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December 1, 2019 – The First Sunday of Advent – Promise To The Exiled

Jeremiah 33:1-4, 10-22             Promise of the Messiah

           Jeremiah is a prophet for the people of Israel. He is prophet of God Almighty, to the southern kingdom (Judah) through the fall of Jerusalem. He has an unpleasant, unwanted message for the people of God – that they have violated the covenant, and that God will withdraw God’s blessings.

           By the time we get to Jeremiah 33, the people are in exile (Babylon) and the message has changed from what will come as a result of their unfaithfulness to the covenant to what will happen because of God’s faithfulness to the covenant.

           That is why we read this passage on the first Sunday of Advent. We are also people looking forward to the faithfulness of God. For the people then, it was a message of hope from the unlikely source of Jeremiah. That message of hope comes to us today.

           What is God’s vision of promise for them? What is it for us? Listen to the words used. While they are agricultural terms, we can do some translation into our terms. Towns will no longer be desolate. The sounds of life shall be heard in the streets. Life will happen in dead places. More than that, there will be justice and righteousness.

           This passage reverses what has happened. But the reversal hasn’t happened yet. What God has promised through Jeremiah for destruction has already happened. The message that comes next should be trustworthy. But will it be? Will there be restoration following destruction?