Serving an Omnipotent God; January 1, 2018

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

The Bible has several examples of people praying God’s words back to Him, and that is an excellent practice. However, there aren’t many where God quotes people’s words back to them, as here. In verse 17 Jeremiah has just prayed this same content to God, because he knows it in theory but still, what he has just done at God’s direction, buying land when the nation was overrun by the Babylonians, seemed the height of absurdity. That’s when God quotes Jeremiah back to himself. He’s basically saying, “You know the words, but do you really understand what you are saying?” He goes on to explain to Jeremiah why the nation is in the fix it is in, but then from verse 37 on through the next chapter He gives Jeremiah wonderful promises of restoration and blessing. We are so quick to forget that God always knows the end from the beginning, and from our perspective there’s always more to the story. That’s where faith and trust come in. God had Jeremiah buy land he couldn’t get to because it was occupied by Babylonian troops precisely to declare that the destruction of Jerusalem at that time wasn’t the end of the story. Frankly, it wasn’t that Jeremiah would ever need the land or even use it. To Jeremiah, the purchase probably seemed like a huge waste of silver, but God is never at a loss for finances, and physical things are simply His tools to teach us what we need to know.

This couldn’t be more applicable to us right now. We have just completed the purchase of a building plot next to the church, ostensibly for parking, when current attendance doesn’t fill the parking lot we have. Some people were so against the purchase they left the church. That’s painful, but the loss is more theirs than ours, however depleted we might seem at this point. The thing is, God is telling us that He’s not through with us, and His plans for us are bigger than we can currently imagine. Just like Jeremiah, we have made a land purchase that doesn’t necessarily make sense from a strictly human perspective, but God said to do it, and we did, at personal cost on various levels to us. In last night’s service the Lord gave me an idea of something He wants us to do to reach out and get a fresh beginning with fresh people, and I was infused with faith and anticipation. As the pastor, I am charged with communicating that faith and anticipation to all who are still in the church, so that I won’t be charging off on my own but will be leading the flock, enabling them to receive the vision as their own and rejoice to participate. As I have learned in the past year, I can’t just preach at them, or even just model the desired behavior and attitudes myself, I’ve got to coach them gently until they grasp God’s truth for themselves and understand how it applies to them.

Father, thank You indeed for all that You are doing. Last night was one of the best watch-night services I can remember, not so much for what we did as for Your presence in it. Help me follow through indeed, taking active steps not only to do what You indicated but to explain it all first to the believers, getting their agreement and participation from the ground up. I pray that this year would be one of continued growth, not just for the church in numbers but for me as a pastor and for us all as disciples, so that all of Your purposes for us, individually and as a church, may be fulfilled on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

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