Knowing God prepared by Rev. E. Anderson

                                         

                                       Rev. E. Anderson

KNOWING GOD THROUGH VARIED MEANS

 

Reading   Jeremiah 1

 

Introduction

 

A GREAT PROPHET: Without question, Jeremiah can be grouped with the outstanding prophets of Old Testament times. Reading and studying his life’s work and ministry one is left with the knowledge that he fulfilled a major role for God and Israel. He was important and relevant to the Chosen race and even beyond to the Gentile nations.

 

DIFFICULT PERIOD: He existed at a difficult period, when God’s people were on a spiritual and moral decline and the Lord sought to use him to speak into the life of the nation to save it from judgment and ruin. The downward trend of the monarchs and people needed to be halted and the prophet endeavoured to do an heroic task of stopping the slide and to bring a halt to the wicked conduct that was offending God, and, if persisted in would be bring inevitable disaster. Already judgment had been experienced by the northern part but there was a prevailing relentlessness to go their own way. Jeremiah is oft called ‘the weeping prophet’ because it was with many tears he spoke to the people. He felt somewhat aggrieved with the Lord because of his personal pathway as can be seen from Lamentations 3: 1-20, but then realises the mercy and loving kindness of the Lord – see v22.

 

FAITHFUL QUALITY: He became renowned for his personal faithfulness through a long career of being God’s spokesman. It would have been an easy matter to have quit the role and done his own thing. However, the Lord’s hand was on him and he sensed he could not fail Him or miss out on his vital destiny. The leaders and people may be faithless but he would be faithful.

Viewing him and his life work it is possible to trace how he came to know the Lord initially and how that knowledge grew and sustained him in life and ministry.

 

1/.  HE CAME TO KNOW THE LORD THROUGH A PARTICULAR CALL

 

       In a personal and powerful manner the Lord broke through to him and communicated with him His word – chapter one. In no uncertain certain terms he was made aware of the fact that the Lord knew him long before he came forth from the womb –v5. It indicates that the Lord had always His eye and mind on him thus underlining his worth and purpose to Him. He had been set apart to fulfill a great job for God in the office of a prophet, a special messenger of Jehovah. Jeremiah was to know and embrace it and as he did so, there would come an increased relationship with Him and an understanding of Him and His ways.

 

2/.  HE CAME TO KNOW THE LORD THROUGH A SERIES OF REVELATIONS

 

        As his life, work and ministry unfolds there are dramatic disclosures given with regard to how things were proceeding with respect to his people. They were not to be left in the dark as to the events that were going to occur. He pleads vehemently the cause of Jehovah, revealing His goodness and commitment in seeking to make them as a great nation He could be proud of and which would secure their well-being and future. He underlines that even at this late hour, if they will repent He will deal with kindly with them – 4: 1-4. But there was an obstinacy and rebelliousness in them and the Lord’s patience is exhausted and comes to the point when the Lord reveals to him: “Though Moses and Samuel stood before Me, yet my mind could not be toward this people: cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth” – 15:1. He lets Zedekiah know from the Lord that the help of the Egyptians are a vanity and the people will go into exile to Babylon – 37. He gives revelation of the length of captivity and their re-emergence as a nation and promise of a greater covenant that will extend beyond Israel – 25: 11, 12; 29: 10-14; 31:31-36; 32: 40. The promise vouchsafed by divine revelation is that countless numbers will come to know the Lord – see Hebrews 8: 6-13. The knowledge of the Lord and His new covenant is now revealed and operative.

 

3/. HE CAME TO KNOW THE LORD THROUGH HIS PROVIDENTIAL CARE

 

      His life would be in jeopardy because there were those who were not very keen on him and wanted him out of the way. He would be thrust into conditions were it looked as if he was doomed – 38: 13. There did come at one point a unique disclosure of the greatness of his God – 32: 17-23 and he was to have a personal reply from the Lord on the issue – v27. He was to discover that though he would be placed in vulnerable circumstances, the Lord would attend to the security of his servant. Jeremiah would know that the Lord had placed a preservation order upon him at the outset – “And they shall fight against you; but they shall not prevail against you; for I am with you to deliver you” – 1: 18, 19.

 

4/. HE CAME TO KNOW THE LORD THAT OTHERS, TOO, SHOULD COME TO KNOW THE LORD THROUGH HIM

 

There may be well be many who have considered his ministry a failure, but it needs to be understood, there were people who were thankful for the voice and light that the prophet brought – see Baruch, Ebed-melech -32: 16; 36: 4-8; 38:7-9. Daniel also believed in him and later looked up his prophecy – Daniel 9: 2. He was one that went into captivity to Babylon and may have been inspired by Jeremiah’s example.

 

5/. HE CAME TO KNOW THE LORD SO THAT THE NATION WOULD BE ASSURED OF ITS FUTURE

 

       Although his ministry may have not been fully appreciated by the majority at the time, history assures that he performed an invaluable service to God and his chosen household. His life’s work is preserved in the sacred Volume, the Bible. It became apparent that he was the genuine mouthpiece of God both to Israel’s destruction and restoration, therefore the ultimate prophecies respecting its final prospects are yet to be realised. Not only was he aware of them and lived in the conviction of their realisation that knowledge of the Lord and His purposes is passed on as a lasting legacy to subsequent generations.

 

CONCLUSION

 

By the immense ministry of the prophet through the word of the Lord, it is possible for us to come to know the Lord, and like him, discover Him and His plans in a greater way for our lives. The promise made by the Lord is worth of note and faith to all: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you . . .  thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” – 29: 11.

                                              

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Great Stories assembled by Rev. E. Anderson

                                        

                                    Rev. E. Anderson

BIG ED

 

When I arrived in the city to present a seminar on Tough Minded Management, a small group of people took me to dinner to brief me on the people would talk to the next day.

 

 The obvious leader of the group was Big Ed, a burly man with a deep rumbling voice. At dinner he informed me that he was a trouble-shooter for a large international organisation His job was to go into certain divisions or subsidiaries to terminate the employment of the executive in charge.

 

‘Joe,’ he said, ‘I’m really looking forward to tomorrow because all of the guys need to listen to a tough guy like you. They’re gonna find out that my style is the right one.’ He grinned and winked.

 

I smiled. I knew the next day was going to be different what he was anticipating.

 

The next day he sat impassively all through the seminar and left at the end without saying anything to me.

 

Three years later I returned to that city to present another management seminar to approximately the group. Big Ed was there again. At about ten o’clock he suddenly stood up and asked loudly, “Joe, can I say something to these people?”

 

I grinned and said, ‘Sure.  When anybody is as big as you are, Ed, he can say anything he wants.’

 

Big Ed went on to say, ‘All of you guys know me and some of you know what’s happened to me I want-to share it, however, with all of you. Joe, I think you’ll appreciate it by the time I’ve finished.

 

‘When I heard you suggest that each of us, in order to become really tough-minded, needed to learn to tell those closest to us that we really loved them, I thought it was a bunch of sentimental garbage. I wondered what in the world that had to do with being tough. You had said toughness is like leather, and hardness is like granite, that the tough mind is open, resilient, disciplined and tena­cious. But I couldn’t see what love had to do with it.

 

‘That night, as I sat across the living room from my wife, your words were still bugging me. What kind of courage would it take to tell my wife I loved her? Couldn’t any­body do it? You had also said this should be in the day-light and not in the bedroom. I found myself clearing my throat and staring and then stopping. My wife looked up and asked me what I had said, and I answered, ‘Oh noth­ing.’ Then suddenly, I got up, walked across the room, ner­vously pushed her newspaper aside and said, ‘Alice, I love you.’ For a minute she looked startled. Then the tears came to her eyes and she said softly, ‘Ed, I love you, too, but this is the first time in 25 years you’ve said it like that.’

 

‘We talked a while about how love, if there’s enough of it, can dissolve all kinds of tensions, and suddenly I decided on the spur of the moment to call my oldest son in New York. We have never really communicated well. When I got him on the phone, I blurted out, ‘Son, you’re liable to think I’m drunk but I’m not. I just thought I’d call you and tell you I love you.’

 

‘There was a pause at his end and then I heard him say quietly, Dad, I guess I’ve known that, but it’s sure good to hear. I sure want you to know I love you, too.” We had a good chat and then I called my youngest son in San Francisco. We had been closer. I told him the same thing and this, too, led to a real fine talk like we’d never really had.

 

 

‘As l lay in bed that night thinking, I realized that ll the things you’d talked about that day-real management – nuts and bolts – took on extra meaning, and I could get a handle on how to apply them if really understood and practiced tough-minded love.

 

“I began to read books on the subject. Sure enough, Joe, a lot of great people had a lot to say, and l began to real­ise the enormous practicality of applied love in my life, both at home and at work.

“As some of you guys here know, I really changed the way I work with people. I began to listen more and to really hear. I learned what it was like to try to get to know people’s strengths rather than dwelling on their weak­nesses. I began to discover the real pleasure of helping build their confidence Maybe the most important thing of all was that I really began to understand that an excellent way to show love and respect for people was to expect them to use their strengths to meet objectives we had worked out together.

 

“Joe, this is my way of saying thanks. Incidentally, talk about practical! I’m now executive vice-president of the company and they call me a pivotal leader. Okay, you guys.

 

                                             

Points to Ponder arranged by Rev. E. Anderson

                                          

                                        Rev. E. Anderson

HOLINESS

 

Something to ponder ON !

 

HOLINESS DID NOT CONSIST in mystic speculations, enthusiastic fervors, or uncommanded austerities; it consists in thinking as God thinks and willing as God wills.

John Brown, Expository Discourses on 1 Peter

 

IN OUR KIND OF CULTURE anything, even news about God, can be sold if it is packaged freshly; but when it loses its novelty, it goes on the garbage heap. There is a great market for religious experience in our world; there is little enthusiasm for the patient acquisition of virtue, little inclination to sign up for a long apprenticeship in what earlier generations of Christians called holiness.

Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

 

 

HOLINESS SOUNDS SCARY. It need not be, but to the average American it is. Our tendency is to say that holiness is something for the cloistered halls of a monastery. It needs organ music, long prayers, and religious-sounding chants. It hardly seems appropriate for those in the real world of the twentieth century. Author John White seems to agree with that as he wrote in The Fight the images that came to his mind when he thought about holiness:

 

Resolved, never to do anything which I would be afraid to do if were the last hour of my life

Jonathan Edwards

 now listen to this guy!”

 

Joe Batten