Sunday, December 11, 2022

“I Will Surely Save You Out of A Distant Land” [Matt's Messages]

“I Will Surely Save You Out of A Distant Land”
Uprooted - The Words of Jeremiah
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
December 11, 2022 :: Jeremiah 30:1-24

“A hope and a future.”

The LORD’s plans that He knows He has for His people are plans not to harm them but to “shalom” them (to give them peace and prosperity and wholeness) and to give them a hope and a future.

That’s what He promised the exiles in chapter 29, and that’s what these next four chapters of Jeremiah are all about.

I love how the LORD has gotten us right to these four chapters right in time for Christmas! I didn’t plan this, but the LORD certainly did. 

The prophecy of Jeremiah has a lot of sadness in it. You’ve probably noticed! There’s a lot of weeping and tears. There is a lot of anguish over the foolish and evil choices that the nation of Judah had made year after year after year after year.

And the Prophet Jeremiah was sent to call Judah to repent. For forty long years he was a broken record about their broken covenant and the judgment that was inevitably going to come.

He wasn’t happy about it. Jeremiah didn’t enjoy bringing this message, but he was appointed to do it. Remember the words of his commissioning? Chapter 1, verse 10, “See, today I [Yahweh] appoint you [Jeremiah] over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”

Over the last 8 months, we’ve heard a lot about the first four of those, especially uprooting. And we’ve heard a little bit sprinkled throughout about the last two. But in chapters 30 through 33, it’s almost all about building and planting, re-building and re-planting! It’s all about restoration and hope. “A hope and a future.”

And you know and I know how that hope eventually came to pass. Jeremiah wrote these words down more than 580 years before Jesus was born. Almost 600 years! And yet, here in this ancient scroll are prophecies of the Messiah and all that He promises to be for His people.

This section of Jeremiah is often called “The Book of Consolation” or “The Book of Comfort,” because it’s four chapters of high octane hope. It’s full of promise. Which is just perfect for the Advent Season, isn’t it?

Let me show you what I mean. Let’s look at chapter 30 together today.

We don’t know when these words were written down. Many Bible scholars believe, for a few different reasons, that chapter 30 was written during the last fateful year before the exile. 587 BC.

Right when things were getting to be at their worst, Jeremiah was finally able to say more about how things were going to turn around for the best.

When things were at their darkest, it turns out that the future was actually going to be quite bright.

Chapter 30, verse 1.

“This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: ‘This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you. The days are coming,' declares the LORD, 'when I will bring my people Israel and Judah back from captivity and restore them to the land I gave their forefathers to possess,' says the LORD.’”

You might have picked up by now that this little phrase is one of Jeremiah’s favorites, “The days are coming...”

“The days are coming...” That’s the theme of our Advent Readings this year. It will be the theme on Christmas Eve. “The days are coming...”

The focus of that phrase is the future. Jeremiah has finally gotten to the good part.

I’ll bet that’s how he felt! “Finally, we’re getting to the good stuff. I like talking about this. I like talking about the restoration of Israel and Judah (both of them! North and South. The North went into captivity a century before this. But they are going to be restored in some way, too!). I like talking about that.”

“I like talking about the future when it’s full of hope.” “The days are coming...” 

They aren’t here yet, but they are on the way.

Judah has not yet even gone into captivity, but Jeremiah is predicting beyond that to the restoration.

It’s going to be a while (at least 70 years from top to bottom), but “The days are coming...”

Now, it’s important to understand how these promises in the prophets often operate. How they are fulfilled.

This is one of the trickiest parts of understanding the Old Testament prophets. Because it’s not that straightforward. Some prophecies are, but many of them are not. The LORD promises something through the prophet, and says that it’s surely, certainly going to happen, but He’s somewhat vague on the HOW and especially the WHEN.

And you might think that the WHEN is going to be all at one time. But, often, it’s not. You might think it because there isn’t necessarily anything in the prophecy to indicate that the fulfillment is going to come in stages. And yet, it does come in stages.

Some people use the analogy of a mountain range to illustrate this. Like if you see a range of mountains in the distance, some of those mountains are closer than others, right. But you can’t necessarily tell which ones are closer and which ones are farther away, right? And if they look about the same height, the closer ones are actually smaller, right? And the ones that are farther away are the bigger ones.

You’re actually looking at multiple horizons, but you see them all together. The Bible teaches that the prophets can be like that.

It’s kind of like if somebody told you that at Christmastime, you’re going to get presents. At Christmastime, you’re going to get a tricycle, a 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback, and a pair of suspenders. And you’re going to absolutely love your presents at Christmastime! Now, you might guess that it’s actually different years, right? But it’s all “Christmastime.”

Or let me give you one more. It’s like a promise that this glass is going to be filled.

“The days are coming...” when this glass will be filled with delightful refreshing water. [ILLUSTRATE WITH GLASS OF WATER.] But then the glass only gets a little bit of water at first.

Has the promise failed? No. It’s just not all here yet. But “the days are coming” when it will be filled.

That’s a lot like what we see in Jeremiah 30. There are promises of restoration, and they obviously about the people of Judah (and Israel) returning to the Promised Land. But they are obviously also about MORE than that.

And it’s not clear when all of the fulfillment is going to come. Some of it obviously comes when the seventy years are up. The seventy years predicted in chapter 25 and 29 that we talked about last week.

But some of the things that Jeremiah said were going to happen didn’t come about in 538 BC. Some of it came about at the first Christmastime. And some of it–the tallest peaks in the mountain range–is still to come. We’re still waiting for it today. The greatest thing about those promises that aren’t yet fully fulfilled is that they are the biggest ones and they include the most people.

This was originally written to Israel and Judah, but over time, the recipients snowball, and you and I get caught up in them, too!

The LORD promises through Jeremiah a great salvation. An amazing turnaround. In verse 3 he called it being brought “back from captivity” and restored to the land.

We sing about it this time of year, like we did last Sunday, when we sang:

“O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel;
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.”

What a turnaround! The Hebrew there for “back from captivity” and “restore them” in verse 3 is another play on the word “shuv.” Remember how that word could be translated “Repent” because it means to “turn back?” Well, here it’s “turn the turnings.” “Shuv Shuvuth.” “Turn the turnings.” Effect the greatest reversal of all time! The greatest comeback of all time.

Because these promises start out talking about Israel’s return from exile, but they end by describing our salvation both now and forever! Isn’t that amazing?! Let me show you what I mean. Look at verse 4.

Now, remember, Jeremiah is a realist. And so is the LORD. He doesn’t just paint a rosy picture. He has to tell it like it is. Before the dawn, comes the night. Before the hope, comes the judgment. Verse 4. Here’s what’s going to happen next.

“These are the words the LORD spoke concerning Israel and Judah: ‘This is what the LORD says: ‘ 'Cries of fear are heard–terror, not peace. Ask and see: Can a man bear children? Then why do I see every strong man with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor, every face turned deathly pale? How awful that day will be! None will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it.”

Do you see how this works? The next thing on the schedule is the destruction of Jerusalem, the destruction of Solomon’s temple, and the exile of Judah to Babylon. And it will be a time of distress. Pain, anxiety, anguish, horror. Like going through labor but knowing there is no baby on the other side, just more pain. Jacob’s Trouble.

But also! “A hope and a future.” Verse 7, “He will be saved out of it.” On the other side of the exile is salvation! And here’s what that salvation will look like. It will look like emancipation. V.8

“'In that day,' declares the LORD Almighty, 'I will break the yoke off their necks and will tear off their bonds; no longer will foreigners enslave them. Instead, they will serve the LORD their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them” (vv.8-9).

Remember that yoke that Jeremiah had to wear around town? We don’t know for how long. And how Hananiah dramatically tore it off of him? And how the LORD said, “Okay, not wood but iron.” An iron yoke. Bowing down and serving Nebuchadnezzar.

Hananiah was not 100% wrong. He was 100% wrong about when. He said in wishful thinking out of his own head that it would only be two years. But he was not wrong that the LORD was going to break that yoke. The LORD is going to break that yoke. Even the yoke of iron. Nothing will stop Him from breaking that yoke! Tearing off those bonds. 

Enslaved no longer! Freed!

But when? He says, “In that day,” and I think that’s kind of like saying, “Christmastime.”

There’s this “day” predicted in the Bible, called “The Day of the LORD” or the “Day of Yahweh.” And a lot is predicted to happen in the Day of the LORD. A lot of terrible things, judgment, and wonderful things, blessings. And I think that day is not just a 24 hour kind of day, but a way of talking about a time when God faithfully keeps all of His promises and all of His threats.

Some of that Day of the LORD has already come. The glass is filling up. Some of it is yet to come.

For example, did you see what’s going to happen next when they are freed? There in verse 9. “ longer will foreigners enslave them. Instead, they will serve the LORD their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them” (vv.8-9).

Who is that? That’s the Messiah, isn’t it? That’s the King that the Lees Family was teaching us about in Jeremiah chapter 23 in the Advent Reading this morning

“‘The days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness’” (Jer. 23:5-6 NIVO).

“They will serve the LORD their God and David their king,” meaning great David’s even greater Son. 

And Who is that? It’s Jesus! When the cup is filled to the brim of this prophecy, Jesus will be reigning over His freed people.

I have four simple points this morning, and they’re all about this great salvation that we have in Jesus. Prefigured in Israel’s return from exile and fully fulfilled in our salvation both now and forever.


Did you notice that in verse 9? That the people in verse 8 who are emancipated fom the foreign nations are not freed to do whatever they want. They are freed to serve the LORD their God and His Messiah.

We are freed to serve. The Lord breaks our bonds to free us, yes, but not so that we run off and do willy nilly whatever comes into our heads. That’s a different kind of enslavement. Instead, we are saved to serve. We are rescued to obey our wonderful Savior. We are freed from our sins, from Satan, and from ourselves. To serve the Lord and to serve others in His name.

Are you serving the Lord? In what ways? Jesus has broken off the yoke around our necks and put His own yoke on us.  Thankfully, His yoke is easy, and His burden is light because He is gentle and humble in heart, and in Him we find rest for our souls (cf. Matthew 11:28-29).

And that’s actually the second point. 


Look at what the LORD says in verse 10. “So do not fear, O Jacob my servant; do not be dismayed, O Israel,' declares the LORD. 'I will surely save you out of a distant place, your descendants from the land of their exile. Jacob will again have peace and security, and no one will make him afraid. I am with you and will save you,' declares the LORD. 'Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you but only with justice; I will not let you go entirely unpunished.' (vv.10-11)

Again, he’s a realist. He doesn’t give them a Pollyanna promise like a smiling televangelist saying everything is going to be fine. “There won’t be any problems.” No, there will be problems. There will, in fact, be punishment. But there will also be a remnant. And there will be a future. A hope and a future.

This is where we get our sermon title for today. “I Will Surely Save You Out of a Distant Place.” The people of Israel will be returned to their own land from the land of their exile. And that should give them peace and rest.

Did you hear those words of comfort?

“Do not fear...”
“Do not be dismayed.”
You “will again have peace and security, and no one will make [you] afraid.”

How come? “I am with you and will save you,’ declares the LORD.”

And if that was true even just a little for those straggling exiles who came back under Nehemiah, how much more is it true for you and me who have been saved by the blood of Jesus Christ?! Returned to rest.

What are you afraid of these days? What makes you dismayed? Verses 10 and 11 are going to show up just about verbatim in chapter 46 which we’ll get to sometime in the Spring, Lord-willing.

I think the LORD wants us to hear this message.

“Do not fear...”
“Do not be dismayed.”
You “will again have peace and security, and no one will make [you] afraid.”

The word for peace there is not “shalom.” It’s “shakat.” It means to be tranquil. To be quiet. To be undisturbed. And word for security is “sha’awn,” to be at ease to be able to rest securely.

The CSB says, “calm and quiet.”

Because of Jesus you and I can be calm and quiet. I’m not good at that, but that’s something for me to work on. Because I have been saved out of a distant place, I don’t have to run around like a chicken with my head cut off over every little thing. Or even over anything big.

How about you? Are you calm and quiet? Because Jesus came at that first Christmastime, no matter what we are facing in life, we can be calm and quiet in Him.

Now, in verse 12, the LORD goes back to the bad news.

You see the pattern here? He starts with how hopeless they truly are, and then He injects this potent powerful hope! Look at verse 12.

“‘This is what the LORD says: ‘ 'Your wound is incurable, your injury beyond healing. There is no one to plead your cause, no remedy for your sore, no healing for you. All your allies have forgotten you; they care nothing for you. I have struck you as an enemy would and punished you as would the cruel, because your guilt is so great and your sins so many. 5 Why do you cry out over your wound, your pain that has no cure? Because of your great guilt and many sins I have done these things to you.” (vv.12-15).

He’s back to being a broken record. 

He’s back to pointing out how many times they have hit the snooze button, right Katie? “Snooze. Snooze. I don’t want to wake up and repent. Snooze.” “Because of your great guilt and many sins I have done these things to you." Your wound is incurable. Your case is hopeless...on your own.

But look! Verse 16. “'But all who devour you will be devoured; all your enemies will go into exile. Those who plunder you will be plundered; all who make spoil of you I will despoil. But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,' declares the LORD, 'because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares.'” (vv.16-17).


The LORD Himself is going to heal them.

It will take a miracle, so He will do a miracle. We’re going to find out in the next chapter just how big a miracle it will take. It will take a New Covenant that is better than the old one. A New Covenant that we said last week will be ratified in blood of Jesus.

But LORD is going to do it. “I will restore you to health and heal your wounds.” Where Judah had NO HOPE. They now have hope. The turnaround of turnarounds! Where they were outcasts, uncared for by their foreign gods and foreign nations who promised to help them but never came through.

They are now people of hope with a future.

And so are you and I!

Do you see how we get into this as the promise snowballs? Because He doesn’t just heal and forgive Israel. He forgives the church, Jews and Gentiles together who repent of our sins and put our faith in the blood of Jesus. And He doesn’t just heal us. One day, when the cup of this promise is full to the brim, the whole creation will be healed!

It’s groaning right now. But one day it will be released from its bondage to decay and “brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.” (Rom. 8:21 NIVO) 

Wow! And what a day of rejoicing that will be!


Look at verse 18. “‘This is what the LORD says: 'I will restore the fortunes of Jacob's tents and have compassion on his dwellings; the city will be rebuilt on her ruins, and the palace will stand in its proper place. From them will come songs of thanksgiving and the sound of rejoicing. I will add to their numbers, and they will not be decreased; I will bring them honor, and they will not be disdained. Their children will be as in days of old, and their community will be established before me; I will punish all who oppress them” (vv.18-20). 

The LORD promises to make everything the way it was before and the way it was supposed to be. He’s going to turn everything around.

The Hebrew there is the same words as we saw in verse 3. “Turn the turnings.” “Restore the fortunes.” [Study Psalm 126 for more on this concept.]

Bringing the people back from exile. But more than that. Make everything the way it was supposed to be in the first place. Including, their leader. Their leader will be exactly what He should be. What all of the leaders were supposed to be but were miserable failures at being.

They were all so many thumbs down. But this leader will be all thumbs up. Look at verse 21.

“Their leader will be one of their own; their ruler will arise from among them. I will bring him near and he will come close to me, for who is he who will devote himself to be close to me?' declares the LORD.”

Who do you think that is? Who will dare to come close to the LORD? Who will dare to come this close to Yahweh? 

There is only One Who even could. The One who came from the Father, full of grace and truth (cf. John 1:14).  Jesus. This is another prophecy of the Messiah buried deep in the Book of Jeremiah.

And here’s the result of the Messiah’s work. Verse 22.

“'So you will be my people, and I will be your God.'”

It doesn’t get any better than that. What a privilege! What a responsibility! The covenant will be renewed and God’s people will be God’s people again. They will know Him. They will walk in relationship with Him. We call it a “life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ,” and it’s what our church is all about.

“So you will be my people, and I will be your God.”

But first comes the judgment. Verse 23. Same thing he said in chapter 23. “See, the storm of the LORD will burst out in wrath, a driving wind swirling down on the heads of the wicked. The fierce anger of the LORD will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart. In days to come you will understand this.”

We may not “get it” right away. But one day, we will. And we can be assured that He will accomplish all of the purposes of His heart. All of His judgment and all of His blessing. Because He is perfect in every way. We can’t understand all of that all of the time. 

Just look at the Cross and marvel at what was happening there. The fierce anger of the LORD was not turned back until justice was done and seen to be done on all of our sin. But at the same time, that was opening up the way for us to be saved. To be brought back from a distant land, the land of sin and exile.

To be freed.
To be healed.
To be returned.
To be restored.

To be replanted!

When? “At Christmastime.”

When did this prophecy come true?

Well, it began to be filled up when the exiles returned to Jerusalem in the book of Nehemiah. And then the promise began to snowball as it headed down the mountainside. And it began to engulf you and me.

Jesus was born. He came as the Messiah prophesied in verse 9 and verse 21. Son of David. A Hebrew. One of their own. One Who drew near to Yahweh. Who was perfectly devoted to Yahweh.

And Who even laid down His life before the wrath of Yahweh. But there is still more fulfillment to come.

When? On “that day.” Look at the first verse of chapter 31.

“‘At that time,’ declares the LORD, ‘I will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they will be my people.’” 

You know what that sounds like to me? Revelation chapter 21! "And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’” (Rev. 21:3-5 NIVO).

That’s the final fulfillment of Jeremiah chapter 30! That’s our hope and our future.

And what should you and I do in response? Verse 19 told us very clearly: “From them will come songs of thanksgiving and the sound of rejoicing!”

“Good Christian friends, rejoice
with heart and soul and voice;
now ye hear of endless bliss:
Jesus Christ was born for this!
He has opened heaven's door,
and we are blest forevermore.
Christ was born for this!”


Previous Messages in This Series:

01. "The Word of the LORD Came to Me" - Jeremiah 1:1-19
02. "I Bring Charges Against You" - Jeremiah 2:1-3:5
03. "Return to Me" - Jeremiah 3:6-4:4
04. “Oh My Anguish, My Anguish!” - Jeremiah 4:6-5:31
05. "Ask for the Ancient Paths" - Jeremiah 6:1-30
06. “This Is the Temple of the LORD, the Temple of the LORD, the Temple of the LORD!” - Jeremiah 7:1-8:3
07. "Is There No Balm in Gilead?" - Jeremiah 8:4-9:22
08. "Boast About This" - Jeremiah 9:23-24
09. "Like a Scarecrow in a Melon Patch" - Jeremiah 9:25-10:25
10. "Conspiracy" - Jeremiah 11:1-12:17
11. “My People For My Renown” - Jeremiah 13:1-27
12. "I Can No Longer Show Compassion" - Jeremiah 14:1-15:21
13. "I Have Withdrawn My Blessing, My Love and My Pity" - Jeremiah 16:1-21
14. "I the LORD Search the Heart" - Jeremiah 17:1-27
15. "Go Down to the Potter's House" - Jeremiah 18:1-19:15
16. “Insult and Reproach All Day Long” - Jeremiah 20:1-18
17. "Woe to the Shepherds" - Jeremiah 21:1-23:8
18. "I Did Not Send These Prophets" - Jeremiah 23:9-40
19. "“My Eyes Will Watch Over Them For Their Good” - Jeremiah 24:1-25:38
20. "This Man Should Be Sentenced to Death" - Jeremiah 26:1-24
21. “Under the Yoke” - Jeremiah 27:1-28:17
22. “I Know the Plans I Have for You” - Jeremiah 29:1-32