God will restore his people to the land
Jeremiah 33 SCC 4/23/17
Three times it says God will restore the fortunes of Judah and Israel (6, 11, 26) especially when their fortunes seem jeopardized due to Babylonís siege and impending destruction. God prophetically delivers a message of future hope coordinated by the covenant he had made with them.
GOD HAS CLEARLY AFFIRMED THAT ISRAEL HAS A FUTURE
Verse 1-3 God came to Jeremiah a second time, while he was still confined in the court of the guard v 1. God identified Himself as the Creator and emphasized His covenant relationship to Israel the Lord is His name v 2. Jeremiah did not understand how God could restore a nation destined for doom. So God told Jeremiah to call to Me, and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know v 3. Which you do not know or unsearchable things means something that is made inaccessible by fortifying it or enclosing it.
Application: Godís plans for the future are inaccessible to ordinary people. Only God can unlock the secrets of the future, and He offered this knowledge to Jeremiah. He would share with Jeremiah the things he did not know or understand about Israelís future. The special revelation of God in His Word is information we would not be able to know if God had not chosen to reveal it to us. We can know some things about God as the Creator and His character from nature (Rom 1:19f), but we only know about Jesus from Godís special revelation in His Word.
Verse 4-5 The first revelation from God to Jeremiah focused on Jerusalemís fall. They were tearing down the houses and the royal palaces to provide wood and stone to strengthen the walls against the siege ramps, in a frantic attempt to prevent Babylonís soldiers (the sword) from making a breach in the walls and entering the city v 4. But it wouldnít work. The partially dismantled houses would be filled with the corpses of men whom I have slain by the Babylonians. God would hide His face from this city be- cause of all their wickedness v 5.
Verse 6-9 But the judgment would only be temporary. God will one day bring to it health and healing v 6. There are three aspects of restoration: (1) A restoration to the land God will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel and I will rebuild them as they were at first v 7. (2) A restoration to the Lord I will cleanse them...I will pardon all their iniquities by which they have against me v 8. (3) A restoration to a place of honor among the nations it shall be to Me a name of joy, praise, and glory before all the nations of the earth v 9. Just as Israel represents God to the world, so we, as believers in our time, represent God to the world. What do unbelievers think God is like based on observing you?
Application: Sin is something we do against Godónoted 3 times in v 8. Only God can pardon us. We do not sin against people because sin is a violation of Gods character. That standard of holiness is not inherent in people who are born sinners. People deal with the collateral damage of our sin against God and must be forgiven for that, but forgiveness from God is based only on repentance. †
Verse 10-13 God draws two pictures of the changes that would come in the restoration: First, Jerusalem is a waste, without man and with beast v 10 but the voice of joy, gladness, bridegroom, bride, of those who say, give thanksÖfor the Lord is good, for His lovingkindness is everlasting v 11. Second, Jerusalem which is a waste v 12, restoration will extend out from Jerusalem to the cities of the hill country [east] the lowland [west] the Negev [south] in the land of Benjamin [north] in the cities of Judah. The flocks shall again pass under the hands of the one who numbers them [to make sure they are all there and safe], says the Lord v 13. Judah would again become a quiet and secure place where shepherds pasture their flocks. (1 Thess 4:11)
NB: Gods scale of restoration is comprehensive. God never dabbles in plan ĎBí. Not so for Israelís future. Not so for salvation. Not so for eternity. In each case full and comprehensive. †
ISRAELS FUTURE GUARANTEES RESTORING DAVIDS DYNASTY & LEV PRIESTHOOD
Davidís dynasty will be restored
Verse 14-16 behold days are coming when God promises to bring the restoration of Israel and Judah v 14. †First, will be the restoration of the monarchy I will cause a righteous Branch of David to spring forth v 15. This was a prophecy about Jesus Christ who descended from David and was promised a throne in the Millennial Kingdom. Second, in those days will be the restoration of Jerusalem as Godís dwelling place v 16. Jeremiah made the title the Lord is our righteousness apply to the city of Jerusalem instead of to the Messiah. The city itself will take on the same characteristics as the Lord, who will dwell within her. Jeremiah points out the royal (v 15) and the religious (v 16) aspects of Godís restoration. Both are vital for Israelís existence as Godís covenant nation.
Application: This is a day we long for, when righteousness rules. Evil is not destroyed YET. But again is the promise that evil will be destroyed and Godís righteousness will characterize the earth.
The Levitical Priesthood will be Restored
Verse 17-18 (1) God vowed, David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel v 17. In 586 B.C. the throne did cease. But God did not promise an unbroken monarchy but an unbroken line of descendants from David who would be qualified to sit on that throne when it was reestablished. The genealogies of Matt 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-31 show that this promise was fulfilled as Christ was able to trace both His legal line through Joseph and physical line through Mary back to David.
(2) God vowed, and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man before Me to offer burnt offerings, ...grain offerings, and... sacrifices v 18. God was referring to His promise made to Phinehas (Num 25:12-13). Again, the sacrifices did cease in 586 B.C. and were resumed in 537 (Ezra 3:1-6). Then they ceased again in 70 A.D. when the Temple was destroyed. The promise was that the sacrifices would not be extinguished. The Levitical priests offering sacrifices will be reinstated in the Millennial Kingdom.
Application: God can make vows because He has the power to keep the vows. He tells the truth so He will keep His vows. We do not have the power to keep our vows, and we donít always tell the truth and we cannot control circumstances to ensure we keep vows. So donít make ďpromises.Ē Yes, yes, no, no.
The Future Covenant is Confirmed
Verse 19-22 Only if you [man] can break My covenant for the day, for the night, so that day and night will not be at their appointed times v 19-20, then My covenant may also be broken with David...and with the Levitical priestís v 21. ďCovenantĒ means a treaty or agreement made between individuals or parties by which they bound themselves to a specific relationship or course of action. God promised to preserve the kingly line of David (2 Sam 7:8-16) and the priestly line of Phinehas (Nu 25:12- 13). As the angels and sand so God promises will be the number of descendants in the land v 22. Guaranteed. Period!
Verse 23-26 A group of people were claiming that the two families which the Lord chose [Israel and Judah], He has rejected them...no longer are they as a nation in their sight v 23-24. They felt Israelís and Judahís sin invalidated all Godís covenant promises so He was no longer obligated to fulfill them.
Application: As believers we are not to try to understand Godís character from circumstances. We get our understanding of His character from His special revelation of Himself to us in the Word of God. For example, we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose...to become conformed to the image of His Son. How do we know that? Because He says so in His Word (Rom 8:28-29).
God responded to this argument by reaffirming His commitment to His covenant promises. The covenants with Abraham and David were not conditioned on the peopleís obedience but on Godís character. They were as sure as My covenant for day and night and as unchanging as the fixed patterns of heaven and earth v 25. Only if these natural laws could be undone would God reject Jacobís and Davidís descendants. God referring to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would remind Jeremiah of Godís covenant promise to these patriarchs when God chose them to be a nation. God was bound to His promises and He will restore their fortunes and will have mercy on them v 26.
Application: The greatest argument for the future restoration of Israel as a nation is the character of God. He made a series of covenants with the patriarchs, David, and the Levites. His character demands that He will ultimately fulfill these promises to their nation.
1. We can only decipher what God is doing based on what He told us he was doing. After that it is all conjecture. Thatís true for anything heís revealed. We know he is restoring the fortunes of Israel.
2. Only Gods Word reveals His will to us. That will is spelled out in the Bible and can be noted as true. His will is what is revealedóIsraelís future. His plan is what happensóhow Israel future unfolds.