Summary: Second sermon in series, "Reality Prayer - How to Ask So God Will Answer".
About forty miles from our church here in Huntsville, Alabama is a business in Scottsboro, Alabama called "Unclaimed Baggage". The business sells items that were left unclaimed at airlines and can be purchased at a fraction of the original cost. They have everything from expensive watches and cameras to clothing and sports equipment - you name it. According to the store’s web site, "Over one million items pass through the store annually." It runs into the millions of dollars worth of items every year! Amazing!
What’s even more amazing are the unclaimed blessings we leave with God.
Here in Jeremiah 33 we find a familiar and spectacular promise from God: "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know."
Here is a promise born out of difficult circumstances. Interestingly, most of God’s promises were revealed in times of struggle. God is like a jeweler. Ever notice how a jeweler will take a fine diamond and display it on black velvet? There it catches fire from the lights of the room, its beauty multiplied, and its value becomes more apparent.
Jeremiah was in prison when he received this promise from God. Jerusalem was under siege from the enemy. Things weren’t looking so good.
Have you ever looked around at your circumstances and concluded things weren’t looking so good? Consider a couple of stories from the "Think you’re having a bad day" file:
One woman came home to find her husband in the kitchen, shaking frantically with what looked like a wire running from his waist toward the electric kettle. Intending to jolt him away from the deadly current she whacked him with a handy plank of wood by the back door, breaking his arm in two places. Until that moment he had been happily listening to his Walkman.
Iraqi terrorist, Khay Rahnajet, didn’t pay enough postage on a letter bomb. It came back with "return to sender" stamped on it. Forgetting it was a bomb; he opened it up and it blew him to bits.
Truth be told Jeremiah was in prison because he had faithfully passed God’s message on to the king that the enemy was going to succeed and the city of Jerusalem was going to fall. The king didn’t like that kind of negative preaching so he had Jeremiah arrested and placed under guard.
Isn’t it ironic how we stifle the bearer of bad news? Doesn’t matter if his message is true - doesn’t matter if its something we need to know - doesn’t matter that its often the acceptance of the bad news that can usher us to the good news - we shoot the messenger.
It was while under arrest that Jeremiah received the great promise of restoration for the people of God and the city of Jerusalem. The city of God would fall - but one day in the future - after the people had repented of their idolatry - a rebuilt city would rise from the ashes and God’s blessing would be on it! God would forgive the sin of His people and bless them with peace and prosperity!
God’s dealings with His people over 2,500 years ago set a precedent for today.
PRAYER BECOMES A PORTAL TO THE PROMISES OF GOD!
"Call unto me and I will answer." Not only did God say He would answer when Jeremiah called, but He said He would also show him some great things he didn’t know.
It’s exciting to learn new things. Deb and I are talking about learning Spanish since our oldest daughter and her husband are going to Spain as missionaries. We want to be ready to communicate with our grandkids after they come into this world and learn to talk.
Our youngest daughter told us last weekend that she might move to China after college for missions work. If she thinks I’m gonna try to learn Chinese she can forget about it!
"Call unto me and I will answer you and show you things you don’t know."
The scientist in his laboratory is looking for new discoveries. The inventor is looking for new inventions. We’ve recently been reminded by the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy that the astronaut is willing to take great risks in order to learn more about outer space.
All of these discoveries are exciting. But to discover what God knows has got to be the most fascinating discovery of all!
Would you like for God to show you things you don’t know? Would you like for Him to help you understand your relationships better? Would you like for Him to help you understand your finances better? Would you like for Him to let you in on spiritual secrets that even the gurus, the shamans, and the other supposed "enlightened ones" don’t even know?