Summary: Pentecost 18(B) - SEPTEMBER 22, 2002 - Believers consider Jeremiah’s character of obedience in service and humility in obedience.
Consider Jeremiah’s Character
Jeremiah 11: 18-20 September 22, 2002
18Because the LORD revealed their plot to me, I knew it, for at that time he showed me what they were doing. 19I had been like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter; I did not realize that they had plotted against me, saying, "Let us destroy the tree and its fruit; let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name be remembered no more."
20But, O LORD Almighty, you who judge righteously and test the heart and mind, let me see your vengeance upon them, for to you I have committed my cause.
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Dearest Fellow-Redeemed and Saints in the Lord:
Probably at one time or another in our lives, we have thought or maybe even spoken, “Woe is me!” Woe is me. Maybe if things got bad enough we might even say, “Woe is the world around me!” or “Woe is my family, church or nation!” Even in the wickedness of our day and age we want to realize we have it no worse than what Jesus did. Jesus, who came to this earth and was innocent His whole life, never said a bad word, never had an evil thought, never did anything wrong--yet was put to death for being God’s Son. He was put to death for being perfect. We might be tempted from time to time and say “Woe is me!” and yet the scripture reminds us that when we look at the life of Jesus, not once did He say, “Woe is me!” As we look at the life of Je-sus, we see that that is our example, that our ‘lot’ or path in life as a believer is to face suffering and persecution. Peter writes: "To this (suffering) you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps"(1 PETER 2:21). We may say, “Woe is me!” but that is part of our Christian life, a part of our Christian calling, that we were called to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. This morning we:
CONSIDER JEREMIAH’S CHARACTER
I. Obedience in service
II. Humility in obedience
I. Obedience in service
It is true. Jeremiah lived during one of the most terrible times for the children of Israel. Kings had ruled them. As kings came and went, some were good, some were bad. They had more bad kings than good kings. When Jeremiah started prophesying, there was a good king, Josiah. Because of Josiah, the Word of God came back to life. After Josiah left, the Word of God was once again covered up.
Jeremiah began to prophesy. He prophesied that if they thought they were in terrible times now, there were worse times yet to come. In fact, the Lord even told Jeremiah, “Don’t get mar-ried, because your children will be destroyed.” The next generation was going to be wiped out. That’s how bad it was going to be. It was terrible times, if we want to call them that. First of all, Jeremiah had a terrible message to deliver…God’s judgement. It was terrible times because God’s people didn’t listen and because even Jeremiahs’ friends didn’t listen. They turned against Jeremiah thinking they were going to defeat God’s judgement. He says: 18Because the LORD re-vealed their plot to me, I knew it, for at that time he showed me what they were doing.
In his own hometown of Anahoth, the people plotted to get rid of Jeremiah. They thought, “If we get rid of Jeremiah, we’re not going to have to listen to his words anymore. If we don’t have to listen to his words anymore, we’re not going to have to listen to God’s judgement.” Jeremiah didn’t know a thing about it. He was surprised. He simply went on preaching God’s word. That’s what he knew how to do. That’s what God had instructed him to do. That’s what God’s people rejected.
He says: 19I had been like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter; I did not realize that they had plotted against me. He didn’t understand why they didn’t want to listen to what God had to say to them. It wasn’t pleasant to listen to and they certainly wouldn’t want to hear it day after day, year after year. In fact, Jeremiahs’ prophesy lasted over a generation. He was able to tell the parents and the children. They did get tired of it, but the message was still the same. They weren’t going to wipe out that message. They plotted against him saying, "Let us destroy the tree and its fruit; let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name be remembered no more." They thought, “Well, get rid of Jeremiah, the tree. Get rid of his fruit, his message. Let’s wipe out his name forever, and we’ll live in peace and safety rather than destruction and judgment.” You and I know that Jeremiah wasn’t talking and prophesying his words, but was proclaiming what God had revealed to him to proclaim. They couldn’t cut out the words of the Lord. They couldn’t cover them up. They couldn’t destroy them. God’s word/judgment was there to stay.