God Never Fails
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2021 was an incredibly hard year for a lot of people.
We’ve witnessed hundreds of thousands of Americans die from Covid. Each week it seems the tragedy seems to come closer to us. Families have been torn apart over mask and vaccines arguments. Election fraud theories still are a point of contention and threaten to grow the closer we get to 2024.
Maybe 2022 will be better, or maybe not. Regardless, people will find plenty to complain about—we always do.
In the past (and in the present) one of the things that made the future more difficult and uncertain was when a leader died in office. In America’s history we’ve only had 8 Presidents die in office and thankfully power was peacefully transferred to the vice president.
When a leader, like a president or a king, dies it’s often a time of turmoil, and at least uncertainty. People worry about who’s going to take over. Will the next leader be better or worse? Even in our own country, what some think is an opportunity for positive change doesn’t turn out better at all.
This is like the situation the Israelites found themselves in. They were suffering. The previous year had been awful. Hundreds of thousands had died. Those that were left were unsure of their future. They didn’t know much about their leaders. Would they even have nation any more or would they just be assimilated into the nation of Babylon?
Well, God had a response to those kind of questions. He promised a King and a kingdom that would never fail to the Israelites.
“For this is what the Lord says: David will never fail to have a man sitting on the throne of the house of Israel. The Levitical priests will never fail to have a man always before me to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings, and to make sacrifices.”
But in Jeremiah 34:2-3 we’re told that Jerusalem was burned and King Zedekiah was blinded, put in chains and taken to Babylon.
Had God failed? That’s what the word around town was.
The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: “Have you not noticed what these people have said? They say, ‘The Lord has rejected the two families he had chosen.’ My people are treated with contempt and no longer regarded as a nation among them.
Have you ever felt like God has failed you? Have you ever felt like God doesn’t keep his promises? From the Israelites point of view it seemed like God had rejected them. What good was it to be God’s “chosen people” if this was the way he treated them.
But the point of this section in Jeremiah 33, and the whole book of Jeremiah for that matter, is that God never fails. He will never fail to do what is right and just and ultimately good.
Everyone else fails but God never does. King David was a man after God’s own heart but he failed to be faithful to his family. He even commited 1st degree murder. He was a violent man and was a failure as a father.
His family wasn’t peaceful. It was filled with more violence and corruption, and heartbreak. Even his son Solomon, who was very wise, used much of his wisdom for personal gain and not for God’s glory.
And many of Solomon’s sons led the county into idolatry and further ruin.
I’m sure back then the people felt a temporary relief when a king died only realize that his replacement was worse.
And now the country was in captivity without much hope for the future—but God keeps his promises, so hope remains— that’s central theme of the book of Jeremiah.
And to reinforce this fact, all we have to do is turn to the very end of Jeremiah. Jeremiah want’s to leave his readers with this parting thought...
Jeremiah 52:31–33 (CSB)
On the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month of the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Judah’s King Jehoiachin, King Evil-merodach of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, pardoned King Jehoiachin of Judah and released him from prison. He spoke kindly to him and set his throne above the thrones of the kings who were with him in Babylon. So Jehoiachin changed his prison clothes, and he dined regularly in the presence of the king of Babylon for the rest of his life.
At the very end there is hope. Jeremiah seems to be telling us that the harsh treatment of Zedekiah and his sons wasn’t the end. Hope remained in the kind treatment of Jehoiachin who was Zedekiah’s nephew.
The story of Jehoiachin resumes in Matthew 1:11-12 with the genealogy of Jesus Christ.
Matthew 1:11–12 (CSB)
and Josiah fathered Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon. After the exile to Babylon Jeconiah fathered Shealtiel, Shealtiel fathered Zerubbabel…and Jacob fathered Joseph the husband of Mary, who gave birth to Jesus who is called the Messiah.
Jeconiah is also called Jehoiachin in scripture. He’s the same person Jeremiah spoke of. Jehoiachin was an evil king whose line was also cursed and yet Jehoiachin’s sinfulness was no obstacle for God. God always keeps his promises.
A King Forever
Jesus is King Jehoiachin’s heir to the throne and the fulfilment of God’s promises. Jesus was born to be a king.
The wise men declared him to be king in Mat 2:2 “saying, ‘Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star at its rising and have come to worship him.’”
Jesus was also declared to be a king by the mocking soldiers. John 19:2-3 says, “The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns, put it on his head, and clothed him in a purple robe. And they kept coming up to him and saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” and were slapping his face.”
Even though the soldiers were trying to make fun of Jesus, Pilate insisted the words “The King of the Jews” be put on his cross because Jesus truly was their king (John 19:19). Jesus is the King of the Jews and of all nations.
Revelation 15:3 says Jesus will be worshiped as the king of all nations forever. Looking far into the future John saw God’s people singing, “the song of God’s servant Moses and the song of the Lamb: Great and awe-inspiring are your works, Lord God, the Almighty; just and true are your ways, King of the nations.”
So, the promise of Jeremiah 33:17 is fulfilled in Jesus and it’s the reason we can have hope as we start 2022. This isn’t a temporary promise. Jesus’ kingdom has already begun and it will go on forever. God’s word will never fail.
Do we believe the God will never fail? Or does it seem like just when we have it all figured out, things change and we doubt again. But the truth is somethings never change.
Romans 8:28 “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” is true forever because Jesus is already ruling as king and will continue to do so for all eternity.
A Priest Forever
The promise was not just for a permanent king, but for a permanent priest.
The Levitical priests will never fail to have a man always before me to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings, and to make sacrifices.”
This is so important because without a permanent priest who will atone for sin? When a priest there was just as much uncertainty about the future for the Israelites as when a king died. Will the new priest be faithful or corrupt? Will he do the sacrifices correctly? Will our sins be forgiven?
This is a big problem for the Jews today because the temple was destroyed in 70 AD and has not been rebuilt. This means for the last two thousand years they have not had a levitical system to make atonement for sins. They’ve shifted to personal system that doesn’t involve sacrifices but what about God’s promise? God’s promise was that there would always be a man to offer and make sacrifices for sin.
Has God failed them?
No, the promise of an eternal King and an eternal Priest has been kept through Jesus. Jesus is the Messiah even if they don’t accept him.
Jeremiah plainly says in verse 18 that the promises are fulfilled in “a man.” And having just looked at the incarnation last week we know that the man being spoken of is a flesh and blood human being. Jesus, the Son of God is the man Jeremiah spoke of.
But the priesthood of the man Jesus’ is better than any other man’s because it lasts forever. Hebrews 5:6 says of Jesus,
Hebrews 5:6 (CSB)
You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
There is quite a bit of mystery around the person of Melchizedek because we don’t know his background and we don’t know when his priesthood ended. So, in that sense Melchizedek was a “type” of Christ who’s priesthood goes on forever.
Hebrews 7:23 explains,
Now many have become Levitical priests, since they are prevented by death from remaining in office. But because he remains forever, he holds his priesthood permanently. Therefore, he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, since he always lives to intercede for them.
Unlike priests who die, Jesus can be relied upon to intercede for us forever. And because Jesus never fails our salvation will never fail.
Now, this is really good news for those who think they’ve sinned so badly they could never be forgiven. It’s good news for those who have turned their back on God. They can always come home and I pray that 2022 will be the year that they do.
We don’t have too many Christians yet. There is always room for more. 2022 is going to be a year when even more people come to Christ.
Even as the stars of heaven cannot be counted, and the sand of the sea cannot be measured, so too I will make innumerable the descendants of my servant David and the Levites who minister to me.”
This prophecy is being fulfilled in the church right now. Every day new people are coming to Christ and like the universe, God’s kingdom is continually expanding.
And as adopted descendents of royalty, we are going to reign eternally with Jesus. According to 2 Tim 2:12 we won’t just be worshiping, we’re also going to be ruling over God’s creation.
But that’s not all. We are also going to be ministering and sharing God’s grace with others as priests (Col 3:16).
This has already begun but it’s also what we look forward to. It’s what we long for. It’s being fulfilled even now but the ultimate fulfilment is still in the future.
No matter what 2022 brings God’s promises will not fail. They are more sure than the laws of physics.
Jeremiah 33:19–21 (CSB)
This is what the Lord says: If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night so that day and night cease to come at their regular time, then also my covenant with my servant David may be broken. If that could happen, then he would not have a son reigning on his throne and the Levitical priests would not be my ministers.
But that can’t happen because God is saying it’s not possible for him to break his covenant with David.
God’s covenant is so sure it would be easier for us to make time stand still than for God to fail to keep his promises. God’s never going to fail. The sun and the moon will stop appearing in the sky before Jesus stops ruling as King and Priest.
So if we ever doubt that God will keep his promises just look up at the sun (not literally) or the moon and remember that they are two kinds of irrefutable proof that God always keeps his promises.
As the sun rises, his mercies are new every morning. Jeremiah in the book of Lamentations of all places gives us this incredible encouragement:
Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for his mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness!
God’s mercies will never end because God’s covenant love will never fail.
So, here’s a new year’s resolution to consider: every morning resolve to thank God for his faithful, covenant love. His mercies are new every morning and will never end, so no matter what 2022 brings hold fast to Jesus.