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SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:

Jeremiah 33:1-16

33:1 The Lord’s message came to Jeremiah a second time while he was still confined in the courtyard of the guardhouse. 2 “I, the Lord, do these things. I, the Lord, form the plan to bring them about. I am known as the Lord. I say to you, 3 ‘Call on me in prayer and I will answer you. I will show you great and mysterious things which you still do not know about.’ 4 For I, the Lord God of Israel, have something more to say about the houses in this city and the royal buildings of Judah that have been torn down for defenses against the siege ramps and military incursions of the Babylonians: 5 ‘The defenders of the city will go out and fight with the Babylonians. But they will only fill those houses and buildings with the dead bodies of the people that I will kill in my anger and my wrath. That will happen because I have decided to turn my back on this city on account of the wicked things they have done. 6 But I will most surely heal the wounds of this city and restore it and its people to health. I will show them abundant peace and security. 7 I will restore Judah and Israel and will rebuild them as they were in days of old. 8 I will purify them from all the sin that they committed against me. I will forgive all their sins which they committed in rebelling against me. 9 All the nations will hear about all the good things that I will do for them. This city will bring me fame, honor, and praise before them for the joy that I bring it. The nations will tremble in awe at all the peace and prosperity that I will provide for it.’

10 “I, the Lord, say: ‘You and your people are saying about this place, “It lies in ruins. There are no people or animals in it.” That is true. The towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem will soon be desolate, uninhabited either by people or by animals. But happy sounds will again be heard in these places. 11 Once again there will be sounds of joy and gladness and the glad celebrations of brides and grooms. Once again people will bring their thank offerings to the temple of the Lord and will say, “Give thanks to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. For the Lord is good and his unfailing love lasts forever.” For I, the Lord, affirm that I will restore the land to what it was in days of old.’

12 “I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, say: ‘This place will indeed lie in ruins. There will be no people or animals in it. But there will again be in it and in its towns sheepfolds where shepherds can rest their sheep. 13 I, the Lord, say that shepherds will once again count their sheep as they pass into the fold. They will do this in all the towns in the hill country, the foothills, the Negev, the territory of Benjamin, the villages surrounding Jerusalem, and the towns of Judah.’

14 “I, the Lord, affirm: ‘The time will certainly come when I will fulfill my gracious promise concerning the nations of Israel and Judah. 15 In those days and at that time I will raise up for them a righteous descendant of David.

“‘He will do what is just and right in the land. 16 Under his rule Judah will enjoy safety and Jerusalem will live in security. At that time Jerusalem will be called “The Lord has provided us with justice.”