A Message from...

Sara Litten | Jeremiah 33:1-9, Philippians 2:12-18

Tullian Tchividjian put it well when he said, “Legalism says God will love us if we change. The Gospel says God will change us because He loves us.” As I approach this passage in Jeremiah, I cannot help but hear the breaking and crashing of the daily chains of legalism that are broken down in my heart and life. This passage brings life and joy but only when we allow God to change our hearts to see His grace for what it really is.

 

According to the first verse of this chapter, the word of the Lord has come to Jeremiah a second time. God immediately begins by telling His people through Jeremiah who He is. He is the Lord who formed and established the earth. Don’t you see that picture of God with a giant ball of clay powerfully shaping the ENTIRE WORLD? I am becoming more and more convinced that as we approach anything such as a passage of Scripture, a sin issue, or a prayer, we need to begin the same way that the Lord often does when He speaks to His people. He reminds them who He is. He is the Lord. He created heaven and earth. He formed the world and established it. He is the Creator and Sustainer of all things. He is the LORD. We must remember through any trial, joy, grace, or suffering, that God is the Creator of all things. It seems that God felt that his people knowing who He was was the most important thing for them to know before He even said what He was going to do. Who He is, His character, His creativity, and His power, cannot be separated from what He does. If it were He would not be God.

 

Therefore, because of who He is, this is what He will do. It is a beautiful picture of the gospel. God here is speaking of Judah and how He will restore this people and this city. We cannot look at this passage, however, and not know that God is pointing us to what He will do in our own hearts and lives through Jesus.  Here in this passage, God tells Judah that there will be a war. The Israelites will be present for the fight, but God will be the one striking down the enemy. They will have restoration, but again, God will be the one rebuilding and reforming Judah. Nothing in this passage tells us that Judah will do much of anything other than follow after that which God has called them. God will bring healing. God will bring restoration. God will rebuild them as they once were. God will cleanse them from all guilt and sin. What has He done for us? All of these things. God has torn down the enemies of our hearts through the perfect life and death of His son and we are promised that we will be new creations. We will be rebuilt as we were in Genesis 1 and united with the God of Jeremiah 33:2.

 

Rejoice! Rejoice in the last two verses as we can see that this is where we can live now! Because, and only because, of the mighty work of Jesus Christ, our lives can be lived “as a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I (GOD) do for them.” We now live lives of fear and trembling because of the gospel news that we are restored. Until the Gospel does the work in our hearts that God did in the city of Judah, we will never seek after lives of obedience, fear, and trembling. Only until He has broken into our legalistic hearts and imparted His righteousness, we will not be freed to be changed by His amazing love. May the “Lord who made earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it,” break down the sin in our hearts, bring healing, restore us, and rebuild us to the way we once were - free us to live a life filled with joy, praise and glory!

 

 

Jeremiah 33:1-9 | God will restore and cleanse from sin

The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah a second time, while he was still shut up in the court of the guard: 2 "Thus says the LORD who made the earth, the LORD who formed it to establish it--the LORD is his name: 3 Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. 4 For thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city and the houses of the kings of Judah that were torn down to make a defense against the siege mounds and against the sword: 5 They are coming in to fight against the Chaldeans and to fill them with the dead bodies of men whom I shall strike down in my anger and my wrath, for I have hidden my face from this city because of all their evil. 6 Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security. 7 I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel, and rebuild them as they were at first. 8 I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me. 9 And this city shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I do for them. They shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it.

Philippians 2:12-18 | Shine like stars in the world

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. 14 Do all things without grumbling or questioning, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.