Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20041006.htm
JEREMIAH: STAYING UPRIGHT AMIDST EVIL PRESSURES
Part II: God's Encouraging Confirmations For His Assignments Amidst Evil Peer Pressures
Lesson: God gave personal, confirming evidences in Jeremiah's experience that complied with (1) the Scripture he knew and (2) past precedents to encourage him in God's calling before tough opposition!
- We saw in Jeremiah 1:6-10 that when God directs us to go down a given path, He gifts us to walk in it.
- Yet, such an assignment may seem overwhelming due to the human opposition we face en route!
- Jeremiah 1:11-19 shows us how God offers encouraging confirmations to such opposition as follows:
- God's Encouraging Confirmations For His Assignments Amidst Evil Peer Pressures, Jer. 1:11-19.
- The ministry to which God called Jeremiah was humanly overwhelming for him due to the foes he faced:
- God wanted Jeremiah to pronounce judgments on Judah, a job sure to yield resistance, 1:16, 18b-19a.
- Well, Jeremiah's background and its resulting self-esteem issue made such a job overwhelming to him:
- As we before learned, Jeremiah was a priest of God in an era when God's true worship was often upstaged by paganism, Jer. 1:1-2. Thus, God's call for Jeremiah to urge Judah to repent left him open for sharp and negative reprisals from those who did not properly respect him as God's priest.
- Then, his background worked to produce a low self-esteem for Jeremiah as is seen in his Jeremiah 1:6 remark, a state leaving him humanly powerless to stand up to religious opposition.
- Thus, God gave Jeremiah personal, Scripture based, encouraging confirmations of his assignment that he could recall in the future as a source of great direction and encouragement for fulfilling his task, 1:11-19:
- God supplied Jeremiah with a vision of an almond branch that was rich in personal, Scripture based encouragement to confirm he was sanctioned to be God's messenger before his foes, Jer. 1:11-12:
- The word, "'almond tree'" (shaked) comes from, shoqed ("'watch/ wake'") as this tree 'awakens' so early in January with its blossoms that arrive prior to its foilage, Bib. Know. Com., O. T., p. 1131; God thus watched over His Word to fulfill it so Jeremiah was to be confident in giving it to Judah.
- Then, God's choice of an almond rod in a vision for the opposed priest, Jeremiah would show God aimed to help Jeremiah face his foes as God had helped his ancestor, Aaron (Jer. 1:1 & Ex. 30:30) in Numbers 17 (H. A. Ironside, Jeremiah, p. 25): in that day, God countered rejection of Aaron's role as high priest when God had his rod alone yield almonds overnight, Numbers 17:5, 8; 16:3, 41!
- Then again, that same almond rod was used in Exodus 7:8-13 to out-compete Pharaoh's magicians (as Jeremiah himself was later to compete against a false prophet, Jer. 28:10-17) to try to urge Pharaoh to repent, a move that was vindicated in the judgment on Pharaoh at the Red Sea (Ex. 14).
- That rod was also used to perform more miracles before Pharaoh (Ex. 7:19; 8:5, 16) until his false magicians could not out-compete Aaron, and admitted his work was of God, Exodus 8:17-19.
- Even further, each of those miracles defeated some part of pagan belief, revealing God to be superior to the paganism Jeremiah would oppose, Ibid., Bib. Know. Com., O. T., p 118.
- Thus, the almond rod vision was meant to confirm to Jeremiah that he was God's messenger.
- God supplied a vision of a boiling pot pouring forth its contents from the north to confirm the message Jeremiah was to preach was one of judgment from the north (in Babylon's invasion from the north) so Jeremiah would not doubt this truth when others later opposed it, Jer. 1:13-16 in light of Jer. 28:1-4.
- God supplied ample warning of the opposition he would face from everyone -- even from fellow priests -- so Jeremiah would be equipped to minister regardless of its painful arrival, 1:7-8, 17b-19.
- God supplied Jeremiah experiential coaching on how well he was seeing God's visions so he would be firmly persuaded he understood them so he could resist future doubts to the contrary, Jer. 1:11-14:
- In the first vision, God asked Jeremiah to report what he saw, and when he said he saw a rod of an almond tree, God supported his interpretation, saying, "You have seen correctly," 1:11-12 NIV.
- When God gave the second vision and asked Jeremiah what he saw, God did not compliment him as before as Jeremiah was sure he knew it due to God's encouragement in the first vision, 1:13-14.
- Thus, God coached Jeremiah via past precedents to make him sure of his interpretation!
Application: May we use these sources of encouraging confirmations re: God's will, cf. 2 Tim. 3:13-17.