Summary: A message about not being so concerned about things in which we have no control over in life because there are much bigger things to be concerned about. Just as we are tempted to envy the prosperity of the wicked so was Jeremiah but he learned not to.
God's call for Resolution
Scripture: Jeremiah 12:1-17
Introduction: A new year is upon us and if we ever had need for resolution it is today. The term resolution has come to be known as something you promise yourself to do at the beginning of the new year but then give up on shortly after you began. But the definition of 'resolution' is 'to make a firm decision to do, or not do something'. If you look for synonyms for the word 'Courage' you will find the term: resolution. Because we are living in such an immoral and wicked culture we are going to need courage and resolution, heading into 2015
Jeremiah was known as the 'weeping prophet' Some say he was called at the age of 17. He was called to reprove a crumbling Israelite nation. Unfortunately for them they did not listen to him. But during his day, people were so hardened by sin that they neither believed God nor feared him. They seem to find Jeremiah's constant warning of judgment overbearing and frankly, annoying.
It's the same with us now, those that hear our warning, find us obnoxious. But as believers we are supposed to follow God's instructions to warn a lost and dying world of impeding judgment. Even though most are not listening, we still have to persevere in proclaiming truth in order to rescue some from the terrible judgment that will inevitably come.
The Gallup organization had a list of the most admired people of 2014 and to show you where we are at in our culture today the formerly impeached president Bill Clinton ranked above Rev. Billy Graham in the most admired man of the year. Not all that surprising really - God's prophets have seldom been the world's favorites.
Transition: We are going to look into the 12th chapter of Jeremiah today and pull 3 lessons from a dialogue between Jeremiah and God for the new year. Lets' look together..
I. Jeremiah's cry of Complaint (v.1-4)
Jeremiah's complaint is summed up at the end of the first verse “why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease?” it is the same complaint that Asaph has in psalm 73:3 - “For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”
Jeremiah was consumed with grief. While He was lonely, discouraged, and maligned, the wicked men of his home town of Anathoth (A city between Bethel and Bethlehem) were getting rich and taking it easy. It troubled Jeremiah greatly to see such evil men prosper. He complained in verse 2 that they take root in the ground and bear fruit. Unlike many seeds that take root but then shortly die, these wicked ones take root, then grow larger and larger and even produce fruit! Their families grow, their work seems to be blessed, they live life high on the hog, and are spending money as fast as they make it. And all seems to go well with them. And to make it worse, they are hypocrites who honor God with their lips but their hearts are far from him. Paul warns Timothy to stay away from such people in 2 Tim 3:5 - “having a form of godliness but denying it's power. Have nothing to do with them.” Jeremiah is tired of it! He pleads, He prays, and He preaches and for what? No one cares, No one listens, no one heeds his warnings, no one obeys his calls to repentance, So notice what he asks in verse three...He pleads with God to slaughter them. (v.3)
Ill. Phillip Parham tells a story about a rich industrialist who was disturbed to find a Fisherman sitting lazily beside his boat, “Why aren't you fishing?” he asked. “Because I caught enough fish for today”, said the fisherman. “Why don't you catch more fish than you need?” the rich man asked. The fisherman said, “What would I do with them?” “You could earn more money”, came the impatient reply “and buy a better boat so that you could go deeper and catch more fish, you could purchase nylon nets so that you could catch even more fish, and soon you would have a fleet of boats and be rich like me”. The Fisherman said, “Then what would I do?” You could sit down and enjoy life,” said the industrialist. As the Fisherman looked calmly and placidly out at the Sea, he humbly turned to the rich industrialist and replied, “what do you think I am doing now?”
Envying the prosperity of the wicked is an easy trap to fall into, as we see in psalm 73, and through the apostle Paul- contentment is an easy cure. But it is understandable, after all -Today we have wicked men that gain in prestige, prominence, power, and prosperity. They grow wealthier and wealthier...they just bought their fifth house while you are struggling to keep the house you have. They have a collection of cars while you are trying to figure out some way to fix the one you have so you can get to your second job to make the money to pay for the broken car that your two months late paying for. It's frustrating.