Word from Scotland
by Sandy Shaw
Jeremiah is one of the prophets raised up by our Loving God in Israel at a time when the situation was serious and critical - the nation was facing a crisis - the nation was facing the Judgement of God. Open your Bible at Jeremiah Chapter 1 .
Who is he? Who is this man? Where did he come from? Was he some extraordinary man of God - always reading the writings of Moses - keen to rise up and speak - always praying - that God should call him? No - not to begin with. He was reluctant to carry out the task to which God was calling him - and yet he changes.
Over the years he changed and changes until when Jesus asked - What are the people saying about Me - one of the replies was - some are saying you are Jeremiah. Matthew Chapter 16.
In these verses we see how God speaks to a man - calls a man - and God is prepared to put up with the answer - “not me”.
God speaks specifically to the nation - about the condition in which the nation is.
Jeremiah was God’s man for the nation - when the nation of Israel was declining and going to pieces. Israel was getting into all sorts of wrong relationships - and was becoming weak - morally and spiritually. Jeremiah preaches and prophesies around the end of the Seventh Century B.C. and into the Sixth Century B.C. and his prophetic ministry covered some 40 years and the reigns of five kings of Judah.
“The word of the Lord came to him....” That is so important in the life and ministry of a prophet. We not only have a God to whom we can talk and speak - but we have a God who speaks to us - Who wants to talk with us - primarily through Jesus Christ - and through this written Word - but in various other ways too.
And Almighty God will not always say what we want Him to say - or what we would like Him to say - He may even say things which are contrary to what we would like to hear. But - He will never say what is contrary to what is written in The Scriptures.
Much of the Bible is unwelcome news - Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to save people from their sins - not only from their doubts and fears and weaknesses and sicknesses - but from our sins - and sometimes we overlook that - or take it for granted - and we must never forget that through Jesus Christ we are forgiven, rescued, cleansed, washed, changed and being changed, transformed and being transformed, redeemed - and brought out of darkness into light. Yes all that is good news but first we had to recognise and acknowledge the truth and reality of the bad situation we were in.
This is one of the tasks which God gave to Jeremiah - this becomes the burden of his message to the chosen People of God.
A ‘Jeremiah’ is regarded today as a doom and gloom man - but that is not so. Remember Jesus reminded many people of Jeremiah. A ‘Jeremiah’ is a man who comes with the Word of God - for a particular situation - and he delivers the message God gave him - usually at tremendous cost.
Jeremiah’s message here is - “Carry on the way you are going - and as a nation and as a people you will crack up - break down - and face disaster.” Now that is not nice to hear - especially if you are the chosen People of God - but that is what Jeremiah was commissioned to proclaim and preach.
Yet - his word is a balanced word - there are glimpses of hope - God never gives up on His People - God continues to speak - ever calling them to repent and return - this Word, we will see, is full of mercy and compassion and concern.
“The word of the Lord came...” Hear God speaking - that is better than hearing the words of men - and even a rebuke from God is better than the flattering praises of men at times.
Jeremiah’s personality come through this book too - God uses our personalities. He does not overlook or erase our personal characteristics - these attributes or qualities which mark us out as individuals. Sometimes we might wish He did. You have to accept my personality - and I have to accept yours. It is through the personality of the man and the message of the Word of God that truth and light begin to shine.
Jeremiah speaks in pictures - he sees things and shares what he sees - and some see the significance - and most do not.
From very early years Jeremiah would have been a worshipper - his father was a priest - and he is called while quite young - in his teens - and he is shy - and full of excuses - and yet, he is being called by GOD to challenge the nation - and the nations.
Read on – next week we will look at the nature and significance of his calling.
“Almighty God – loving Father – hear us as we consider the life and preaching of Your servant Jeremiah the prophet. Help us to understand something of the nature of prophecy – how deep and significant such words are when they come from Your throne. Open new fresh spiritual doors through the written text – may these words have life and light – inspiring, encouraging, and guiding us – in Jesus Name.” Amen.
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Alexander 'Sandy' Shaw is pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship in Nairn, Scotland. Nairn is 17 miles east of Inverness - on the Moray Firth Coast - not far from the Loch Ness Monster!
Gifted as a Biblical teacher, Sandy is firmly committed to making sure that his teachings are firmly grounded in the Word.
Sandy has a weekly radio talk which can be heard via the Internet on Saturday at 11:40am, New Orleans time, at wsho.com.
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