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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