September 8, 2016

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

I have always loved God’s gentle humor here. He is literally quoting Jeremiah back to him, from the beginning of Jeremiah’s prayer in verse 17. This story illustrates the reality that even God’s most faithful servants don’t always operate in all the truth they know. All of us get tied in knots over one thing and another, when if we exercised perfect faith we would be at peace all the time. The good news is, God is just as patient with us as He was with Jeremiah. Like Jesus with His disciples, sometimes He chides us for our failing to use the faith He has provided, but that is never harsh. When Jesus pulled Peter out of the lake and said, “You of little faith, why did you doubt,” (Matthew 14:31) He was probably actually very pleased that Peter had exercised enough faith to get out of the boat. God never asks of us more than He has provided. (Luke 12:48) We are responsible for our stewardship of what He has given us, however much or little that might be. Almost always, He has given us more than we realize, but we won’t discover that until we step out in obedience. Jeremiah is again a good example here. He was obedient to buy land for a considerable sum of money, even though his senses and his intellect told him that the Babylonians owned everything by conquest and contracts between Jews were meaningless. Likewise we need to be obedient to the Lord regardless of what the devil and the world say or do. Yesterday I watched the trailer of a movie that is just coming out telling the true story of America’s only unarmed medal of honor winner, a medic who saved 75 lives in Okinawa in WWII, having gone through terrible hardship for the right not to carry a weapon. His motivation was his Christian faith, believing that he was doing what God was calling him to do, and God came through remarkably.

I am constantly faced with the challenge of living out all that I know of God and His word. James 1:22 is engraved in my brain and heart, because I know I am called to do the Word, not just hear, read, or even teach it. A special temptation for pastors is to think that because they are teaching the truth they are practicing it. Sadly, there is no end to the parade of fallen leaders who show that is not the case. Again it was James who said, “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” (James 3:1) I have a risky job! If I rely on myself, I will certainly fall flat, but if I am fully and properly dependent on God, He will do it all through me, and do it well. As Paul said, our competence comes from God, not from ourselves. (2 Corinthians 3:5-6)

Father, the past few days You have done a number of things beautifully through me. Thank You. Every day presents fresh challenges. Help me never presume on You, much less on the gifts You have given me, but walk in constant assurance of my complete dependence on You, resting, relaxing, and rejoicing, just as You have told me to do, 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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