Ad Gloriam Dei

"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." - 1 Corintians 10:31

"Let us pursue the things which make for peace and those by which one may edify another"- Romans 14:19

"As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend." - Proverbs 27:17

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Racing with Horses (Jeremiah 12:5)

"If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?" (Jer. 12:5 NIV)

These are notes from today's sermon by Edward "Teddy" Donnelly at Trinity RPCI. My children are now at such an age that I can start writing notes again. Mary and I put this on together to help us assimilate what we heard at church. (Teddy entitled this "The Rejection of God's Messenger", but I thought the above was more apt.)

Reading: Jeremiah 11:18-12:6, esp. 12:5
  • The message of the men of Anathoth to Jeremiah was, "Shut up, or die!"
  • Anathoth was 3 miles from Jerusalem, where most of the priests and Levites lived, so these were clergymen threatening death!
  • Jeremiah did the right thing and brought all his troubles and anxieties to God.
  • 12:1,2 has resonances with Psalm 73: "Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why are those happy who deal so treacherously?"
  • He is open and honest with God; he hides nothing back. This should encourage us to come to God with the same attitude. It isn't wrong to pour out your grief to God.
  • But why was God so hard with Jeremiah in his reply? (See the verse at the top. Teddy prefers the NIV/ESV translation to the AV/NKJV for this verse. The thicket speaks about the danger of lions lurking in the thicket by the river.)

1. A Warning about Future Things

  • The apostasy of the people is going to get worse.
  • The violent armies of the north will come, and kill and enslave the people.
  • Is God saying to us, "You think things are bad? They're going to get worse."
  • "You think it is hard to witness now, do you think it will be easier in the future?"
  • "You think life is hard now, but some of you will face bereavement, terrible illness and the weakness of old age."
  • Be prepared! Be brave and strong! Be men! (Or women!)
  • God is an honest father who loves us enough to tell us the truth.
  • If you are not trusting in Christ now, what will the future bring for you? It is too terrible to contemplate. Face up to reality and prepare for the judgment to come.

2. A Challenge to Greater Tasks

  • God wants him to be a brave hero in the face of great challenges.
  • Jeremiah is being challenged to move up a gear.
  • "I love you too much and value you too much to let you give up now!"
  • "I have greater work for you to do."
  • The sports teacher will not put a whole lot of effort into someone with no ability. He will make an athlete with potential work harder and set him higher standards to meet. This may seem harse, but he wants him to be all he can be.
  • If we are not faithful in a few things, are we going to be entrusted with greater things? (Matt. 25:14-30)
  • If you can't manage your household, who will entrust you with leadership in the Church? (1 Tim. 3:4,5)
  • Do you want your life to matter and leave a mark in history?
  • Let us look at our trials as God preparing us for greater things.

3. An Encouragement to Deeper Trust

  • Can we compete with horses? Of course not!
  • Jeremiah couldn't compete with horses on his own, but God was with him.
  • For over 40 years, he ran with horses and went safely through the thickets of the Jordan.
  • He was forced to go to the one who could cope.
  • We can't cope with what life is going to bring to us on our own.
  • We can survive these things and get through them, but we won't do so in the beautiful way that glorifies God.
  • Paul quoted these words, when he was an old man imprisoned in chains: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Phil. 4:13)
"He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might he increases strength." (Isa. 40:29)
New RPCI Psalter: Psalms 1A; 103:1-5 ; 73A:1-4,11-18 ; 119 Part 4A

(See also the previous post "Judgment and the Neglect of God".)


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