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Our Blessed Hope- Jeremiah

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Blessed Hope

Context
Jeremiah was born and grew up in the village of Anathoth, a few miles northeast of Jerusalem, in a priestly family. In his childhood he must have learned some of the traditions of his people, particularly the prophecies of Hosea, whose influence can be seen in his early messages.
Jeremiah is such a beautiful book. It begins with a call to repentance or a turning to God, and then when they would not repent God warns them of judgment on Judah. And by Chapter 10, God says his mind is made up, and Babylon is going to come in.
Jeremiah is actually called a prophet of hope, because in spite of the judgement, there is a blessed hope promised to God’s people.
Call to Repentance
Warning of Coming Judgement
God’s Settled on His Decision to Bring Babylon to Capture Judah
God Reveals A Reason for Hope, and Salvation
Jeremiah preaches the need for repentance to Judah and Israel, in Chapter 4 he says this:
Jeremiah 4:3–4 ESV
3 For thus says the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: “Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. 4 Circumcise yourselves to the Lord; remove the foreskin of your hearts, O men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem; lest my wrath go forth like fire, and burn with none to quench it, because of the evil of your deeds.”
In chapter 5, Jeremiah tells the people of Jerusalem the consequences of their not repenting, God is going to bring in a nation from afar. Israel had fallen captive first, but now Judah had fallen into the same idolatry.
Jeremiah 5:1–3 ESV
1 Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, look and take note! Search her squares to see if you can find a man, one who does justice and seeks truth, that I may pardon her. 2 Though they say, “As the Lord lives,” yet they swear falsely. 3 O Lord, do not your eyes look for truth? You have struck them down, but they felt no anguish; you have consumed them, but they refused to take correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; they have refused to repent.
They did not turn back to God, so God has decided judgement is coming. Babylon is coming to take them captive.
Jeremiah 10:17–18 ESV
17 Gather up your bundle from the ground, O you who dwell under siege! 18 For thus says the Lord: “Behold, I am slinging out the inhabitants of the land at this time, and I will bring distress on them, that they may feel it.”
So God has made his mind up, and I want you to listen to Jeremiah’s prayer. What a man of God to pray and interceed for his people. Even though they were going to hate Him for it.

Praying for God’s Blessing

Jeremiah 10:23–24 ESV
23 I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps. 24 Correct me, O Lord, but in justice; not in your anger, lest you bring me to nothing.
Don’t Pray to Simply Get Out of Hard Times, But We Pray to Get Out of the Hard Times the Lesson We Need to Learn.
Jeremiah prays for justice, recognizing that this idolatry demanded it. And He could not stand on the side of justice and pray for God to let the people continue in their sin.
Jeremiah prayed..do what you have to do to bring us to you, just don’t destroy us! Correct us in love, even if its painful! Well don’t take us out, help us to get out of it what we need to get out of it.
Restoration includes ruin
Have you ever watched those home remodels or restorations? Its crazy to me how people can take these old house and make them so beautiful..but sure enough. And if you watch, whats crazier, is they have to destroy the house to do it. They tear out the walls, rip off the carpet, tear it up..demolition. But they have to ruin it to restore it!
Pray that God would ruin what he needs to ruin, to restore what he needs to restore!
I pray that God would break your heart for the things of this world, so he can restore it and bring it to him.
Young people, I pray that every relationship you get in that doesn’t seek to glorify God falls apart, and leaves you desperately longing for the love only God can give
I pray God severs friendships and relationships that are no good for you, and restores godly friendships.
I pray every time you try and trust in your money and sucess to save you, it falls under your feet, bringing you to the only thing that can truly save you.
I pray our plans fail, so we can start seeking God.
I pray God would do whatever he needs to do to my family, cousins..even if it is to allow hurt, so that they can find the one who can save them from eternal hell.
I pray that God breaks down every program, plan, or desire that is not his!
I pray God ruins what he needs to ruin in this nation to restore it!
Has anybody ever had their heart broken by a spouse, friend, job, this world..only to find praise God, the one who can heal and restore it?
What did they really need rescue from?
Jeremiah 11:12–15 ESV
12 Then the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem will go and cry to the gods to whom they make offerings, but they cannot save them in the time of their trouble. 13 For your gods have become as many as your cities, O Judah, and as many as the streets of Jerusalem are the altars you have set up to shame, altars to make offerings to Baal. 14 “Therefore do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble. 15 What right has my beloved in my house, when she has done many vile deeds? Can even sacrificial flesh avert your doom? Can you then exult?
Jeremiah and Lamentations: An Introduction and Commentary The Prophet and the Covenant (11:1–12:17)

The appalling degree of moral corruption can be rectified only by punishment

Answer: it was not Babylon. God had brought them through so many things. Armies, famines, the desert…Saved them from Egypt and countless nations. Had set them in the promised land, given them success, wealth, comfort..but there was one enemy..even when king Solomon was on the throne, that they could not defeat. That over and over again, proved to be destructive. It was not an enemy without, but an enemy within! It was their own hearts.
And so it was going to be better for the nation to lose everything, and soften their heart, than to stay in their disobedience!
Could you pray for God to ruin a nation, to restore it? Could you pry for God to ruin this nation, restore it?
Don’t Pray to Simply Get Out of Hard Times, But We Pray to Get Out of the Hard Times the Lesson We Need to Learn.
Sometimes your heart can’t heal until it breaks
It is better to endure correction, than to face eternal condemnation.
Like it or not, this nation needs to repent. We, you and me need to repent. And I don’t pray for God to keep us as safe and comfortable as we want. Not even to just get us out of any and all hardships. But more importantly, that God would soften these hard hearts, and help us get out of the hard times the lesson we need to learn. That God would ruin the things he needs to ruin to restore what he needs to restore.
To plant a seed, you have to plow and break the ground!
I’m not praying we get back to work when we want, I’m not praying we get back to life as normal…I’m praying we get back to life as followers. I’m not praying for the financial well being of our country (though that is good) I am praying for spiritual well being.
The truth is, our country needs restoration. And if losing a job can teach me the spiritual sufficiency of Christ then let it be. If isolation can teach me who I really need to turn to in Jesus, so be it.
What if we were as afraid of sinning as we are catching this virus. What if we were as cautious about avoiding sin, as we were of this disease. There is an unseen killer more toxic than the corona virus…It is sin! Thats what we need to be saved from!
What if we prayed for God to save us from our sinful hearts like we do to save us from this virus. Lord help us!
This virus, this season will end when God has decided it. But it is God’s time. I pray God would do whatever He needs to do, for however long he needs to do it, to bring us to Him.
Don’t be impatient. A baby born too early will die, a seed, planted and dug up before its time will die..and God is doing something right now which only time can reveal.
So when you pray for God’s blessing, don’t simply pray to get out of hard times, pray to get out of the hard times the lesson you need to learn.
Pray for God to ruin what he needs to ruin so he can restore what he needs to restore

Recognizing our Blessings

Jeremiah 12:1–4 ESV
1 Righteous are you, O Lord, when I complain to you; yet I would plead my case before you. Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all who are treacherous thrive? 2 You plant them, and they take root; they grow and produce fruit; you are near in their mouth and far from their heart. 3 But you, O Lord, know me; you see me, and test my heart toward you. Pull them out like sheep for the slaughter, and set them apart for the day of slaughter. 4 How long will the land mourn and the grass of every field wither? For the evil of those who dwell in it the beasts and the birds are swept away, because they said, “He will not see our latter end.”
Jeremiah looks out and says this, Lord I’ve been following you, been faithful, but I am alone, suffering, seeing no fruit in my life. Jeremiah preached for years and years, and no one repented!
But the wicked they seem to prosper. Why do the wicked seem so blessed, and my life seem so cursed. Where is my fruit? I’ve done what you’ve asked Lord..but I don’t feel blessed.
A Blessing is not recognized by what it is, but by whether it draws your heart closer to or farther from God.
Jeremiah was more blessed than any of them..why, because though he suffered, and was alone..and talked about…it brought him closer to God!
Evaluate your life not by what you have..but whether what you have brings you closer or farther to God!
A job can be a blessing or not
A relationship can be a blessing or not
A sickness can be a blessing
Going to prison can be a blessing
Romans 1:24–25 ESV
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
Sometimes Gods judgement is to give you exactly what you want, only to see it destroy you!
So reevaluate your blessings! Not based on how comfortable or happy it makes you, but by whether it brings you closer to God. By whether it gives Him glory!
The barracks where Corrie ten Boom and her sister, Betsy, were kept in the Nazi concentration camp Ravensbruck were terribly overcrowded and flea-infested.
They had been able to miraculously smuggle a Bible into the camp, and in that Bible they had read that in all things they were to give thanks and that God can use anything for good.
Betsy decided that this meant thanking God for the fleas.
This was too much for Corrie, who said she could do no such thing. Betsy insisted, so Corrie gave in and prayed to God, thanking Him even for the fleas.
Over the next several months a wonderful, but curious, thing happened: They found that the guards never entered their barracks.
This meant that the women were not assaulted.
It also meant that they were able to do the unthinkable, which was to hold open Bible studies and prayer meetings in the heart of a Nazi concentration camp.
Through this, countless numbers of women came to faith in Christ.
Only at the end did they discover why the guards had left them alone and would not enter into their barracks:
It was because of the fleas.
Jesus came and taught this with the greatest sermon every preached. He challenged thier idea of the blessed and cursed..and said this in Matthew 5
Matthew 5:3–10 ESV
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
He said it doesn’t matter what they have or don’t have…if they have God..they are blessed! If they can but have God!
Working with homeless: Lost sheep ministry
A person who has God and everything else, is no more blessed than the one who has God and nothing else.
Make decisions not by the status, money, comfort, or sucess it might give…but by how close it brings you to God
Any decision that takes you farther away from God, regardless of the percieved benefit, is the wrong decision.
A Blessing is not recognized by what it is, but by whether it draws your heart closer to or farther from God.
I am thankful for the hills and valleys, the good days and the bad days..because in all things God has shown himself sufficient and it has brought me closer to Him!

Becoming a Blessing

Jeremiah 12:5–7 ESV
5 “If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? And if in a safe land you are so trusting, what will you do in the thicket of the Jordan? 6 For even your brothers and the house of your father, even they have dealt treacherously with you; they are in full cry after you; do not believe them, though they speak friendly words to you.” 7 “I have forsaken my house; I have abandoned my heritage; I have given the beloved of my soul into the hands of her enemies.
God was calling Him to Jerusalem. To leave His family, and that it was going to get harder.
You will become a blessing when you are comfortable with standing alone with God.
You will become a blessing when it hurts more to be isolated from God than from your family.
You can not truly bless anyone whose opinion you value than God’s
You can be a blessing to anybody, when, for God you are ok with being cursed by everybody!
You can truly bless your children when you care more for pleasing God than them
You can only truly bless your spouse when you care more about pleasing God than them
You can be a blessing to anybody, when you are comfortable with being cursed by everybody
I think thats why its hardest to serve and minster to our family, because deep down we still value their opinion of us more than God’s

Jesus Our Blessed Hope

Praying for God’s Blessing
Don’t Pray to Simply Get Out of Hard Times, But We Pray to Get Out of the Hard Times the Lesson We Need to Learn.
Restoration includes ruin
He took upon himself our ruin, our curse, He was broken..so that we could be restored! So in Jesus, The father did ruin what he had to ruin to restore what he chose to restore! Praise God!
Recognizing Our Blessings
A Blessing is not recognized by what it is, but by whether it draws your heart closer to or farther from God.
Jesus is the one from whom all blessing flows..and the people did not recognize Him!
John 1:9–11 ESV
9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.
James 1:17 ESV
17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
It is God from whom, and through whom all blessings flow. But if you do not recognize Jesus..you will not recognize those blessings! Only by recognizing Jesus can you see those things in your life which are for your good, and not for evil.
Becoming a Blessing
You can be a blessing to anybody, when, for God you are ok with being cursed by everybody!
Jesus is the hope of all men, and the one from whom all blessings flow!
How is it that Jesus was able to be a blessing to all men? Because He was perfect and willingly endured the cursing of everybody! Jesus blesses all men because He took the place of humanity, bearing the sins of the world..being cursed by the world. He was willing to stand alone!
1 Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.2 Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.
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