Summary: This sermon deals with the faith and faithful life of the prophet, Jeremiah who warned the kingdom of Judah what their wayward actions were about to bring upon the nation. There are 3 lessons about faith from Jeremiah's example.
Jeremiah; Hebrews 11
We’re in the middle of a series called “The Story,” where we’re going through some stories in the Old Testament in about 20 weeks. We started with Creation, then Abraham, to Moses, through the Judges and the two greatest Kings, David and Solomon. We’ve talked about the divided Kingdom, some of the prophets. At this point, the Northern Tribes of Israel have been conquered by Assyria. Only the Southern tribes of Judah remain.
We can cover these stories in just a few weeks, but thousands of years went by! 500 years went by between Abraham and Moses. Another 500 years went by between Moses and Solomon. In the next 500 years both Israel Judah will be conquered and finally allowed to return and rebuild Jerusalem.
Throughout all these stories, there’s a common thread. The Old Testament is a story of God accomplishing His purposes through people of FAITH. Hebrews 11 walks through a long list of Old Testament characters, showing how God was able to have a relationship with every one of them… not because of their worthiness or perfection … but solely because of their FAITH. Hebrews 11:39 says, These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.
That is certainly true for the Prophets who lived during the time of the divided Kingdom. It’s true for those who lived through the years when Israel was conquered by Assyria … and over a hundred years later when Jerusalem was destroyed and the remaining tribes of Judah was taken captive by Babylon.
But even in those dark days, God sent His prophets to give His Word to His people …. Prophets like Jeremiah. Jeremiah is often called “the weeping prophet” because his message was tragic from beginning to end. The book of Jeremiah … and the poetic book of Lamentations that follows it … both tell the terrible story of how God was forced to turn His back on His people because they had turned away from God.
Hebrews 11:6 explains, Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
This is the kind of faith Jeremiah had … faith that God exists, and faith that God rewards those who earnestly seek him. Jeremiah had this faith even though he saw nothing but tragedy and suffering during his life time. We can learn a lot from this “weeping prophet” about the nature of saving FAITH. For one thing, Jeremiah shows us that …
1. Faith can last a lifetime
Jeremiah 1:4: The word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart … Those are powerful words! Do you have any doubt about how God views a pre-born baby? Is there really any question about “when life begins” according to the Creator of life?
You may have heard about a case against an abortion doctor in Philadelphia recently … you may not have heard about it since it’s not getting a lot of news coverage. Among other charges, the doctor at this abortion clinic is accused of killing viable babies AFTER then have been born. That is murder in anyone’s book. It’s unspeakably horrible.
But think of this question: In God’s eyes, would it have been okay if the doctor had killed the baby BEFORE it left the mother’s body? That question is the reason pro-abortion people want to ignore this court case.
FAITH in God means we believe in the value HE puts on human life … on ALL human life … from the beginning of life through the final days. The pre-born child to the elderly patient in the hospital bed. Every person has value to God and every life has value to those who believe in God.
Jeremiah was very young --- maybe an adolescent --- when God called him to be a Prophet. Here’s the conversation young Jeremiah had with God:
“Alas, Sovereign Lord, I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”
But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 1:5-8
Jeremiah believed that God would keep this promise. And He became one of the boldest Prophets in the Bible. Don’t discount the faith of young people. I look around at the children and teens in our church, and I SEE God using them! I love it on those Sundays when our children participate in the service, helping to lead worship and serve communion … because these children are already loving and serving God in a way that builds the church.