Sermon Outline On Jeremiah 33:14-16
‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.
‘In those days and at that time
I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line;
he will do what is just and right in the land.
In those days Judah will be saved
and Jerusalem will live in safety.
This is the name by which it will be called:
The Lord Our Righteousness.’
Mark Moring once told this personal story about him and his son. Mark was the editor of a magazine named ‘Men of Integrity.’ The story speaks of integrity and the importance of keeping a promise.
It was late, and my young sons, Peter and Paul, had been in bed for at least an hour. My wife and I had just returned from our Bible study group, and I snuck into the boys’ room to say good night.
“Dad, can I have some ice cream?”
“No, Peter, it’s late, way past bedtime.”
“But Dad, you promised.”
He was right. Peter had asked for ice cream earlier in the day, but we didn’t have any. And I had said, “I’ll get some for you later, I promise.”
Dinner came and went. We cleaned up the kitchen; the boys picked up their toys. The sitter arrived. And my wife and I left for Bible study.
I’d forgotten all about the ice cream. But Peter hadn’t.
So, even though it was after 10 o’clock, I hopped in the car, drove to the convenience store, got a half gallon, and hurried home.
Peter and I enjoyed that chocolate-vanilla swirl together. After all, I had a promise to keep.
Moring knew how important keeping his promise was to his relationship with his son. It would not only effect that moment but also their future relationship. A promise fulfilled gives the assurance that future promises will also be fulfilled. When you are given a promise and the promise is forgotten or ignored, you question the next promise that is made. When promises are broken one after another you loose your trust in the one making the promise.
The prophet Jeremiah is reporting the promise of the Lord. The promise is for a leader in the lineage of David who will bring justice and righteousness into the world. The chosen people of Judah have been taken into captivity by the Babylonians. Jerusalem has become a desolate place. In the fields, shepherds are no longer seen with their flocks. This promise brings hope to a people who have been decimated by the Babylonians. The people of Judah have been less than faithful to their God and the result was the destructions of Jerusalem, the Temple, and their existence as a nation. They have lost their way of life, and they have lost their king. They long to return to their ways, their worship, and their king. They long for the justice and righteousness promised. They longed for a sense of security. They long for Judah to be free of foreign domination and Jerusalem from fear of invasion. The people of Jeremiah’s day long for the anointed one of God to come in human form into their human world. This was the hope of ancient Israel.
Someone once said, ‘God’s promises are like the stars; the darker the night, the brighter they shine.’ Endnote Jeremiah is reminding the people of God’s faithfulness and the hope that is theirs. Most of his life Jeremiah preached to the people of Judah about their impending doom if they did not abandon their evil ways and pagan worship. Jeremiah spoke God’s warnings. Jeremiah weep for his people, but today we read Jeremiah’s message of hope. The days would indeed be dark, but a brighter day was coming. The books of Daniel and Ezekiel describe what life was like in Babylon for the Israelites. Daniel was thrown into a Lion’s den. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into a fiery furnace. Those were dark days, but they had the hope that came with the promise that they would again see their precious Jerusalem.
That day came. The Persians overthrew the Babylonians, and the people of Judah were able to return to their home land. Those who were able to remain in Judah were freed from their Babylonian rulers. The promise of God through Jeremiah came true. God’s promises were fulfilled. The Temple and the city of Jerusalem were rebuilt.
The Israelites were able to return to worship in the Temple. They returned to their God. In the years to come they would be ruled by Alexander the Great who conquered much of that region. They would later be ruled by the Romans who followed Alexander.
By the time of Jesus, the people of Israel and Judah were again longing for their independence from oppressors. They were still looking for the fulfillment of God’s promise of righteousness and justice. They were still looking for the descendant of David to come to the throne so that there could be peace in Jerusalem.
Matthew begins his gospel message, his good news, with 17 verses that describe the lineage of Jesus through Joseph. Matthew wants to make it clear that Jesus is the Branch of David who will bring justice, righteousness and security. Matthew begins his gospel with 14 generations from Abraham to David, 14 generations from David to the Babylonian exile, 14 generations from Babylon to the Messiah, the promise of God. Matthew wants us to know that the promise of God was fulfilled in Jesus.
When Jesus was born the people of God longed for justice. They wanted to see the Lord Our Righteousness. They wanted to know the salvation and security that can come only in the One promised by God. Life was not what they yearned to know. It wasn’t as blake as the days in Babylon, but it was a darkness that needed God’s light.
Jesus came, and Jesus made promises. The 14th to 16th chapters of John’s gospel are full of promises. Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promise. Jesus is also the messenger of God’s promises, promises that bring us hope of righteousness, justice and security.
Have you ever felt the need for justice? Have you ever asked, ‘Where is the justice in that?’ Have you ever wanted to know security? I know you have heard children and others voice the objection, ‘That’s not fair!’ Some of you even respond, ‘Life’s not fair.’ Do you ever long for fairness? Do you long for that Branch of David who brings justice and righteousness to return? That is another promise of Jesus. He will return.
Once a song leader stopped the congregation in the middle of the gospel song “Standing on the Promises.” He asked people to volunteer some promises on which they were standing. One said, “Lo, I am with you always.” Another quoted, “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” Still another said, “Where two or three are gathered together, there am I in the midst.” Soon a dozen promises had been quoted. When the singing resumed, there was a marked increase in enthusiasm, and surely there also must have been a marked increase in understanding.
Sometimes a political candidate who wishes to be returned to office will say, “I stand on my record.” Our faith stands on the record of what God has done, on the record of promises kept. John 20:31 says “These are written that you may believe.” Faith is not inherited, nor does it come by accident. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God and discovering that God keeps his promises. Faith is “standing on the promises.”