St. John's & Zion Lutheran Churches

God Keeps His Promises

Sermon on Jeremiah 33:14-16

Text: “‘The days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will fulfill the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah.
15 “‘In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The LORD Our Righteous Savior.’”

We depend on promises that others make to us. We trust the person who made that promise. For example, if you promise to bring a gift to a child when you come home, you can be sure that the child will be waiting for that gift. God made many promises to his people Israel. He has also made many promises to us. This morning, we turn our attention to one of those promises made in the book of Jeremiah. As we do so, we will see that GOD KEEPS HIS PROMISES. 1. He Raised A Righteous Branch. 2. He Saved His People.

Jeremiah prophesied in the time prior to the capture of the kingdom of Judah by the Babylonians. Jeremiah told the people that, because they had turned their back on God, he would allow the Babylonian government to defeat the people of Judah. They would be carried away as captives from their homeland. The prophet Jeremiah had a strong message of law for the people of Judah. They would be destroyed.

Yet, not all of Jeremiah’s message spoke of judgment. He, also, spoke of God’s love for the people. God promised to bring the people back from captivity. Chapter 33 of Jeremiah, from which our text us taken, is summarized in the NIV with the heading “Promise of Restoration.” God promised to bring the people back and that he would be with them as they rebuilt their cities and their homes. He would restore them as a nation, bringing them peace and security.

However, as important and wonderful as the promises of national restoration were, God had an even greater promise: spiritual restoration. This spiritual restoration is prophesied in the words of our text this morning. The Lord begins by saying, “The days are coming when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah.” (Verse 14) God said that he would fulfill a promise that he had made to the people of Israel. It becomes clear that the fulfillment of that promise is Jesus Christ. Let us look at some of the many promises that God made to his people.

We naturally think of the first promise of a Savior in Genesis 3:15. After God confronted Adam and Eve with their sin, he promised to send a Savior. He said to the devil, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” Moses said in Deuteronomy 18:18, “I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him.” God promised the Savior to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. King David was told that the Savior would be one of his descendants. Throughout the Old Testament, people continued to point ahead to the Savior who was to come, whom God had promised to his people.

God told his people, through the prophet Jeremiah, that the time was coming when all of those promises would be fulfilled. This is how God’s promise would be fulfilled, “In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line.” (Verse 15) That Branch is Jesus Christ. Elsewhere in the Scriptures, David’s line is pictured as an old dead stump. For a while, the line of David was alive and strong. However, after the Babylonian invasion, it would appear as if the power was gone. Outwardly, it looked as though all life had left this tree. Yet, from this seemingly lifeless stump, God would bring forth a branch. That Branch would be Jesus Christ. He is the descendant that God is speaking of, when he said to King David in 2 Samuel 7:12&13, “When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” This Branch was to be a King.

He will also act like a king. “He will do what is just and right in the land.” (Verse 15) As a King, he executes justice. We know that Jesus will come again on the Last Day and will judge all the inhabitants of the world, both those who are still alive at his return and those who have died. He will pronounce judgment on those who have rejected him. These will face the punishment of hell for their sins. Yet, concerning others, he will declare before the entire world that they are saved, because they have been brought to trust in Jesus as their Savior from sin.

Yet, we don’t have to wait until the Last Day for Jesus to act like a king. He rules right now. He rules our hearts and minds through his Word, showing us those things that are pleasing and those things which are displeasing to him. He rules all of creation for our good. He is in control and allows those things that are most beneficial for us to enter our lives. Even though there may be times of sadness, yet we can be cheered by the fact that these things will work out for our benefit. God has raised this righteous Branch from David’s line and made him ruler over all. God kept his promises when he sent Jesus into the world.

God made another promise in verse 16, “In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety.” One might think that God was promising the people of Judah that they would never be attacked again, as they were about to be by the Babylonians. However, we know from history that this was not the case. Just in the time of the Bible, after the Jews came back from Babylon, they were conquered by the Greeks and the Romans. So, obviously, God is not talking about a physical safety for those living in the land of Judah.

Instead, as we learn from the other parts of the Bible, Judah and Jerusalem are often picture names for believers. Just as Israel was God’s chosen people, so now all who believe in Jesus as their Savior are God’s people. We are the Judah and Jerusalem that God speaks of, as well as all believers of all time. God said that Judah will be saved in the days when the Righteous Branch, Jesus, arose.

We have been saved. Jesus came to the earth those many years ago to deliver us from our sins. We were in danger of being overcome by them, spending our eternity in punishment. Every single sin of thought, word, or action threatened us. We were powerless against them. On our own, we would be lost forever.

However, God raised up a Righteous Branch, Jesus. He sent his only Son to live a perfect life in our place. That perfect life is called “righteousness.” He, then, sacrificed himself on the cross to save us from our sins. He rose from the dead showing us that victory was ours. The Righteous Branch has saved us and we now live in safety. The safety is the sure knowledge that our sins have been forgiven. It is the confident hope that we belong to God and, as Jesus assures us in John 10:28, “No one will snatch them out of my hand.” Try as Satan might, he cannot take us away from our loving Father. Since we are firmly rooted in God’s Word, since we place our faith in him, we dwell in safety on this earth, confident of the peace that we will enjoy in heaven. We have been saved and dwell in safety because of the Righteous Branch.

God also tells us that we will receive a new name, “ This is the name by which it will be called: The LORD Our Righteous Savior.” When we are brought to faith, we are born again. We have a new spiritual self. Because we belong to the family of God, we receive his name. Our new name is “The LORD Our Righteousness.” We can rightly be called this. For, when Jesus Christ took all of our sins upon himself and paid for them on the cross, he gave us something in return. His perfect life, his righteousness is credited to our account. When God looks at us, he sees perfection. We belong to Jesus. Elsewhere in the Bible, it speaks of the Church being married to Christ. Just as a bride takes her husband’s name, so also the Church takes the name of her heavenly Bridegroom. The Church, being united with Christ, receives righteousness from him. His righteousness is credited to her account. Now God sees us as perfect. May we do our best to be God’s representatives of that righteous living. May we not bring shame upon our family name, by willfully doing those things that displease our heavenly Father. God kept his promise by saving us. Let us show others that we have been saved.

We have spoken a great deal about promises. Our earthly promises don’t always work out the way that we would like. Sometimes, things beyond our control happen, such as an illness or forgetting. At times, people make promises that they have no intention of keeping. However, this is not the case with our heavenly Father. When he makes a promise, he keeps it. As Ruler of all things, he makes all things happen as they should. God keeps his promises. We rejoice that he kept his promise to send a Savior. We glorify him for rescuing us from our sins. May we reflect the joy of God’s promises fulfilled to all those around us. In the meantime, we wait for God’s promise of eternal joy and peace in heaven. We know that it is waiting for us. After all, God keeps his promises. Amen.