God of the Impossible
Opening Story/Illustration: My first two years in college, I attended a community college. I started out as a Music major, but quickly decided that’s not what I wanted to do. Being a music major, I had to sing in the choir and attend several concerts and symphonies.
In a band or an orchestra, each separate instrument plays a different part and somehow, under the direction of the conductor and sheet of music, they create beautiful music.
But what happens when the clarinet back on the third row stops paying attention and hits a wrong note? The beautiful sound is marred and dissonance or tension occurs. The music no longer has a great feel, instead of harmony there is tension between the rest of the band and that clarinet player.
You know – We do this sometimes. God is directing our lives and trying to make beautiful music, but part of us doesn’t want to follow. We think that we can hit our own notes – do our own thing. When we do this there is tension and conflict.
There are times; however, when this tension or conflict is written into the music. When I was in choir there were times when the harmonies that we would sing would intentional sound like they didn’t fit. Like someone was singing the wrong note. The composer put them into the song because he/she wanted a sense of conflict or sorrow within the song. The difference here is that the tension is created by the composer and he often takes that tension and resolves it into something beautiful. There are times in our lives with God that he brings the tension. We didn’t create it, but he writes it in so that he can resolve it and so that we can grow in our trust in him.
It is in those moments that we have to play what is written even though it may sound a bit off.
Transition to Text: In the book of Jeremiah there is a great deal of tension.
The people of Judah have decided that they don’t need to listen to God. The people have ignored God, they have ignored the composer and conductor. They have decided to write their own music.
In the process of all this, God has written in his own tension in hopes that they would change. The people are worship idols and failing to follow God with all their hearts. As a result, God has brought the Babylonians upon them. It is in the midst of this that the prophet Jeremiah speaks for God.
Text: In the midst of all this tension, Jeremiah gets a word from the Lord. Turn in your Bibles to
3 Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.
Transition to Points: Tonight I just want to look a few moments at this story and see how it connects to our lives.
God was going to do the impossible in Jeremiah’s difficult situation.
Jeremiah is in a difficult situation
The nation of Judah has been disobedient to God
They have decided that they want to worship and follow other gods and goddesses.
They use God when he is convenient - Sound familiar?
Jeremiah has spoken to them persistently, and they refuse to listen or change
In , the prophet complains that he has spoken to these people for 23 years and they refuse to listen!
3 “For the past twenty-three years—from the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah, until now—the Lord has been giving me his messages. I have faithfully passed them on to you, but you have not listened. 4 “Again and again the Lord has sent you his servants, the prophets, but you have not listened or even paid attention. 5 Each time the message was this: ‘Turn from the evil road you are traveling and from the evil things you are doing. Only then will I let you live in this land that the Lord gave to you and your ancestors forever.
Imagine preaching for 23 years and no one listens!
We call that a church plant fail, God calls that faithfulness.
Babylon has invaded Jerusalem
Jeremiah tells king Zedekiah that God is going to Judge the nation, so they should surrender to Babylon. This gets Jeremiah put in jail.
1 The following message came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the tenth year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah. This was also the eighteenth year of the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar. 2 Jerusalem was then under siege from the Babylonian army, and Jeremiah was imprisoned in the courtyard of the guard in the royal palace. 3 King Zedekiah had put him there, asking why he kept giving this prophecy: “This is what the Lord says: ‘I am about to hand this city over to the king of Babylon, and he will take it. 4 King Zedekiah will be captured by the Babylonians and taken to meet the king of Babylon face to face. 5 He will take Zedekiah to Babylon, and I will deal with him there,’ says the Lord. ‘If you fight against the Babylonians, you will never succeed.’ ”
So let’s recap - Judah is sinning against God. God raises up Jeremiah to speak and turn the people back to God.
23 years of preaching and no one listens
His home has been invaded
He is now put in Jail for speaking the truth
Jeremiah Hears from God
In the midst of all this difficulty, Jeremiah gets a word from the Lord.
6 At that time the Lord sent me a message. He said, 7 “Your cousin Hanamel son of Shallum will come and say to you, ‘Buy my field at Anathoth. By law you have the right to buy it before it is offered to anyone else.’ ” 8 Then, just as the Lord had said he would, my cousin Hanamel came and visited me in the prison. He said, “Please buy my field at Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. By law you have the right to buy it before it is offered to anyone else, so buy it for yourself.” Then I knew that the message I had heard was from the Lord. 9 So I bought the field at Anathoth, paying Hanamel seventeen pieces of silver for it.
Jeremiah is making real estate transactions in the midst of one of his most difficult moments. Why? God said so.
God tells him to buy a field - a field that is probably being camped on by the Babylonian enemy!
This seems ridiculous
Why would God ask him to buy a field?
God is going to resolve the difficulty
The buying of the field was symbolic - God was going to restore the land. He was going to do the impossible!
15 For this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: ‘Someday people will again own property here in this land and will buy and sell houses and vineyards and fields.’ ”
God is asking Jeremiah to Call on him, because he is going to show him that even though the situation looks dark, he is going to resolve it and bring about restoration!
1 While Jeremiah was still confined in the courtyard of the guard, the Lord gave him this second message: 2 “This is what the Lord says—the Lord who made the earth, who formed and established it, whose name is the Lord: 3 Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come. 4 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: You have torn down the houses of this city and even the king’s palace to get materials to strengthen the walls against the siege ramps and swords of the enemy. 5 You expect to fight the Babylonians, but the men of this city are already as good as dead, for I have determined to destroy them in my terrible anger. I have abandoned them because of all their wickedness. 6 “Nevertheless, the time will come when I will heal Jerusalem’s wounds and give it prosperity and true peace. 7 I will restore the fortunes of Judah and Israel and rebuild their towns. 8 I will cleanse them of their sins against me and forgive all their sins of rebellion. 9 Then this city will bring me joy, glory, and honor before all the nations of the earth! The people of the world will see all the good I do for my people, and they will tremble with awe at the peace and prosperity I provide for them. 10 “This is what the Lord says: You have said, ‘This is a desolate land where people and animals have all disappeared.’ Yet in the empty streets of Jerusalem and Judah’s other towns, there will be heard once more 11 the sounds of joy and laughter. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will be heard again, along with the joyous songs of people bringing thanksgiving offerings to the Lord. They will sing, ‘Give thanks to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, for the Lord is good. His faithful love endures forever!’ For I will restore the prosperity of this land to what it was in the past, says the Lord. 12 “This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: This land—though it is now desolate and has no people and animals—will once more have pastures where shepherds can lead their flocks. 13 Once again shepherds will count their flocks in the towns of the hill country, the foothills of Judah, the Negev, the land of Benjamin, the vicinity of Jerusalem, and all the towns of Judah. I, the Lord, have spoken!
God wants to do the impossible
You may face difficult times
Sometimes this is a result of sin, other times, it’s just life.
Illustration: Why? The question we often ask. Why do divorces happen and kids die and people betray us? Why? Why do bad things happen in our lives. I’m trying to start asking how. - How do I get through it.
In the midst of your difficulty, hear from God!
Sometimes God asks us to do seemingly dumb things in the midst of difficulty
i. Sometimes God asks us to do seemingly dumb things in the midst of difficulty
ii. Obey God even when you don’t understand it
Obey God even when you don’t understand it
Obey God even when you don’t understand it
1. Sometimes your obedience is a sign to others of what God is going to do.
Sometimes your obedience is a sign to others of what God is going to do.
Illustration – GPS – My GPS gives me directions and gets me where I want to Go if I will listen to it. It can navigate through places where I would normally get lost. (God – if we will listen to him, will navigate us through the times in our lives when we would normally get lost)
2. Illustration – GPS – My GPS gives me directions and gets me where I want to Go if I will listen to it. It can navigate through places where I would normally get lost. (God – if we will listen to him, will navigate us through the times in our lives when we would normally get lost)
God will bring resolve to the situation
Your situation is not forever
Sometimes it can feel like forever!
Illustration: Gilligan’s Island - Life can sometimes seem like an episode of Gilligan’s Island. Everything starts off Good and then we end up stranded on an island that it seems we will never get off. But God is faithful, and the island that you are stuck on – you will get off of it in God’s time.
Illustration: One of my good friends in high school, her grandparents had gotten a divorce. They were divorced for a very long time. In fact, my friend didn’t ever remember a time when they weren’t divorced. But 25yrs after they got their divorce, they were remarried. You know what was happening the whole time? Their kids were praying.
Restate the Main Idea: Even in your difficulty, God wants to do the impossible!
So What? If you’re here tonight and you are facing a difficult situation –
a. Get in prayer this week and hear from God
Get in prayer this week and hear from God
b. Listen to what he tells you to do from his word and through his spirit
Listen to what he tells you to do from his word and through his spirit
Trust that he is going to resolve the difficult situations in your life – even when you can’t see it or it doesn’t turn out the way you want it to.
c. Trust that he is going to resolve the difficult situations in your life – even when you can’t see it or it doesn’t turn out the way you want it to.
Now What? Let’s find a place to pray