The Prophet's Visual Lessons (Jeremiah 1:11-19)
Topic: Sermons Passage: Jeremiah 1:11–1:19
Have you ever had something happen to you that you couldn't figure out? Perhaps it was some illness or injury or accident? Maybe it was a relational failure of some sort? Or even a missed opportunity at work? But some event or circumstance has taken place in your life, and as hard as you try to understand it, you can't come up with why this is happening to you. Maybe you start asking other folks you trust, but they aren't able to understand it either. So you just keep wondering. And the only thing you can do is pray and wait. Sometimes it's hardest to see what's going on when you're right in the middle of a situation. We need enough time to pass so we can look back with that 20/20 hindsight before we begin to understand.
So how did the prophets handle it? Most of the Biblical prophets were given the task of entering some bewildering situation, calling God's people back to Himself, and then just waiting. A few times they saw great results, but most of the time, they saw ... nothing. No reaction of any kind. If there was any kind of reaction, it was usually negative, and sometimes threatening. This past Sunday we began studying the Book of Jeremiah. And last week we saw the Lord call Jeremiah to be His prophet, and this week we get to see the marching orders the Lord gives him. And I mean "see it," not "hear it." And that's because the Lords' directions to Jeremiah come in the form of visions. And they're not wonderful, they're not encouraging, and they're hard for Jeremiah to understand. They begin to help Jeremiah (and us) understand that the Lord is calling His people to stop doing the things He doesn't love, otherwise judgment is inevitable. However, if they return to the Lord and start doing the things that He does love, He will restore them (and us) to Himself with great joy.
Once again, we will see that the main character is neither the people nor the prophet Himself, but rather "The Word of the Lord." It's a constant reminder that God is the One guiding Jeremiah, and God is the One giving him the words to say. Words we need just as much as Jeremiah did, and just as much as the people of Judah did. I've entitled this series, "Faithful Living in a Fallen World" because Jeremiah is filled with messages from God exhorting us to faithful living, while being realistic about the fallen state of the world we live in. Even though it took place over 2,600 years ago, this book is remarkably current. Jeremiah was an ancient prophet for a modern time. Spending time with Jeremiah this year should build our faith and give us hope, and that's a good thing. See you Sunday. Dr. Dave