Summary: GOD DESIRE IS TO BLESS AND NOT CURSE!
HELP IS ON THE WAY!
JEREMIAH 31: 27-34
NOVEMBER 2, 2003 PM WORSHIP SERVICE
INTRODUCTION: When Jan Paderewski was to leave his native Poland to play his first recital in London, he asked an influential compatriot to give him a letter of introduction to a leading figure in Britain’s musical world, who might be of assistance should anything go amiss. The letter was handed to him in a sealed envelope. He hoped that everything would proceed smoothly and he would not have to use it. He did not; his debut was a success and no snags developed. Some years later, while going through his papers, he came upon the letter and opened it. It read:
"This will introduce Jan Paderewski, who plays the piano, for which he demonstrates no conspicuous talent." Bits & Pieces, January 9, 1992, p. 1- 2.
The soldier’s first article of faith is summed up nowhere more eloquently than in an 1865 letter from William Tecumseh Sherman to U.S. Grant: "I knew wherever I was that you thought of me, and if I got in a tight place you would come--if alive."
The Handbook of Magazine Article Writing contains this illustration by Philip Barry Osborne: Alex Haley, the author of Roots, Has a picture in his office, showing a turtle sitting atop a fence. The Picture is there to remind him of a lesson he learned long ago: “If you see a turtle on a fence post, you know he had some help.” Says Alex, “Any time I start thinking, Wow, isn’t this marvelous what I’ve done! I look at that picture and remember how this turtle -- me got up on that post.”
TRANSITION THOUGHT: Our text for tonight offers hope and exclaims help in dismal situations. Jeremiah proclaims to us concerning our God of MERCY, JUSTICE AND GRACE. Yes, there is Grace in the Old Testament, for the OT points to the Christ of the NT. So let us look at the help Jeremiah offers to the People of his day and allow it to speak to us this day!
THESIS SENTENCE: GOD DESIRE IS TO BLESS AND NOT CURSE!
I. OUR HELP IS IN THE GOD WHO REVERSES THE PAST (vv. 27-30, 34e)
A. REVERSING THE PAST IS FORGIVING THE PAST
The God who watched over His People to uproot, tear down, overthrow, destroy, and bring disaster is now the God who will watch over them to build and to plant.
1. Once sin is punished, God no longer holds the past over His people. 2. Verse 34 “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Our God is a God of Forgiveness and Mercy. Note Ps. 103 & 130. 3. God’s eternal purpose is to bless His people and not to curse them!! 4. From the beginning of time, God has sown the seed of His creation to thrive and not wither away and die.
5. Verse 27: “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will plant the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the offspring of men and of animals.” Our God has a “Green Thumb.”
6. THOSE WHO RECEIVED THIS MESSAGE KNEW THE THOROUGHNESS OF JUDGMENT, AND THEY ARE INVITED TO BELIEVE THAT THE LORD’S VIGILANCE WILL ALSO BRING ABOUT THE PROMISED RESTORATION, NOT ONLY FOR LANDS AND CITIES, BUT FOR THEIR LIVES AS WELL. GOD WANTS TO BUILD HIS PEOPLE UP AND PLANT THEM IN THE FERTILE SOIL OF HIS KEEPING!
B. REVERSING THE PAST IS REMOVING COMPLAINTS VV. 29
The God of past complaints is now the God of who removes all cause of complaints.
1. It is never fair, though often happens, to be blamed for the actions of others. God will no longer hold the sin of past generations over this present generation. 2. God establishes real accountability: I will only punish individuals for the sins they have committed. NO MORE SOUR GRAPES!!!!!
3. Ezekiel dealt with the same kind of complaint as Jeremiah heard as the people saw sin punished. Once more the Lord responds to complaints. 18:29-32: “Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ ‘Are my ways unjust, O house of Israel? Is it not your ways that are unjust? Therefore, O house of Israel, I will judge you, each one according to his ways, declares the sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the sovereign Lord. Repent and live!’”
THIS REMINDS ME OF THE NEW DODGE COMMERCIALS. THE SALESMAN STATES DODGE HAS CHANGED ALL THE RULES. THERE IS A WHOLE NEW BALL GAME NOW! THE PAST IS FORGOTTEN AND WE ARE LIVING IN THE FUTURE!