Jeremiah, the weeping prophet of God’s promised Messiah Trinity Lutheran Church December 2, 2018

We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father and in the Name of God the Son and in the Name of God the Holy Spirit and all those who know that Jesus runs to us to save us despite ourselves said … AMEN!

Jeremiah “The Weeping prophet”, had a lot to weep over. In 32: 28-30 Yahweh is laying it right on the line with Jeremiah, it’s almost a summary of how much Israel has done to anger God for about 400 years, pretty much since the time of Saul /David /Solomon, Israel/Judah has continually ignored Yahweh and played around with their own beliefs.

Jeremiah has been on the short end of a beat down since he started 33 chapters ago, about 40 years, he’s been prophesying against all the evil of Israel and Judah. Luther writes ..he had to say hard things to obstinately wicked people. Still it did little good. He had to look on while the people went from bad to worse, always wanting to kill him, and putting him to much hardship… After Jerusalem was destroyed, Jeremiah laments over Jerusalem, how foolish his people were to deny Yahweh for so long in favor of foolish false “gods”, spirits like Baal, Molech, who were certainly not god, but evil spirits. The people of Judah gullibly followed them. Quoting Yahweh’s words in ESV Jeremiah 32:28 Therefore, thus says the LORD: Behold, I am giving this city into the hands of the Chaldeans and into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he shall capture it. 29 The Chaldeans who are fighting against this city shall come and set this city on fire and burn it, with the houses on whose roofs offerings have been made to Baal and drink offerings have been poured out to other gods, to provoke me to anger35 They built the high places of Baal in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to offer up their sons and daughters to Molech, though I did not command them, nor did it enter into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.”

Yahweh’s saying: You people are so out of line, you know perfectly well who I am and what I’m about and you still play with these evil beings. He says “They have turned their back and not their face.” (33) What does it mean when you “turn your back” to someone? They’re irrelevant, you can ignore them, they won’t harm you, they are there, but only when you decide to turn back to them, when it’s in your interests. Sound familiar? John Holbert writes: Jeremiah is commonly known as the “weeping prophet,” based on his wish to have a “fountain of tears” with which he might weep for the slain of his own people (9:1). [1] To the effect; “…how can you be so stupid? How can you get caught up in such destructiveness? Why keep turning your back on God when you know He will tolerate your impertinence for so long and then the result will be horrible? So enough is enough, time to clean house, destroy what has been contaminated by these gross, nasty, abusive “gods”. To get rid of the people who have been such a negative influence, people who have been undermining Yahweh’s relationship with His chosen people, Israel.

But there are still promises to be kept. Does Yahweh fail to keep His promises, even when we are so completely undeserving? Yes, He does. He’s promised a Messiah since the very beginning. He has devastated His people, they have been dragged to Babylon, or to live among the ruins of Jerusalem. Everything has been stripped to the bone by the Babylonians and there is nothing left for the Israelites to survive on. Nothing material and certainly nothing spiritual. As much as people today want to complain, wish for better days, we all know we have things pretty good. While Judah was getting absolutely leveled by the Babylonians, many were killed, many others were shipped off to Babylon, if that were to happen to us here, we would end up somewhere in the north part of Central America. Completely different culture, environment to us, the Jews in Judah have been completely devastated and now it’s time to bring them back. Yahweh has made it clear He is who He says He is, He has completely taken down 400 years of Israelite civilization, and seemingly left the remnant without anything whatsoever.

But He doesn’t leave them completely, He doesn’t just leave them broken, hopeless with nothing to live for. That’s a great thing. As much as the Israelites deserved to be completely dumped by God, does He? No! He gives them hope and promise. He gives us this hope and promise, in Jesus. For Israel, He tells them, you will be back here in 70 years, with a whole new attitude. You’re going to finally get a little real and realize how you have failed so miserably. Not only that, but you will have eternal hope and promise:  Jeremiah 23:5-6,   ESV “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6 In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’ To make sure we are all clear, He makes the same promise a few chapters later, that yes, this will happen, you have not been abandoned and left hopeless”, He tells Jeremiah: “ESV 33:14 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15 In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’

God doesn’t make promises, didn’t make them then or now to just hear Himself talk. God will make His Word and His promises happen. He did to Jeremiah 2,600 years ago. A Branch did spring from David, His Name is Jesus. Now we wait for the promise of Jesus’ return. Not in terror, wrath, vengeance, but in the final welcome, the promise of the Resurrection, eternal life that God meant it to be and we have that complete promise. Advent is about taking time in penance, remembering your sins, what you’ve done that has failed God, that has offended God, that has failed His people/His church. But it’s a time of great hope and promise, a time to remember that the afflictions of the world are so temporary. Scott Murray writes quoting Basil the Great: “He will not hold back. He, in His love will not disdain even to carry you on His own shoulders, rejoicing that He has found His sheep that was lost . The Father stands awaiting your return from your wandering. Only come back, and while you are yet afar off, He will run and fall upon your neck, and, now that you are cleansed by repentance, He will wrap you in embraces of love. He will clothe with the chief robe the one who has put off the old man with all his works. He will put a ring on hands that have washed off the blood of death, and He will put shoes on feet that have turned from the evil way to path of the Gospel of peace.”[2]  Such a great picture of the eternal life, true life in the resurrection that Jesus brings with Him when He comes for the final time.

The peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amin and Shalom  Christ will come again.

[1] https://www.patheos.com/resources/additional-resources/2010/10/weeping-prophet-reflections-on-jeremiah

[2](Basil the Great, Letters, 46.6)    Scott R Murray  A Year with the Church Fathers Meditations for Each day of the Church Year  p 371

 

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