Christian Fellowship 1996-09-30 - Everything is Under Control

Jeremiah 10:23-25

Some Background: In Jeremiah 10:16 we have the pinnacle of God declaring His love for Israel when He says that "Israel is the tribe of His inheritance". The very next verse (17) God pronounces judgment on His people and casts them out of their land. In verses 18-22 we have the exact measures of the judgment of God; namely in what form this judgment will come upon the people and then in verses 23-25 we have Jeremiah's prayer for correction, both for him and Israel.

Jeremiah begins his prayer, "O Lord, I know" Well, what did Jeremiah know? He knew that the affairs of this world are not under the control of individuals, no matter how much they imagine they are. There is a supreme power that rules and overrules and works according to its own will, whatever men may determine or desire to do. God is omnipotent and He is working out His wise designs throughout this sinful world. This truth should be remembered by us, for three reasons.

  1. It takes away our fear of man. Why should we be afraid of someone who will die. You are a child of God and are under divine protection. The most powerful enemy of you or of the Church can do nothing to either without God's permission. The almighty God is Master and Lord over those who imagine that all power is in their hands.

  2. It should ensure your submission to the will of God. In this passage the Lord is allowing Nebuchadnezzar to devastate His people; His people with whom He has sworn Himself, in covenant, to be their God. It is God who permits affliction. Therefore the Jews should not think as much about the instrument with which they are afflicted, but rather of "who" is afflicting. Are you afflicted? Remember it is the Lord who permits you to be tried. Do not be angry with the secondary cause of the affliction. Rather believe that the Lord causes this for your good, for your growth in sanctification, and submit your will to God's will. A dog that is struck with a stick will bite the stick. The stick however has no will to strike the dog. If the dog had more sense, it would bite the person behind the stick. So your struggle with afflictions must be against the causer of the affliction and not the instrument of the affliction. If there is any struggle, it is against God, your Creator.

  3. This truth ought to strengthen our faith. It is easy to trust God when everything is going great. But genuine faith trust God in a storm. In this passage there is a storm, and yet what does Jeremiah do? He prays. In the time of trial, the tried ought to remember that God has all things in his care, and that this trial is a permitted trial. To trust God in the time of trial is not easy, but it is the time of trial that displays real faith. The prayer of Jeremiah comes when his cities are being destroyed and besieged and his people are (vs.17) "picking up their bundles from the ground". We have all seen this too often on the idiot box, nomads in war torn regions of the world, who only possess what they can carry on their backs. (refuges are their own bell-hops) This is the time that Jeremiah prays, the prophet of Israel, "I know that a man's way is not in himself; Nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps..." He knew it all to well. And we shall look deeper into some more aspects of this text Tuesday.

Soli Deo Gloria,