Summary: A message on how to find hope & God’s faithfulness.
FINDING HOPE FOR THE FUTURE, WHEN THERE’S NO HOPE IN SIGHT
Have you ever felt that the world was closing in on you? Have you ever felt that no matter what you did, no matter how much you tried and struggled to get ahead, or at least to keep your head above water, that it was hopeless? Have you ever looked around and watched as others seemed to get ahead and yet nothing worked for you? Have you ever felt like the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?
You try to take care of your health and still get sick, while others do everything doctors tell them not to and remain healthy. You work and save and try to get ahead, but the bills keep piling up, while your neighbor up the street lives like life is a party and never seems to go without. You pray, spend time with your children and spouse, but things are rough at home, while others ignore their families and things seem to work out for them. You study, pray, visit, and prepare your lesson; you try to be the best teacher or church worker you can, and yet you don’t see anything happening. You have prayed for that family member, for that friend, for that loved one, and yet you can’t see a thing happening in his life. Sometimes it seems that no matter what you do or try, that all of the cards are stacked against you. Forget the light at the end of the tunnel. You can’t even find the tunnel.
Let me tell you right now, there is not a person alive who hasn’t experienced frustration at one time or another. There isn’t a person alive who hasn’t known pain and discouragement before, but as with all others problems in life, God can deal with it. God will give you help and hope for the future, when there is no hope in sight.
Open your Bibles with me this morning to Jeremiah chapter 33 and verse 1. Jeremiah chapter 33 and verse 1. Look with me this morning as we see together God’s promise for the future when there’s no hope in sight.
- Read Jeremiah 33:1-9
I. A HOPELESS SITUATION
As we think of Jeremiah and this passage of scripture this morning, I would like you to notice Jeremiah’s hopeless situation.
If you and I were to go back and read through the pages of the book of Jeremiah, we would find that Jeremiah has lived a pretty tough life. For over 40 years now, he has served as the counselor, as the confidant, of the kings of Judah, but none has listened.
Jerusalem is now surrounded. Babylon’s armies now surround the city. Their armies are lined up in rows with no visible gap. The siege ramps are under construction. The walls and then the city of Jerusalem itself will soon fall. With Jerusalem, the nation of Judah will fall.
There is every reason for despair. Israel has been struck a mortal blow by God. There is no cure for the wound. Any competent physician would have considered the nation’s condition quite hopeless. In fact, no physician would ever have accepted the case. Apparently, there is nothing left to do but to wait for the patient, for the nation to die.
And where is Jeremiah, that great man of God? Where is he while Jerusalem, Judah and Israel are about to be overwhelmed? Where is that great preacher who has warned the rulers and the people for generations, that they had better turn back to God before His judgment comes? Where is that man who has spent his life so obediently serving God, and warning others like God commanded? Where is Jeremiah?
Jeremiah is in jail. He is in prison. Verse 1 says that he is shut up in the guard’s courtyard. The leaders of Jerusalem had gotten tired of hearing Jeremiah preach, they had gotten tired of hearing him warn about God’s judgment, so they put him in prison. The fact that the city is now surrounded and it seems that the prophet’s preaching is coming true, hasn’t helped matters at all. So they lock Jeremiah up. Here is innocent Jeremiah, doing everything he knows to do and everything God has told him to do, and yet the rulers locked him up. They thought that would hold him.
Prison accommodations are limited in Jerusalem, since the Jewish government prefers a more permanent means of dealing with criminals. But, they are afraid to kill Jeremiah in public where it might upset some folks, so they lock him up where they hope he will starve. They think they will do him in. They hope that he will die.
Silly people. No confinement can deprive God’s people of His presence. No locks or bars can shut out His visits. It is when things are the darkest, when there is no hope or help in sight that God often visits His people.