2021-5-16 “Maker of Heaven and Earth”

Cornerstone EPC                                                                              Sunday morning
Franklin, NC 28734                                                                          May 16, 2021

“Maker of Heaven and Earth”
Jeremiah 32:17

            It is good—both once again and week by week in this place—to confess our God-given faith.  We confess that faith to God Himself, the very Giver of it.  We also confess that faith with one another in the presence of one another.  Furthermore, we confess that faith in the hearing of those among us who, as yet, believe not.  We have confessed, so far in our sermon series through the Apostles’ Creed, “I believe…in God…the Father…Almighty….”  Today, we confess, “…Maker of Heaven and earth.”  We do this from a snippet of Jeremiah’s prayer in chapter 32 of his Spirit-led prophecy, and—in the doing—we shall discover an implication of this confession which shall thrill our souls.  Let us go then, once again, to the Word of God, and may the reading and proclamation of it fortify our souls.

            (HERE READ THE TEXT)

            Our single verse under examination today occurs within a noteworthy context.  Jeremiah 32 relates events and dialogue that occurred in Jerusalem in about 588 or 587 B. C.[1]  The city of Jerusalem lies under Babylonian siege (32:2) as prelude to its eventual fall and destruction—and these for long-term, unrepentant individual and national sin.  Jeremiah finds himself imprisoned in the court of the guard in Zedekiah’s palace.  His charge: prophesying the defeat of Judah and its subsequent removal to Babylon.  After all, Jeremiah’s prophecy, though from the Lord and, hence, certain to come to pass, lowers morale in the city and contradicts the so-called prophets enjoying favor with the king—who themselves are nothing more than yes-men.  Into this low time, a time of certain temporal doom for God’s wayward Old Testament church, God speaks—and, thus, commands Jeremiah to a prophetic sign act.

            The Lord tells Jeremiah that Hanamel, his cousin, will come to him and say, “Buy my field that is in Anathoth…” (Anathoth is Jeremiah’s hometown.).  This comes to pass.  Hanamel indeed comes and beseeches Jeremiah to buy his field, and Jeremiah buys the field (for seventeen shekels of silver), thus obeying God.[2]  The transaction now concluded, Jeremiah instructs Baruch, his scribe, to put both the sealed deed and the open deed in an earthenware vessel, so they may last a long time—seventy years, as it will turn out.  This whole sign act declares that houses, fields, and vineyards shall again be bought in the land.  Then Jeremiah prays to the Lord—and our text starts that prayer.

            Jeremiah opens with an impassioned address to the Lord, “Ah, Lord God…,” which, in the Hebrew idiom, is a cry almost of pain.  Then Jeremiah’s prayer turns to praise via recital of God’s works and reflection upon the same.  Indeed, God made the heavens and the earth.  The Lord, through Moses, states this fact with the very first sentence in all of Scripture: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1).  Moreover, God created the world through His Son, Jesus Christ, as the author of Hebrews declares by the Spirit’s leading (Hebrews 1:1).  The means of this creative act is God’s great power and His outstretched arm. 

            God Himself created all that is, and that by His powerful activity, contra the notion that someone else created everything.  That entity that would claim to be the Creator in place of God must itself have first been created—which leads to a contradiction.  Also, God created all that is, and that by His powerful activity, contra the notion that no one created everything that has come to pass.  When we look at the intricacy, and the beauty, and the derivative majesty of the creation, we cannot embrace the notion that all came to pass without a Creator; in fact, such a notion is a direct affront to God.  God Himself created all that is, and that by His powerful activity, just as God Himself declares in His Word.

            Hence, nothing is too difficult for Him.  The argument laid down for us by the Lord, through Jeremiah’s Spirit-led prayer, is from the greater to the lesser.  Cannot He Who created Heaven and earth also bring back His chastened Old Testament church from exile?  Moreover, cannot He Who created Heaven and earth cause the common life of the land of His Old Testament church—including real estate transactions—to flourish again?  Indeed, He can, and did—and these for His glory and for the good of His covenant people.

            Because God created Heaven and earth, by His great power and outstretched arm, nothing is too difficult for Him.  Also, because God raised His Son, Jesus Christ, from the dead, nothing is too difficult for Him.  Now let’s apply this truth to a host of conditions that you, or we, may face today.  Because nothing is too difficult for God, He can save that lost one over whom you are concerned.  Because nothing is too difficult for God, He can reclaim that wayward one over whom you are concerned.  Because nothing is too difficult for God, He can work in that apparently hopeless situation in your life.  Because nothing is too difficult for God, He can defeat that sin pattern, or set of sin patterns, in your life.  Because nothing is too difficult for God, He can repay for the years that the locusts have eaten (cf. Joel 2:25).  Because nothing is too difficult for God, He can give you all you need to fulfill His calling upon your life: both the skills to fulfill His will and the drive and stamina to fulfill the ministry entrusted to you.  In short, because nothing is too difficult for God, He can make you—He can make us—to be His faithful, fruitful disciples.  May He have all His rightful glory, because nothing is too difficult for our triune God.

                                                                                                                        AMEN.

[1]     That is, the tenth year of Zedekiah (whose reign began ca. 597 B. C.), king of Judah, and the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar (whose reign began ca. 605 B. C.), king of Babylon.  See Jeremiah 32:1.

[2]     This price of purchase, according to both to table of weights and measures given in the appendix to the English Standard Version of the Bible and the spot silver price at midday on Friday, May 14, 2021, is just over $180.