2017-07-12 / Religion

God gives His people divine assurance

Sunday School Lesson
Rev. James Temples

Jeremiah 1

It is easy for the human mind to grasp a divine truth, and, then, to carry its application beyond the divine teaching. Our Heavenly Father — the creator of the universe — possesses characteristics that mere humans can only imagine. It is well known and accepted that our God is “omnipotent” all powerful, “omnipresent” present everywhere at the same time and “omniscient,” all knowing.

As we read the words of the prophet, Jeremiah, he declared the source of his message, “the word of the Lord.” Jeremiah 1:2. As a member of the Levitical priesthood (Jeremiah 1:1), there was no direct indication of some special work in the divine plan of Israel.

The ministry of Jeremiah was over a span of approximately forty years. This divine assignment began during the reign of the godly king, Josiah. The individuals, who occupied the throne of Judah after Josiah, did not follow in his godly example. The downward spiral of the spiritual life of that kingdom resulted in their being carried into Babylonian captivity. The nation did not fall because of a lack of divine care. Jeremiah and other prophets cried to the nation, calling them repentance.

Jeremiah was given divine assurance of his purpose in life. “Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” Jeremiah 1:4, 5. The Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21) used words that leave no room for speculation. The life of Jeremiah was to be used in a divinely, designed way. The word “sanctified” means “set apart.” Yes, this man had a special calling through his ancestry, the tribe of Levi, but this was not the sole picture of his divine calling. Priests were to live by certain ritualistic rules, but Jeremiah had a greater calling.

The Levitical priests were responsible for the sacrifices for the Jewish people. This singular task was in obedience to the Mosaic Law. However, Jeremiah was “ordained… a prophet unto the nations.” His divine responsibility reached well-beyond the borders of their land.

The extent of this call was not overlooked by the prophet. “Then said I, Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.” Jeremiah 1:6. The “child” that the prophet speaks of is not a preteen, but a young man between the age of fifteen and twenty five. The word “speak” is “to put forth an order; give a discourse.” It seems as if Jeremiah was of a young age, knowing that he would need to stand before leaders with a message from God, Jehovah.

The newly-called prophet was given divine assurance. “But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.” Jeremiah 1:7. Jeremiah needed more information regarding his assignment. “Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord.” Jeremiah 1:8.

Our Heavenly Father knows the means that will give a willing heart the courage and the strength that is needed for the assigned task — “Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.” Jeremiah 1:9.

God gave to Jeremiah a message that reached well-beyond the borders of his homeland. God told him, “See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to (1) root out, and to (2) pull down, and to (3) destroy, and to (4) throw down , to (1) build, and to (2) plant.” Jeremiah 1:10. One can only imagine the thoughts that must have flooded the mind of the young prophet when he had time to reflect upon his assigned task.

When God spoke to Jeremiah, this man had a choice regarding this divine call. Yes, God had ordained his life, but the fact of a free will was not removed. The omniscience of God is seen in the declaration made through the prophet, Isaiah, “…for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying my counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” Isaiah 46:9b, 10.

Some teachers of our day seem to think that with the omniscience of God, human will is removed. This teaching is not found in scripture. Many verses speak of “whosoever” coming into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father. The call made to Nicodemus has not been deleted — “whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. In the Revelation, John gave us the words of our Lord, “And the spirit and the bride say, Come. Let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17.

We can follow the example of Jeremiah, and many others, and positively respond to the divine call, or we can reject the eternal plan of God. Yes, there are consequences to any choice. A positive response will result in everlasting life. A negative response will result in eternal damnation. No decision is, still, a decision. Rejection by default producers the same result as out-right rejection. The writer to the Hebrews asked, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation.” Hebrews 2:3. Please accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, today.

Rev. James C. Temples’ Sunday School Lesson has appeared in the Early County News each week since 1967. A native of Early County, Rev. Temples taught in public schools 32 years and 10 years at Southeastern College of Assemblies of God, in Lakeland, Fla. He also served as pastor and evangelist during those years. He can be contacted at P. O. Box 1484, Swainsboro, GA 30401; 478, 299, 2068. Email: jctjet@aol.com.

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