Summary: "The people that were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness." In the midst of the wilderness experiences of life we can find comfort in the grace of God, encouragement in the everlasting love of God and hope in the promises of God.
Grace In The Wilderness
One of the most unusual men in the Bible is a man of God / prophet named Jeremiah.
Let me run through some of the facts of his life before we get into the subject of today’s message.
1. He was born a priest in a small town north of Jerusalem.
2. He was chosen to be a priest before he was born.
3. He was called to be a prophet while very young.
4 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
6 Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.
7 But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.
8 Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.
9 Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.
10 See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.
4. He was told not to marry because of the terrible times in which he lived.
5. In all the years that he preached – he never made a convert.
6. His message broke his heart.
7. He wanted to resign but God wouldn’t let Him.
He was a prophet commissioned by God to proclaim a message of judgment.
Why would God commission a man who had a mothers heart – a trembling voice – and tear filled eyes, to deliver a harsh message of judgment. The message that he gave broke his heart.
Jeremiah is known as the “weeping prophet”. He was a man of tears most of the time.
To proclaim this message of judgment God could have sent:
1. A man as mighty as Elijah – but he didn’t.
2. A man as eloquent as Isaiah – but he didn’t.
3. A man as seraphic as Ezekiel – but he didn’t.
Instead he sent a tender-hearted man like Jeremiah.
Two things characterized Jeremiah’s life – Loneliness and weeping.
The book of Jeremiah is a book about judgment – about impending judgment.
But in the midst of this preaching is a Psalm – a song. A Song of Hope found in Chapters 30 – 33. In the center of this song is a Promise or Promise of a future.
Jeremiah Chapter 31
J. Vernon McGee calls this the “I will” chapter because 15 times God says “I will”.
There are several passages in this chapter that are awesome.
This is the situation: the army of Nebuchadnezzar was outside the walls of the city of Jerusalem and they meant business. This time Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, will destroy the city and burn the Temple. Jeremiah had been arrested and was in jail. The false prophets of the day had announced that Nebuchadnezzar would be overthrown and defeated. Jeremiah had proclaimed that Babylon would be victorious and that this was God’s judgment upon their sin and rebellion. Yet the nation refused to heed the Word of God and kept on in their Sin.
Can any hour be darker or any circumstance be more despairing? Yet at this time Jeremiah’s message turns from judgment to Hope.
I. Jeremiah’s Message Was A Message of Grace In The Midst Of Judgment. Vs 2
Jer 31:2 - Thus saith the LORD, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.
Grace in the Wilderness.
1. Life is filled with “Wilderness” experiences. What is the “Wilderness”?
a. To some the Wilderness is the reaping for their sins.
b. To some the Wilderness comes because of someone else’s sins.
c. To others – They were born in the Wilderness.
Handicaps – Blindness – Poverty – Dysfunctional homes Fanny Crosby
d. To many the Wilderness is a long illness or a time of sorrow. Joni Erickson
e. To still others they are in the Wilderness for the Glory of God. Job
2. Grace in the Wilderness – That says it all.
Those that were left of the sword found grace in the Wilderness.
Mephibosheth – II Samuel 9 When David found Mephibosheth he was in Lodebar which means “Wilderness”.
What do we find in the Wilderness. -- A Table A Table means provision - Can God provide for you.