Summary: Why did God tell Jeremiah to "call upon" Him? And just how do I "call upon the name of the Lord?"
OPEN: Last year, when Jim Carrey starred in his movie “Bruce Almighty” the writers of the script gave God a phone number that Carrey could dial to talk with the Almighty. But instead of using the 555 prefix that movie makers and TV shows generally give phone numbers – they gave God a 776 prefix.
People who saw the movie wrote the number down and started dialing it. One lady in St. Petersburg, FL received 20 calls an hour from people who wanted to talk to God.
ILLUS: In one small church, the minister called the children to come down front every Sunday and then he’d tell them a story. Once he brought a telephone to better illustrate the idea of prayer.
“You talk to people on the telephone and don’t see them on the other end of the line, right?” he began.
The children nodded yes.
“Well, talking to God is like talking on the telephone. He’s on the other end, but you can’t see him. He’s listening, though.”
Just then a little boy piped up and asked, “What’s his number?”
What is God’s phone number?
How can I be sure I’m connecting up with God…
I mean - here in Jeremiah 33 God is reassuring Jeremiah that if Jeremiah will call upon Him, God will tell Jeremiah great and unsearchable things.
I. Now, I find it intriguing that Jeremiah should be advised by God to call upon Him. I mean, after all, Jeremiah is a prophet of God. “Calling on God” should be something he does on a regular basis.
It occurred to me that something must have happened in Jeremiah’s life that had sapped the energy out of his faith. But what could it be?
Look at Jeremiah 33 Verse 1 “While Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard, the word of the LORD came to him a second time.”
(Ask the audience) Where was Jeremiah? Jeremiah is in jail! And he’s been there for a while. This verse tell us that this was the 2nd time God has talked to Jeremiah since he’d been there.
(Some background) What’s happened is this:
God gave Jeremiah a message to declare to Jerusalem: “Babylon will come down from the north and destroy the city… and unless you’re will to repent… there’s not a blessed thing you can do to stop it.”
Zedekiah, the King in Jerusalem didn’t like that message. And he didn’t want to repent.
So - what do you do when you don’t like the message? You shoot the messenger.
Well, Zedekiah didn’t actually shoot Jeremiah, but he did throw Jeremiah in prison.
Now here’s Jeremiah locked up for doing God’s will.
And there’s something not quite right about that! This shouldn’t be happening! When I obey God everything supposed to turn out ok, isn’t it?
Well… apparently not. In fact Jesus told us: "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets (guys like Jeremiah) who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12
OK. I can accept that. But (really now) it doesn’t make it any easier does it?
It doesn’t make it any easier when I suddenly discover that life isn’t fair
It doesn’t make it any easier when I find that I can be
* a nice guy
* and a good Christian
* that I go to church every Sunday
* and do good things for people
And then to have nothing work out the way I think it should. That’s just not right.
Now consider Jeremiah’s situation. He’s obeyed God and yet:
People have mistreated him, insulted him, and thrown him into prison.
He’s not sure about what his future holds.
He’s not even sure he’s ever going to get out of prison.
It’s little wonder his faith might be at a low ebb.
II. It’s in the midst of this dark moment in his life that Jeremiah is told “call on God.” Apparently, even religious people need to be reminded to do that.
When David was experiencing difficult times he deliberately reminded himself to do just that.
In Psalm 4:1-3 David wrote: “Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer. How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods? Know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD will hear when I call to him.”