Jeremiah ďExaltation of the LordĒ
My dear brothers and sisters. I would like to begin by telling you how happy I am to be back and having fellowship with the ones I love. The Lord has blessed me with not only wonderful fellowship but also this opportunity to speak to everyone and share some of my thoughts that are uplifting to me. When I am traveling I usually have to travel light and the only spiritual things I have with me are my Bible and a few pamphlets in Spanish to pass out to those who are interested. At these times I do not have to worry about work or what I have planned for the next day. It is also at times like these that I feel inspired to write down the things that I see in Godís great creation and about things I have read in the Bible. This time I was wanting more to read than just the daily readings and so I turned to the book of Jeremiah and started reading. It was then I decided that I would try to find enough to write an exhortation about Jeremiah and his life. It is no doubt that Jeremiah is the author of this book and it was probably handed down in written for by his scribe Baruch which wrote it out by hand at least two times that we know of. He was a priest and was raised in a Levitcal tribe and learned a high regard for the law of the Lord from an early age and knew the importance of the temple and the priesthood. Certainly he must had been a righteous man to be chosen for such a duty. Jeremiah was a deeply spiritual man at a time when even most of the priests were corrupt and taught this corruption to the people.
So I started to read and as I read the first chapter I could not imagine what it would be like to be chosen as Godís personal spokesman and to hear it first directly from God himself, but here then was my first lesson. Here I am today, chosen by God to tell people of his wonderful Son Jesus Christ and the great plan of salvation that God has for us if we only listen and believe in it and obey. The only difference was that I didnít get it first hand from God. Yes, I got it second hand, but I have great confidence in my source.
It is a great honor that I have of being called out into the family of Christ and with the same spirit of Jeremiah; I donít feel that I am worthy of such a task either. But who am I to do anything different with my life. It is our duty to do what we are able in furthering the truth. I imagine that even Moses and Jonah felt a little inadequate at first when they started their lives in service to God, but it amazing that when you get started that things just seem to happen for the best.
We begin in Chapter 1 with verses 5 thru 10.
5. Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
6. Then said I, Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.
7. But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.
8. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord.
9. Then the Lord put forth his hand, And touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.
10. See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.
When I read these verses of what God had in store Jeremiah, I cannot help but think of our Savior Jesus Christ and the mission that he had to accomplish. Is our mission so much different? If we are trying to tell someone about the Truth, are we going to be rejected? If we persevere in our work for the Lord, will not the Lord put the right words in our mouths when we need him the most? And will we not be priests and rulers in the kingdom if we run the race to the end? I think the answer to all these questions are a resounding yes and these thoughts are certainly very comforting in the days that we now live.
Unfortunately not many believed Jeremiah as they did with Jesus. To the people they were prophets of doom but if they would have listened to them they really had a message of hope. Of a time when there would be no more famines or disease or pestilence. but they could not see the forest because of the trees. Jeremiah and Jesus suffered many things and what made it so bad was that it was at the hand of their own people whom they loved so much. They came with a chance of forgiveness if only the people would listen and most importantly believe what they heard.
Verses 17 thru 19
17. Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them.
18. For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brazen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land.
19. And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee.
What hope we have, if the Lord is with us, who can be against us?
How many chances was God going to give them until he had to chastise them? Just as we are loving parents and give our children many chances before we have to chastise them, so the Lord loves Israel. Our love for our children is great and because we are older and wiser of the ways of the world, we plead with them again and again to do the things that will benefit them in the future. How much more is the love of God for his children? How many times will he forgive us if only we ask him in sincererity and humbleness?
Chapter 2 verse 9 reads
9. Wherefore I will yet plead with you, saith the Lord, and with your children's children will I plead.
Not only would God plead with his children but with his childrenís children. God doesnít want any of us to perish because of sin and disobedience yet not all listen and understand. Verse 13 reads that not only did they turn away from God but to make matters worst, they put their trust in something that would never help them.
This is not unlike the world today. You never hear much about God in the affairs of man until a disaster hits and everyone is crying why did God do this to us? What kind of God would kill thousands of people at one time? I am sure brothers and sister that when we listen to the news and hear about tsunamis, earthquakes, famines in Africa that we understand that the time is near for the return of our Lord. The time for chastisement is at hand and we need to have our affairs in order so that we are not caught unawares. Do we take into consideration every thing we do and is it something that Jesus would approve of if he were here right beside us? Because the way things look, that could be the situation at any time in the near future. These arenít the word of doom, but rather words of hope. The worst I see this world is getting, I realize that the return of my Savior is just that much closer. Why is it that we pray for the quick return of our Lord? We want to see an end to death and war and all the other curses that have been put on man since the time of Adam.
For 22 more chapters God pleads with Israel and Judah to turn from their worldly ways and he would forgive them. Luckily there were a few who listened and were spared from the wrath of God. This remnant was carried off by Nebuchadnezzar but was under the protection of God. They were strangers sojourning in a strange land in the same manner that we should look at ourselves. The world around us is getting so bad that it seems that we are in a strange land also, but with Godís guidance and protection there are great times ahead to share in. I think it worthy to note that just because we have Godís protection doesnít mean that there will not be some rough times. Jeremiah had to hide out like he was a criminal and was cast into a dungeon that was nothing but muck to stand in. These were some tough times for him and he probably asked himself many time why this was happening to him, but he never lost his faith in God. He kept God first in his life and all things worked out that he was rewarded in the end. We too will have times like this in our lives, whether it is dealing with a problem with our health due to our age or dealing with the facts that someone near and dear to us will not head the calling of our Lord. We have to deal with them not only in a realistic fashion but we have to deal with them spiritually. Burdens are not put on us to make us sad and grieve, but to test our strength and our faith. God doesnít test those that do not believe in him, only his children. There are many lessons to be found in the life of Jeremiah that we can apply to ourselves to make our life in Christ better, but our true example is our Lord Jesus Christ. As with all lessons in the Bible, they all reflect back to our Savior.
This morning we gather around this table to keep the memory of our departed Lord and we remember the bad with the good. We are not capable to understand everything that he went through for us and perhaps we never will, but we can all agree that it was a life of hardship, pain and suffering unto death because of a unlimited love that he had for us and respect and obedience for his Father.
I would like to touch on just one more thing that you find frequently in the book of Jeremiah and that is the phrase ďrising up earlyĒ This seems to be insignificant at first but it is a consistent theme throughout the Bible and even in the life of our Lord. Mark 1: 32-35 reads
35. And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.
36. And Simon and they that were with him followed after him.
37. And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee.
38. And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth.
Jacob: Gen 28
18. And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.
4. And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.
Elkannah and Hannah I Sam. 1
19. And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the Lord, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the Lord remembered her.
Hezekiah I Chron 29
20. Then Hezekiah the king rose early, and gathered the rulers of the city, and went up to the house of the Lord.
Job; Job 1:5 And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.
The Psalms remind us that the morning hours we spend with God are necessary for our spiritual growth. Psalms 59
16. But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble.
1. It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High:
2. To shew forth thy loving kindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night,
25. Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them:
26. Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers.
Every morning when we arise we have a fresh opportunity to recall Godís mercy and protection. It is a time to find new guidance and direction for the day ahead and communicate our desires through prayer. The rising of the sun reminds of the power and creation of God and all his goodness. But most importantly it is also a reminder that our King and our Kingdom has not yet arrived, when the need for the sun will be no more because everything will be filled with the glory and majesty of our Heavenly Father.