Summary: Where was God, when the terrorists attacked on September 11th 2001?
‘GOD’S PERSPECTIVE ON OUR NATIONAL TRAGEDY’
Preached on September 16th 2001
Text: Jeremiah 18:1-12
Intro: The terrorist attack on our country this past Tuesday has had a profound effect upon our nation. We were shocked when we saw the pictures of that commercial airliner crashing into the Towers of the World Trade Center—it was like watching a Hollywood movie with all the special effects. Our shock turned into a kind of numbness—how could something like this happen to us? Many times, this past week, we have had to hold back our emotions of sadness and restrain our feelings of anger and outrage—we want justice to be done; we want to see those terrorists and the groups or nations that supported them, pay for what they did.
But on the other end of the spectrum of emotion, I think that many of us have felt a renewed sense of patriotism as Americans—especially after seeing the firemen, policemen, and emergency aid workers digging through the rubble desperately looking for survivors. We are particularly happy to see our congressional leaders (conservatives, moderates and liberals) working together—even singing together…God Bless America!
WHERE, DO YOU SUPPOSE, THAT GOD HAS BEEN THIS WEEK? What was He doing on Tuesday when all this happened? Do you think that God was taken by surprise like we were…? Didn’t God know that this horrible tragedy was going to occur, and if He knew, why didn’t He do something to stop it? Could it be, that God was like one of us—a helpless onlooker, unable to do anything? Perhaps, God didn’t realize how this horrible act of violence could ruin our economy?
Well, we can be certain that God knew—because He knows all things! (Is 46:9-10> ‘…For I AM GOD, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ’My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’—The biblical reality, is that there are far greater issues involved here, than our national pride and economy.
This morning, I would like for us to try to see this horrible tragedy from a totally different perspective than what you may have seen or heard on television. I would like for us to see Our National Tragedy from God’s Perspective.
Read; Jeremiah 18:1-11
In this passage, we have what might be called a divine Show and Tell… Some of us remember that when we were in elementary school, the teacher would give us an opportunity (maybe once-a-week), to bring something interesting or unusual from home to show our classmates (an Indian arrowhead, a pet hamster, a shark’s tooth…). This was called, Show and Tell…
In this passage, God SHOWS Jeremiah a very important and profound truth; and after showing him this truth (or object lesson)—God TELLS Jeremiah the meaning of what he has seen, so that the prophet might be able to tell others.
So we have two things here;
1. THE TRUTH OF GOD—SHOWN – v.1-4
2. THE TRUTH OF GOD—KNOWN – v.5-11
I. GOD SHOWS JEREMIAH THE TRUTH - verse 1, tells us that ‘the Word of the Lord came to Jeremiah…’ Now, we need to remember, that Jeremiah was a very unique individual—He was a prophet of God. And God, by His Spirit spoke directly to His prophets.
God still speaks to people today—but not directly like He did to Jeremiah. The reason is simple—in our day we have the complete revelation of God’s Word and the full manifestation of His Spirit. So God speaks to us from His written Word, by His Spirit—but only to those who have spiritual ears and a receptive heart.
There is actually another way that God, by His Spirit speaks to us. It is a way that is much more indistinct than the written Word, but not any less real.—God speaks to us through His works of creation and providence.
(1) GOD SPEAKS THROUGH HIS CREATION – (Ps 19:1> ‘The HEAVENS DECLARE the glory of God…’ (Job 37:2-5> ‘HEAR ATTENTIVELY THE THUNDER OF HIS VOICE, And the rumbling that comes from His mouth… God thunders marvelously with His voice; He does great things which we cannot comprehend.’
(2) GOD SPEAKS BY THE VOICE OF HIS PROVIDENCE – God caused a swarm of locusts to devour every living green thing in the land of Judah during the reign of Joash and the prophet Joel records (2:11> ‘The Lord gives voice before His army… (3:16> ‘The Lord also will roar from Zion and utter His voice from Jerusalem…’
Matthew Henry - ‘When God’s judgments are abroad they make a great noise; and it is necessary for the awakening of a secure and stupid world that they do so.’ – Commentary (vol. 4, p.1209)