MAKE NO EXCUSES JEREMIAH 1:4-19 AUGUST 5, 2012 FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI, USA OUTREACH OPPORTUNITY WEDNESDAY AUGUST 15 3:15 P. M. - 5:00 P. M.Distributing water to the Sellers Building and Supreme Court Justice Building asemployees leave from work for the “Good Neighbor” Outreach Project. Contact Cathy Jeffcoats at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 601-949-1941Commentary Consulted:J. Vernon McGees Thru The BibleThis lesson is about God calling His people to service in spite of their inadequaciesand it is also about equipping those He calls.You can retire from your job but not your calling!
Don’t sit, soak and sour!God’s call is unique to each individual and so is His plan for each life.God had a plan for Jeremiah even before he was born.He has an assignment for each of us regardless of our age.Jeremiah lamented that he was too young and Moses could have stated that he wastoo old (80).God calls us to serve Him in spite of our inadequacies.We can’t say to God, ‘I’ve done my service, now it’s time for the younger people todo it.’God continues to have a plan for each of us and we can be certain that He willequip us for the tasks that He has for us to do.Our age group has wisdom, experience and maturity that can be used in service toGod.Whatever His plan is for your life, allow Him to speak to you through these lessons fromJeremiah.
As you seek God, He will reveal to you where He is at work around you and that’syour opportunity to adjust your life to His agenda and join Him where He is working.He is looking to us for instant obedience.“No, Lord!” is an oxymoron.Delayed obedience is disobedience.Partial obedience is disobedience.We are to step up and serve God eagerly and obediently.What opportunities have you missed in your life? opPORTunityOur age is not a problem for God. We are to thank God for the benefits andopportunities that accompany our age group.Serving God means we proclaim His message His way. We don’t promote our ownagenda the way we think best. He calls us to service with obedience rather thanexcuses.This lesson is about God’s calling His people to service in spite of their inadequaciesand about His preparing of those whom He calls.Give up your excuses for not serving God, and respond immediately and obedientlyto His call.
TODAY’S OUTLINEGod Calls – Jer 1:4-8God Equips – Jer 1:9-10God Affirms – Jer 1:11-14, 17-19Jeremiah 1: 4-19 HCSB4 “The word of the LORD came to me:5 I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born. I appointed you a prophet to the nations.6 But I protested, “Oh no, Lord, God! Look, I don’t know how to speak since I am onlya youth.”7 Then the Lord said to me: Do not say, “I am only a youth,” for you will go to everyone I send you to & speak whatever I tell you.
8 Do not be afraid of anyone, for I will be with you to deliver you. This is the Lord’s declaration.9 Then the Lord reached out His hand, touched my mouth, and told me: I have now filled your mouth with My words.10 See, I have appointed you today over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and demolish, to build and plant.Two Visions11 Then the word of the Lord came to me, asking, “What do you see, Jeremiah?”I replied, “I see a branch of an almond tree.”12 The Lord said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I watch over My word toaccomplish it.” 13 Again the word of the Lord came to me inquiring, “What do yousee?”And I replied, “I see a boiling pot, its lip tilted from the north to the south.”14 Then the Lord said to me, “Disaster will be poured out from the north on all who livein the land. 15 Indeed, I am about to summon all the clans and kingdoms of thenorth.” This is the Lord’s declaration. They will come, and each king will set up his throne at the entrance to Jerusalem’s gates. They will attack all her surrounding walls and all the other cities of Judah.16 “I will pronounce My judgments against them for all the evil they did when theyabandoned Me to burn incense to other gods and to worship the works of their ownhands.17 “Now, get ready. Stand up and tell them everything that I command you. Do notbe intimidated by them or I will cause you to cower before them.18 Today, I am the One Who has made you a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronzewalls against the whole land—against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests, andthe population. 19 They will fight against you but never prevail over you, since I amwith you to rescue you.” This is the Lord’s declaration. Jeremiah 1:4-19 HCSB
Jeremiah 1:55 “I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you wereborn.”God gives life at conception.The Hebrew word for “formed” is used 62 times in the Old Testament.It can also be translated “make” or “fashion”.The participle form is used on occasion as a noun meaning “Potter” and twice inreference to God as “Maker”.The verb occurs twice in the creation account:Genesis 2:7-8“Then the Lord God formed the man out of the dust from the ground…The Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there He placed the manHe had formed”. Genesis 2:7-8Other believers saw this too:Psalm 139:13-16Isaiah 49:1, 5 & Gal 1:15Psalm 139:13-1613 “For it was You Who created my inward parts;You knit me together in my mother’swomb. 14 I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made.Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well. 15 My bones were not hiddenfrom You when I was made in secret, when I was formed in the depths of the earth.16 Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book andplanned before a single one of them began.” Psalm 139:13-16
Isaiah 49:1, 51“Coastlands, listen to me;distant peoples, pay attention. The Lord called me before Iwas born. He named me while I was in my mother’s womb.5 And now, says the Lord,Who formed me from the womb to be His Servant, to bringJacob back to Him so that Israel might be gathered to Him;for I am honored in thesight of the Lord, and my God is my strength” Isaiah 49:1, 5Galatians 1:15-16a15 “But when God, Who from my birth set me apart and called me by His grace, waspleased 16 to reveal His Son in me, so that I could preach Him among the Gentiles” Galatians 1:15-16aJeremiah was 16-20 years old when he received this call on his life from God.He was living in a country that had turned its back on God and was headed fordestruction.Jeremiah 1:66 “But I protested, “Oh no, Lord, God! Look, I don’t know how to speak since I am onlya youth.” Jeremiah 1:6Adam, Moses, Gideon, and now Jeremiahall questioned God concerning His plan for their lives.
Jeremiah tried to use the excuse, “I don’t know how to speak”.God had already heard that one from Moses:Exodus 4:10-1610 But Moses replied to the Lord, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent—either inthe past or recently or since You have been speaking to Your servant—because I amslow and hesitant in speech.”11 Yahweh said to him, “Who made the human mouth? Who makes him mute ordeaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, Yahweh? 12 Now go! I will help you speak and I willteach you what to say.”13 Moses said, “Please, Lord, send someone else.”14 Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses, and He said, “Isn’t Aaron the Leviteyour brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, he is on his way now to meetyou. He will rejoice when he sees you. 15 You will speak with him and tell him what tosay. I will help both you and him to speak and will teach you both what to do. 16 Hewill speak to the people for you. He will be your spokesman, and you will serve as Godto him.” Exodus 4:10-16With just a cursory reading of scripture it is easy to see how Moses, Gideon, andJeremiah questioned God concerning His plan for their lives. It is not as easy to seehow Adam questioned God concerning His plan for his life. When you study scripture,however, the following things become apparent about Adam questioning God. 1) He listened to his wife rather than to God (Genesis 3:6 & 3:17) 2) He ate the forbidden fruit in direct disobedience to Gods commandment (same two verses) 3) He sewed fig leaves together to cover up from God (Genesis 3:7 mans efforts and mans way, not Gods way) 4) He was afraid of God (Genesis 3:10 not at all Gods plan) 5) He hid from God (Genesis 3:8 & 3:10 not Gods plan to be hidden from God) 6) He blamed God (Genesis 3:12 that woman You gave me is what caused this)By studying Adams questioning of God we see that we dont have to say “I dontknow how to speak” or “Im only a youth” or something similar to question God.Often our actions or inactions question God louder than words.God calls us to service in His kingdom despite our inadequacies.Little Johnny announced to his parents on the first morning that he was to start toschool, “Send someone else, I can’t do this.” When his parents asked “Why can’t youdo this?” Johnny replied, “Duh! I can’t go to school. I can’t read nor write.”
God specializes in working through our inadequacies.When we allow Him to accomplish His work through our inadequacies, it brings Himmuch glory!Even though we don’t know what next week holds, we know Who holds next week!Jeremiah 1:6b-7a6b “…I don’t know how to speak since I am only a youth.”7a Then the Lord said to me: Do not say, “I am only a youth,”Moses may have thought about using the age thing as an excuse also…Acts 7:23, 28-3023 “As Moses was approaching the age of 40, he decided to visit his brothers, theIsraelites…28 “Do you want to kill me, the same way you killed the Egyptian yesterday?”29 “At this disclosure, Moses fled and became an exile in the land of Midian, wherehe fathered two sons.30 After 40 years had passed, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of MountSinai, in the flame of a burning bush.” Acts 7:23, 28-30Moses was now 80 years old and may have well thought of the excuse, “I’m too oldfor this!”Our age is not a problem for God and He is not going to buy our excuses.Observe how God countered Jeremiah’s excuses:I don’t know how to speak - I’ll show you.I don’t know where to go – I’ll send you and show you.I’m afraid – I’ll be with you and will deliver you.He shows us how to get past our excuses.He has already given us everything we need to do what He has called us to do.2 Peter 1:33 His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through theknowledge of Him Who called us by His own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:3
Jeremiah 1:88 “Do not be afraid of anyone, for I will be with you to deliver you. This is the Lord’s declaration. Jeremiah 1:8The most frequent command in Scripture is: “do not fear”Psalm 118:66 “The Lord is for me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” Psalm 118:6Matthew 10:18-20, 2818 “You will even be brought before governors and kings because of Me, to bearwitness to them and to the nations.19 But when they hand you over, don’t worry about how or what you should speak.For you will be given what to say at that hour,20 because you are not speaking, but the Spirit of your Father is speaking throughyou…28 Don’t fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul; rather, fear Himwho is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:18-20, 28Our friend who will be baptized this next hour has already come to the point that he iswilling for his baptism to be televised regardless of the personal costs to him & hisfamily.
He told us last week that if someone watching his baptism on TV would be drawn toChrist, he was not afraid of what that might mean for him personally.Jeremiah 1:99 “Then the Lord reached out His hand, touched my mouth, and told me:I have now filled your mouth with My words.” Jeremiah 1:9The Lord touched Jeremiah’s mouth.God has been hands-on since He formed man from the dust of the ground in Genesis2:7.God spoke everything else into being but we are handmade.He even knows how many hairs are on your head!Matthew 10:3030 “But even the hairs of your head have all been counted.” Matthew 10:30When God calls you, He equips you.He hand delivers what you need to accomplish the work He has given you to do.Isaiah 6:5-85 “Then I said:‘Woe is me for I am ruined because I am a man of unclean lips and live among apeople of unclean lips, and because my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts.’6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, and in his hand was a glowing coal that hehad taken from the altar with tongs.7 He touched my mouth with it and said:‘Now that this has touched your lips, your wickedness is removed and your sin isatoned for.’8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying:‘Who should I send? Who will go for Us?’I said:‘Here I am. Send me.’” Isaiah 6:5-8Like Jeremiah, God has called us to stand against sin and to proclaim the Good Newsof His forgiveness.
God loves people as they are, not as they ought to be!That is Good News and it ought to be a message that is easy to share.What is your excuse?Whatever it is, God isn’t buying it.God has written His word on our hearts and we must let go of our fears, accept Hiscall on our lives and allow His words to move from our hearts and minds to ourmouths.Jeremiah 1:1010 “See, I have appointed you today over nations and kingdoms to uproot and teardown, to destroy and demolish, to build and plant.” Jeremiah 1:10The job that God was calling Jeremiah to do was overwhelming.He was to go to nations and to kingdoms and point out to them their failures, touproot and to tear down the anti-God things they were doing, to destroy and todemolish. Jeremiah knew that was a message that would get him killed andeventually, it did just that.Any time we get outside of our comfort zone we experience fear.But God’s kingdom work is not about our comfort.We are living in a kingdom that is at war!He has already given us what we need to accomplish the tasks He has called us todo. He has already given us enough grace, enough faith, enough courage to do thejob.Our response should be instant obedience.That’s what soldiers are trained to do – obey instantly.
Two VisionsJeremiah 1:11-1211 Then the word of the Lord came to me, asking, “What do you see, Jeremiah?”I replied, “I see a branch of an almond tree.”12 The Lord said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I watch over My word toaccomplish it.” Jeremiah 1:11-12Our word “almond” is from the Hebrew word, shaked meaning hasten.The almond tree is the first tree to blossom each year (January) and is a sign of thecoming spring. When all the other trees are still dormant, the almond tree comesalive!Here and in Ecclesiastes 12:5, the almond tree is symbolic of a watchman, signalingthe coming of a certain event. In Ecclesiastes chapter 12 the writer is telling of theaging process and of the certainty of death:5 “Also, they (the elderly) are afraid of heights and dangers on the road; the almondtree blossoms, the grasshopper loses its spring, and the caper berry has no effect;for man is headed to his eternal home,”The early-appearing white bloom of the almond apparently serves as a picture of theearly graying of a person’s hair. The root from the Hebrew word shaked – almond - isthe word shoked, meaning to watch diligently.The almond tree represents the sure timing of the Lord - just as certain as spring willfollow winter – God’s word will come true. He watches over it!We can be certain that God is watching to make sure His promises, purposes andthreats are fulfilled.Jeremiah 1:13-1413 “Again the word of the Lord came to me inquiring, “What do you see?”And I replied, “I see a boiling pot, its lip tilted from the north to the south.”14 Then the Lord said to me, “Disaster will be poured out from the north on all who livein the land.” Jeremiah 1:13-14
The second vision, a “boiling pot tilted from the north to the south” pictured Babyloncoming from the north to pour out God’s judgment on His rebellious people.God had seen His people’s sinful disregard for Him and for His laws and Jeremiah’sassignment was to foretell the coming judgment.Every time Jeremiah saw an almond tree he would be reminded God was watchingand guiding.Each day when he saw a boiling pot he would remember judgment was coming toan idolatrous nation.Remembering that God is watching, being aware of His presence, gives us anurgency to proclaim His message of repentance.God warned Jeremiah that he would face antagonism from his own countrymen andcautioned him to not let those detractors intimidate him into disobedient silence.Jeremiah would be able to stand against hostile opposition because God wouldmake him strong, resistant, and impenetrable.God does not hide the fact there is cost to being a person that He uses.We are the ones who try to fool ourselves that serving God should always be easyand pleasurable.There is also a cost of ignoring God.1 John 2:2828 “So now, little children, remain in Him, so that when He appears we may haveboldness and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” 1 John 2:28What excuses have you made to avoid doing what God has called you to do?God planned to discipline Judah because the people had again fallen into idolatry.What are some of the idols in our culture?Jeremiah 1:17-1917 “Now, get ready. Stand up and tell them everything that I command you. Do notbe intimidated by them or I will cause you to cower before them.18 Today, I am the One Who has made you a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronzewalls against the whole land—against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests, andthe population.19 They will fight against you but never prevail over you, since I am with you to rescueyou.” This is the Lord’s declaration. Jeremiah 1:17-19
In verse 17 the Lord gave Jeremiah four commands: 1) Get ready 2) Stand up 3) Tell them everything I command you 4) Don’t be intimidated 1) Get ready because the task would not be easy. 2) Stand up in full confidence that he was speaking the words of the Lord. 3) Tell them everything I command you – Jeremiah was not to change the message, add to it, and not to subtract from it. The Lord’s words were to be delivered exactly as Jeremiah had received them from God. 4) Jeremiah was not to be intimidated by anyone. As stated in verse 18, many of the folks Jeremiah would have to face were very powerful leaders, some in the realm of politics and others in the area of Judah’s religion.As God’s spokesman, Jeremiah the prophet was above all of them.If he became intimidated, God would make him cower before them even thoughthese leaders should have cowered before the prophet.
Verse 18 uses three metaphors to describe the strength God would provide forJeremiah in his prophetic role: 1) A fortified city 2) An iron pillar 3) Bronze walls against the whole landEach image depicts that which is safe, powerful, and impenetrable – appropriatemetaphors for the Lord’s words in Jeremiah’s mouth.Jeremiah’s messages would be delivered primarily against the kings of Judah, itsofficials, its priests, and the population.Despite the difficult task and powerful people Jeremiah faced, the Lord’s declarationwould have given the prophet great confidence: “they will fight against you butnever prevail over you, since I am with you to rescue you.”During the course of his 40-year prophetic ministry, Jeremiah would endure threats,ridicule, and imprisonment. But God rescued Jeremiah in all these situations. Theprophet lived to see the fulfillment of his messages of judgment against Judah,Jerusalem, and even the Temple – devastating though they were no matter whattask the Lord gave Jeremiah, he remained faithful and did exactly what God hadcalled him to do.Grandparenting, listening, caregiving, and praying are all important ministries thatwe can do.Visit folks who have no family.Get involved in the project on August 15th to hand out bottled water to those whowork here in the downtown area.