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[Jeremiah 33:17-26]
2021 was an incredibly hard year for a lot of people.
We’ve witnessed hundreds of thousands of Americans die from Covid.
Each week it seems the tragedy seems to come closer to us.
Families have been torn apart over mask and vaccines arguments.
Election fraud theories still are a point of contention and threaten to grow the closer we get to 2024.
Maybe 2022 will be better, or maybe not.
Regardless, people will find plenty to complain about—we always do.
In the past (and in the present) one of the things that made the future more difficult and uncertain was when a leader died in office.
In America’s history we’ve only had 8 Presidents die in office and thankfully power was peacefully transferred to the vice president.
When a leader, like a president or a king, dies it’s often a time of turmoil, and at least uncertainty.
People worry about who’s going to take over.
Will the next leader be better or worse?
Even in our own country, what some think is an opportunity for positive change doesn’t turn out better at all.
This is like the situation the Israelites found themselves in.
They were suffering.
The previous year had been awful.
Hundreds of thousands had died.
Those that were left were unsure of their future.
They didn’t know much about their leaders.
Would they even have nation any more or would they just be assimilated into the nation of Babylon?
Well, God had a response to those kind of questions.
He promised a King and a kingdom that would never fail to the Israelites.
But in Jeremiah 34:2-3 we’re told that Jerusalem was burned and King Zedekiah was blinded, put in chains and taken to Babylon.
Had God failed?
That’s what the word around town was.
Have you ever felt like God has failed you?
Have you ever felt like God doesn’t keep his promises?
From the Israelites point of view it seemed like God had rejected them.
What good was it to be God’s “chosen people” if this was the way he treated them.
But the point of this section in Jeremiah 33, and the whole book of Jeremiah for that matter, is that God never fails.
He will never fail to do what is right and just and ultimately good.
Everyone else fails but God never does.
King David was a man after God’s own heart but he failed to be faithful to his family.
He even commited 1st degree murder.
He was a violent man and was a failure as a father.
His family wasn’t peaceful.
It was filled with more violence and corruption, and heartbreak.
Even his son Solomon, who was very wise, used much of his wisdom for personal gain and not for God’s glory.
And many of Solomon’s sons led the county into idolatry and further ruin.
I’m sure back then the people felt a temporary relief when a king died only realize that his replacement was worse.
And now the country was in captivity without much hope for the future—but God keeps his promises, so hope remains— that’s central theme of the book of Jeremiah.
And to reinforce this fact, all we have to do is turn to the very end of Jeremiah.
Jeremiah want’s to leave his readers with this parting thought...
Jeremiah 52:31–33 (CSB)
On the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month of the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Judah’s King Jehoiachin, King Evil-merodach of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, pardoned King Jehoiachin of Judah and released him from prison.
He spoke kindly to him and set his throne above the thrones of the kings who were with him in Babylon.
So Jehoiachin changed his prison clothes, and he dined regularly in the presence of the king of Babylon for the rest of his life.
At the very end there is hope.
Jeremiah seems to be telling us that the harsh treatment of Zedekiah and his sons wasn’t the end.
Hope remained in the kind treatment of Jehoiachin who was Zedekiah’s nephew.
The story of Jehoiachin resumes in Matthew 1:11-12 with the genealogy of Jesus Christ.
Matthew 1:11–12 (CSB)
and Josiah fathered Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
After the exile to Babylon Jeconiah fathered Shealtiel, Shealtiel fathered Zerubbabel…and Jacob fathered Joseph the husband of Mary, who gave birth to Jesus who is called the Messiah.
Jeconiah is also called Jehoiachin in scripture.
He’s the same person Jeremiah spoke of.
Jehoiachin was an evil king whose line was also cursed and yet Jehoiachin’s sinfulness was no obstacle for God.
God always keeps his promises.
A King Forever
Jesus is King Jehoiachin’s heir to the throne and the fulfilment of God’s promises.
Jesus was born to be a king.
The wise men declared him to be king in Mat 2:2 “saying, ‘Where is he who has been born king of the Jews?
For we saw his star at its rising and have come to worship him.’”
Jesus was also declared to be a king by the mocking soldiers.
John 19:2-3 says, “The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns, put it on his head, and clothed him in a purple robe.
And they kept coming up to him and saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” and were slapping his face.”
Even though the soldiers were trying to make fun of Jesus, Pilate insisted the words “The King of the Jews” be put on his cross because Jesus truly was their king (John 19:19).
Jesus is the King of the Jews and of all nations.
Revelation 15:3 says Jesus will be worshiped as the king of all nations forever.
Looking far into the future John saw God’s people singing, “the song of God’s servant Moses and the song of the Lamb: Great and awe-inspiring are your works, Lord God, the Almighty; just and true are your ways, King of the nations.”
So, the promise of Jeremiah 33:17 is fulfilled in Jesus and it’s the reason we can have hope as we start 2022.
This isn’t a temporary promise.
Jesus’ kingdom has already begun and it will go on forever.
God’s word will never fail.
Do we believe the God will never fail?
Or does it seem like just when we have it all figured out, things change and we doubt again.
But the truth is somethings never change.
Romans 8:28 “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” is true forever because Jesus is already ruling as king and will continue to do so for all eternity.
A Priest Forever
The promise was not just for a permanent king, but for a permanent priest.
This is so important because without a permanent priest who will atone for sin?
When a priest there was just as much uncertainty about the future for the Israelites as when a king died.
Will the new priest be faithful or corrupt?
Will he do the sacrifices correctly?
Will our sins be forgiven?
This is a big problem for the Jews today because the temple was destroyed in 70 AD and has not been rebuilt.
This means for the last two thousand years they have not had a levitical system to make atonement for sins.
They’ve shifted to personal system that doesn’t involve sacrifices but what about God’s promise?
God’s promise was that there would always be a man to offer and make sacrifices for sin.
Has God failed them?
No, the promise of an eternal King and an eternal Priest has been kept through Jesus.
Jesus is the Messiah even if they don’t accept him.
Jeremiah plainly says in verse 18 that the promises are fulfilled in “a man.”
And having just looked at the incarnation last week we know that the man being spoken of is a flesh and blood human being.
Jesus, the Son of God is the man Jeremiah spoke of.
But the priesthood of the man Jesus’ is better than any other man’s because it lasts forever.
Hebrews 5:6 says of Jesus,
Hebrews 5:6 (CSB)
You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
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