July 14, 2020- God is Faithful, David’s Son is On the Throne – Jeremiah 33:14-26

Jeremiah weeps

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’

“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 burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings, and to make sacrifices forever.”

The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: “Thus says the Lord: If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night will not come at their appointed time, then also my covenant with David my servant may be broken, so that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne, and my covenant with the Levitical priests my ministers. As the host of heaven cannot be numbered and the sands of the sea cannot be measured, so I will multiply the offspring of David my servant, and the Levitical priests who minister to me.”

The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: “Have you not observed that these people are saying, ‘The Lord has rejected the two clans that he chose’? Thus they have despised my people so that they are no longer a nation in their sight. Thus says the Lord: If I have not established my covenant with day and night and the fixed order of heaven and earth,then I will reject the offspring of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his offspring to rule over the offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For I will restore their fortunes and will have mercy on them.” – Jeremiah 33:14-26

Jeremiah, often called the weeping prophet, was sent to Israel at a rather trying time.  As Israel was being taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar, God spoke prophecy to Jeremiah that was devastating. The temple would be destroyed, the city of Jerusalem would be laid waste, the people would be carried off to Babylon and made captive.

God also spoke to Jeremiah of hope.  He spoke of the One Who is also our hope- the Son of David, the Son of God.

God made a covenant with His people through Abraham, in which He promises that Abraham’s descendants would be as the stars in the sky or the grains of sand in the oceans.  The covenant He made with Abraham was a covenant of faith- faith that is a gift of God.   We see God’s faithfulness in His provision clearly in Genesis 22.  God provided the lamb for the offering and spared Isaac.  In Christ, God provides Jesus, the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world forever.

And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’

The same Lord Who Jeremiah spoke of is still faithful to us.  After all, God’s promises are not like human promises that can be broken and forgotten.  Jesus warned us that in this world we will have trials.  We will suffer.  We will be betrayed.  We will know loss. Even in the middle of these trials we have confidence not in ourselves but in the One Who has conquered death for us.  We have the assurance directly from the Author of Life Himself, the Provider of the Lamb, that his promise is good.

Lord, help us to rest in the knowledge that our life now and forever, and our redemption is based on Your faithfulness, not in our merit.  We deserve death, destruction and hell, but You have promised to save us from the condemnation we have earned. Forgive us for all the times we break Your laws and fall short of Your will and fail to meet Your expectations for us.  We can only be faithful because You are faithful and You provide us the gift of faith as well as You have provided the Lamb.  Help us to stay faithful and to follow You.

 

December 7, 2016 – A Day That Will Live in Infamy?, My Soul Magnifies the Lord- Isaiah 59:6-8, Luke 1:46-55

pearl-harbor

Their webs cannot serve as clothing;
    they cannot cover themselves with what they make.
Their works are works of iniquity,
    and deeds of violence are in their hands.
Their feet run to evil,
    and they rush to shed innocent blood;
their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity,
    desolation and destruction are in their highways.
The way of peace they do not know,
    and there is no justice in their paths.
Their roads they have made crooked;
    no one who walks in them knows peace. – Isaiah 59:6-8 (NRSV)

Not to confuse American history with Biblical prophecy, (and I am not in any way implying that Isaiah foretold the invasion of December 7th, 1941) but in this text Isaiah is also describing the enemy of a people who have been invaded and plundered.

75 years ago today Imperial Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. It may be hard for us to understand the feelings of anger, helplessness, shock and disbelief that our grandparents or great-grandparents must have felt upon hearing the news.  Probably the closest that we can relate to the experience of Pearl Harbor today would be 9-11.  As a nation we felt violated, helpless and broken. We were angry, we were bewildered. We wondered if we would ever be whole again.  We wanted retribution and revenge.

Enemies like the ones Isaiah speaks of, as well as enemies like the Japanese Empire, and enemies like those who would perpetrate terror in the name of a false religion, are nothing new.  If there is anything constant in human history it is that humans like to engage in conflict, cause hurt to other humans, and to make war.  A lot.

The other constant in human history is that God is stubborn.   As much as we try to have our own way, and as devastated as we can be due to the actions of others, God is with us.  In and through the devastation God constantly finds ways to redeem His creation, to restore and bring life.

godwithus-st-augustine

And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
    and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
    for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
    Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
      for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
    and holy is his name.
      His mercy is for those who fear him
    from generation to generation.
      He has shown strength with his arm;
    he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
      He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
    and lifted up the lowly;
      He has filled the hungry with good things,
    and sent the rich away empty.
     He has helped his servant Israel,
    in remembrance of his mercy,
      according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
    to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”-  Luke 1:46-55 (NRSV)

The above verses are often referred to as the Magnificat, or Mary’s response to the news that she is to be Jesus’ earthly mother.  Her choice was to magnify the Lord rather than to magnify her obstacles or the challenges she would face.

Catastrophes will continue to happen as we live in this world of “not yet.”  Jesus Himself told us that there will be wars and rumors of wars (Matthew 24:6) which are part of life on this “not yet” earth.

But will we claim the promise that was offered to Mary?  Even in adversity and desolation, and in the days that live in infamy, God is with us.  Can we allow our souls to magnify the Lord?