Summary: This sermon shares principles in how to live "until" our situation improves. In teaches us to be obedient where we find ourselves.
Have you ever made this statement: I cannot wait until…..? Here are some of the possibilities of how we might finish the sentence.
• I cannot wait until I am in a better job.
• I cannot wait until school is out.
• I cannot wait until I am finished with school.
• I cannot wait until I feel better.
• I cannot wait until I am out of debt.
• I cannot wait until I can get on top of my
• I cannot wait until things get better at our
What does God want us to do when we find ourselves in one of those “until then” situations? We find one of these situations in Jeremiah 29. Look at verse 1. “This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon"(NIV). These people were wondering, what do we do until this exile is over? God gave them an answer. These principles still apply to us today. Notice the four principles!
1. Until then, get God’s perspective on your situation. Notice verse 4 “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon”. (NIV) Who carried the Israelite people into captivity? It was God! God put them in Babylon for a reason. This is a difficult truth to accept. God may have allowed you to be where you are today. This is one of the difficult aspects of believing in the sovereignty of God. The sovereignty of God means that God knows, allows or sends (even) the trials into our lives. Therefore, it is imperative that we get God’s perspective on our situation.
Illustration: In the book of Genesis we meet a character by the name of Joseph. Joseph was the 11th. child of Jacob. When he was a young man he had a dream that his brothers would someday be subservient to him. He had no more sense than to share his dream with his brothers. Needless to say, they were not thrilled with his dream. They were already jealous of him because he was the favorite son of their father. In their anger they kidnapped him and threw him into a deep pit while they pondered what they should do. During that time a group of slave traders happened by. One of the brothers suggested that they sell their younger brother as a slave to these traders. They decided to profit from their problem. They sold their younger brother to the slave traders. Joseph spent a number of years living as a slave in a foreign land. He prospered himself and gained authority in Egypt. Joseph became the king’s right hand man. Over the course of time a famine struck the Israelite people and Joseph’s brothers go to Egypt seeking food. Guess who they stand before, asking for food? You guessed it. They must get permission from Joseph, their younger brother. At this point Joseph had grown up and they did not recognize their brother. When he identifies himself to them, they are struck with fear. They were concerned for their safety. They were thinking Joseph would repay their actions with vengeance. In that crisis moment Joseph shares an important perspective of his situation. He says “do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.” (Gen. 45:6; NIV) Joseph saw God’s hand, even in his adversity. Joseph saw God’s perspective.
Perspective is always important. A right perspective can ease our pain.
Illustration: It’s something like what Coach John McKay of USC said to his team after they had been humiliated 51-0 by Notre Dame. McKay came into the locker room and saw a group of beaten worn-out and thoroughly depressed young football players who were not accustomed to losing. He stood up on a bench and said, "Men, let’s keep this in perspective. There are 800 million Chinese who don’t even know this game was played." That’s what you call perspective.
(SOURCE: Steve Farrar, "Family Survival in the American Jungle," 1991, Multnomah Press, p. 40.)
Illustration: The death of Jesus on the cross is another example of divine perspective. His death seemed so useless. His death seemed so pointless. To his first followers his death seemed to be a defeat. But, from God’s perspective his death offered hope to mankind. From God’s perspective his death offered eternal life.
2. Until then, get productive where you are. Sometimes we blame our situation for our lack of service to God. It is easy to make excuses.