God’s Unbreakable Promises
Yesterday we discovered that a fan we purchased earlier in the summer was broken. The cheap plastic blades had cracked, leaving it in pieces. There was no way to repair it, so we had no choice but throw it away. How frustrating! You spend money on a product expecting it to work for at least a year or two (hopefully longer), but they just don’t make things to last anymore.
What about God’s promises? How do we know they will last? Will the Lord stick by his word, or will he throw away his commitments after a season or two? In Jeremiah’s day, the people of Judah felt as if the Lord had abandoned them. Outside the walls of Jerusalem the Babylonian army was busy at work building seige ramps, preparing to breach their defenses. It wouldn’t be long before bloodthirsty soldiers descended on the holy city, burning homes to the ground, carrying the Jewish people away into exile. It sure looked like the end, for the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and it seemed as if the Davidic line would come to a crashing halt. The nation struggled to understand what was happening, and wondered if they would even survive. Jeremiah explained that God was not the one who had turned away from his people, they were the ones who had turned away from him. What did they expect? They didn’t want anything to do with him, so he removed his hand of protection. But in spite of their rebellion, he would not cast them away forever. The Lord would remember the covenant he made with their ancestors, and would restore them one day.
But I, the Lord, make the following promise: I have made a covenant governing the coming of day and night. I have established the fixed laws governing heaven and earth. Just as surely as I have done this, so surely will I never reject the descendants of Jacob. Nor will I ever refuse to choose one of my servant David’s descendants to rule over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Indeed, I will restore them and show mercy to them. (Jeremiah 33:25-26)
God’s promises cannot be broken. In these verses he assures his wayward people that he still has plans for them. If a human being could somehow break the the cycle of night and day, maybe then God’s covenant might be broken. If you can tell the sun not to rise in the morning, or if you can prevent night from falling, then God’s commitments might fail. In other words, its not going to happen. We might fail him, but he will never fail us. That gives us assurance.
It also tells us about Lord’s intentions for the future. Some churches have taught that the nation of Israel no longer has any role to play in God’s plans. They reason that the church has replaced Isreal, and suggest believers today are the new “spiritual Israel.” Unfilled prophecy that speaks of an earthly reign of Messiah are reinterpreted as Christ’s reign in our hearts. Predictions of the scattered tribes being regathered to their land, no longer to face the threat of war, are allegorized. Instead, we are told, these passages point to the gathering of believers in heaven. But is this interpretation truly faithful to the biblical text? It’s certainly not how prophets understood the message they recorded. Such a reading calls into question the veracity of God. If his promises to Israel can be reconfigured to something other than the plain meaning of the passage, how can we take anything he says at face value? How could we trust his promises for us today?
Jeremiah’s words offered assurance to a people who feared God would cast aside his commitments to them. The Lord reminded them that he always keeps his promise. He has not permanently rejected his chosen people. They still have an important part to play in the story of redemption. Before all is said and done, the nation of Israel will become a beacon of light in this world leading the nations in worship of the Savior. One day God will bring all of his promises to fulfillment, even the ones that seem impossible.What a blessing it is to know that the Lord will not throw away his commitment to his people of old, nor will he abandon you or I today.