Nothing is Too Hard for Yahweh
(Jeremiah 32-36 passim)
1. We are very complex beings. Even simple creatures are complex.
2. According to Creation Magazine, "When geneticists found that there were only 20,000 to 30,000 genes in the human ge’nome, [gee’ nome] on par with a ’simple worm,’ they were surprised….But…new research shows that our genes can multi-task. By a process dubbed ’alternative splicing,’ a given gene can produce multiple RNA transcripts…These in turn can produce very different protein machines with dramatically…different functions -- yet derived from the same gene."
3. When we look in either direction, through the telescope or the microscope, we are impressed with the genius of God’s design and the self-replicating nature of it all.
4. This can lead us to conclude what Jeremiah said in Jeremiah 32:17 and how God asks a rhetorical questions regarding Himself in Jeremiah 32:26, "I am the LORD…Is anything too hard for me?"
5. Because God is omnipotent, He has all power. Because He is omniscient, He knows all things. Because God is omnipresent, He is everywhere. The only limits God has are based upon His Nature. For example, God cannot sin because He is holy.
These chapters are not chronological, but thematic.
Main Idea: Because nothing is too hard for God, He will easily accomplish His purposes.
I. God Would RESTORE Israel (Chapter 32)
• The setting: Jeremiah is imprisoned in a courtyard because his prophesying was considered treasonous…against Zedekiah, Jerusalem will fall to Babylonians…
His cousin, Hanamel, has to sell his field; near relatives were obliged (Lev. 25:23-28)
A. Jeremiah buys a field while Jerusalem is under SIEGE
1. it was an action that symbolized hope.
2. Faith is always tested by works…sometimes personal sacrifice (throwing $ away)
--some of us may have certain idiosyncrasies (I do) about frugality or waste that can thwart our testimonies; frugality is a good thing, but God comes first --
--what idiosyncrasies might you need to sometimes sacrifice? What rules have you made up that you will not break for anything? In ministry, you often do what needs to be done-- period!
Alexandre Dumas, the elder, ate an apple at 7 a.m. each morning under the Arc de Triomphe.; Acquaintances recall James Russell Lowell removing and proceeding to eat with knife and fork a bouquet of flowers from the centerpiece at a literary supper in one of Boston’s great houses; Charles Dickens walked twenty to thirty miles a day. He also placed objects on his desk in exactly the same position, always set his bed in north/south directions, and touched certain objects three times for luck.
Hans Christian Andersen put a sign next to his bed that read "I am not really dead."
--Having idiosyncrasies is one thing, holding to them rigidly is another--
3. Hope is a powerful virtue, in the same list with faith and love.
B. God will bring the Jews into singleness of HEART (37-40)
1. Israel’s current unbelief is often wrongly interpreted as indicating that God is through with this nation. That is a misunderstanding. It may look that way.
One woman came home to find her husband in the kitchen, shaking frantically with what looked like a wire running from his waist toward the electric kettle. Intending to jolt him away from the deadly current she whacked him with a handy plank of wood by the back door, breaking his arm in two places. Until that moment he had been happily listening to his Walkman. [source: sermoncentral, Brian Atwood]
Application: When you connect to God, you connect to a long-term perspective.
People need a cause that is bigger than them. They need a perspective that goes beyond this single life. They need a purpose that exceeds personal comfort.
How do we explain God’s restoring of Israel? Because nothing is too hard for God, He will easily accomplish His purposes.
II. God Would RESTORE David and Levi (33:14-18)
Chapter 33 same setting; Jeremiah confined in the early stages of the siege of Jerusalem.
The line of David is the Messianic line… Jesus Christ…Millennium
In 2 Samuel 7:12-16, the prophet Nathan speaks the Word of the Lord to David:
When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’ "
Jesus is a priest of a superior order Melchizedek. That does not mean that the lesser priesthood, that of Aaron, will never be revived.
Numbers 25:10-13, "And the LORD said to Moses, "Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the people of Israel, in that he was jealous with my jealousy among them, so that I did not consume the people of Israel in my jealousy. Therefore say, ’Behold, I give to him my covenant of peace, and it shall be to him and to his descendants after him the covenant of a perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the people of Israel.’" [ESV]
During the Kingdom Age, priests will offer sacrifices and perform priestly functions. Although with the death of Christ, there remains no further offering for sin, other offerings will be offered during the Millennium. [Acts 21-compatible]
I Chronicles 15:2, "Then David said, ’No one is to carry the ark of God but the Levites; for the LORD chose them to carry the ark of God and to minister to Him forever.’"
Some people think the rebirth of of Israel in 1948 and the fact that the Jews has not only survived, but have kept track of the priesthood without a homeland for 1900 years is nothing but a coincidence. For many of us, it is a visible sign of God’s faithfulness.
D. God is into the faithful thing, big time. He is stubbornly faithful.
1. He chooses Israel as a nation not because they are open to Him, not because they are awesome, but because of His love for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
2. He will restore Israel in the end times not because they are wonderful or righteous, but for the same reason. The book of Hosea.
3. Although God loves all people, He has a special closeness to some.
Application: God is a relational God. He loves families and individuals. We are not just numbers. Tendency today to depersonalize or to develop temporary relationships …faithfulness is considered for the dull; but faithful people are generally happier…
How can God restore the throne to David’s heir, Jesus, and the priesthood of Aaron in the future? Because nothing is too hard for God, He will easily accomplish His purposes.
III. God Would PRESERVE His Word (chapter 36)
Chapter 36 is a flashback to an earlier time, before the siege
Jeremiah’s ministry --godly King Josiah, then son, Jehoiakim, who was deposed by the Babylonians and replaced with Josiah’s brother, the ungodly king Zedekiah.
A. The GODLY officials from Josiah’s time wanted to preserve it.
1. First read publicly in the Temple courts
2. Then to the middle government officials, most of whom had been appointed by the previous king, godly Josiah.
3. They recognized that though Jeremiah spoke and wrote these words, what he spoke and wrote was also the Word of God because He was supernaturally inspired (guided) by God when he wrote them.
4. We believe in plenary inspiration, that the Bible is infallible and inerrant in the original manuscripts
Dr. Myron Houghton wrote, “To affirm the inspiration and inerrancy of the original writings while casting doubt on the authority of the Bible that is available to us is just plain silly. Can you really imagine someone seriously saying, “I have good news and I have bad news: the good news is that God wanted to give us a message and therefore caused a book to be written; the bad news is that He didn’t possess the power to preserve it and therefore we don’t know what it said!” A view of inspiration without a corresponding view of preservation is of no value.”
B. King Jehoiakim and His ADMINISTRATORS destroyed it
C. God’s Word was not THWARTED
1. Jeremiah simply rewrote what was destroyed…a mere inconvenience
2. Those who try to destroy the Word sometimes propagate it
• The early church had to decide which books were worth dying for, and thus the canon of Scripture
• Forbidding the Bible sometimes raises curiosity
• The Bible has been the most attacked book of all history, yet it stands
• When you read the Word, you are connecting to a culture thousands of years old, yet the Spirit will guide, challenge, and transform you as you study its pages…
Application: There are many ways to neutralize or destroy God’s Word: (1) disuse, (2) disobedience, (3) unbelief, (4) abusive interpretation, (5) spiritualizing, (6) physical destruction.
Because nothing is too hard for God, He will easily accomplish His purposes.
How reasonable it is, then, for us to give our all to him. If He is going to win, and eternally reward His children according to their works, we would be foolish not to align ourselves with Him!
"I want to buy $3 worth of God please. Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine." [Brian Atwood, Sermon Central]