assyria just previously) - but He will correct that assessment by bringing them all back - He repeats Himself regarding His covenant with the day and night, as well as the appointment of ordinances in heaven and earth! That if these can be broken, then He would cast Jacob away and David His servant - and that no rulers from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would ever rule His people. But again, since nothing can break those covenants mentioned above, then there SHALL be a ruler over Israel - the Messiah of Israel!

These indeed are the great and mighty things that the LORD showed to Jeremiah! AND He has also shown them to us, in these last days prior to the RETURN of the KING: Jesus Christ, the MESSIAH of ISRAEL, who will soon reign upon the throne of His father, David! As despondent as Jeremiah got, as discouraged as we may get in these evil days of our own, let us hold fast the promise of GOD's WORD and express such confident hope and assured faith in the LORD's Word of Truth that declares this glorious news!!

For more on this, please watch this video:


WHY ISRAEL MATTERS TO BIBLICAL ISRAEL

For more on this subject, watch the classic DAVE HUNT of The BEREAN CALL Documentary:
ISRAEL, ISLAM and ARMAGEDDON!

MAY THE LORD BLESS AND KEEP YOU IN THE ALMIGHTY AND BLESSED NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST!

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