November 1, 2013

Jeremiah 32:27 “I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?”

I love this interaction between Jeremiah and the Lord. Jeremiah has been obedient to the Lord, but in verse 25 he essentially says, “Are you kidding me?” He starts his prayer in verse 17, repeating various formulaic truths about God that had become so familiar as to become platitudes, before building to verse 25. Then the Lord comes back at Jeremiah with the very truth with which the prayer started. He is asking Jeremiah, “Do you believe what you have just said?” The longer we are in church, so to speak, the more easily we can say the standard things, but the question is always whether we really believe them to act on them. That was the problem with Job’s friends: they repeated platitudes whether they applied or not, and ended up misrepresenting God in the process. It’s not whether the platitudes are true on the face of it, it’s whether we have genuinely internalized the truths expressed, to live them out.

This has been a major issue all my life. I learned the essential truths of Christian faith very early, and my life since then has been a succession of experiences to teach me how true those really are. God hasn’t been mean to me, I’ve just been dense! Living out the truth we speak is a problem for every minister of the Gospel, as it is for every Christian. Of course, James’ statement, that failing to live out the Word is deceiving ourselves, is justly famous. (James 1:22) One thing that stands out to me about the Jeremiah passage is that Jeremiah was able to have this very personal conversation with God because he had been obedient. What God had told him to do made no sense at all to his intellect, but he was obedient anyway. That’s the attitude I need to have. I tell people regularly that when we seek guidance from God, we need to be committed to obey that guidance before we know what it is, or we aren’t so likely to hear correctly. I need to live out the truth I already know, with an obedient heart. Then I can rest assured that God will guide me in each thing I don’t yet know, for His glory.

Father, thank You for this very clear Word. Thank You for Your patience with me as I have been so slow to really learn it. As I share it with others, help me do so with gentleness and respect, never talking down to anyone. Those around me are facing some major decisions right now. Help me be quiet unless You tell me to speak, but be available for whatever You want to say through me, so that Your truth may be lived out in practical terms, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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