You’ve probably heard it said by someone in a prayer meeting at some point, “Lord, you said, ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’” And it’s true, God did say that. What many may not know is – He said that to Jeremiah. And what is, perhaps, even less known is what exactly the great and mighty things that God desired to show Jeremiah were. Quoting Scripture is great, particularly in prayer. And making an appropriate application is, of course, fine and good; however, if the original meaning of a text is missed the application of that text can be misused. It’s always safest and hermeneutically appropriate to understand what a particular promise meant to its original recipient(s) before we try to figure out how it applies to us. So with that being said, let’s create some context and set the scene so as to discern what God was saying to Jeremiah and whether or not we have a similar invitation today.
Tag: Prayer (Page 1 of 2)
‘I argue with God. I let Him have a piece of my mind. That’s the kind of relationship I have with Him.’ Perhaps you’ve heard someone say that kind of thing before. They let you in on their propensity to dispute with God as a little bit of prayer-instruction as though bringing your cranky self before the Lord is a badge of being real. Yet, they may fail to see the potential pitfalls of that approach. Yes, God’s great patience is broad enough to deal with the mood swings of His children but as our Most High, thrice holy, Lord of heaven and earth, Father, He still warrants ever-present reverence (cf. Mal. 1:6). That doesn’t mean He is unapproachable. And that doesn’t mean that His saints cannot cast their questions along with their cares at His feet. It simply means that when we do we ought to take a cue from the prophet Jeremiah.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God (Phil. 4:6)
It appears, given the 24/7 news-cycle in our society, that we have the option of worrying about more things than any previous generation on planet earth. Not because our exact situations are as worrisome as they could be, but because we are afforded plenty of other options to consider, both locally and internationally. As of late, we have heard numerous threats of nuclear warfare from North Korea, we have seen China’s militarization in the South China Sea, Russia’s aggression towards neighboring Ukraine and its involvement in the conflict in Syria, societal destabilization in Venezuela, and that doesn’t even include talk of Iran and other state sponsors of terrorism. On our own shores, there is concern relating to the prospect of a terrorist attack, at least in some places – an increasing cost of living, continuing moral decline, concern over the way in which media outlets seem incensed to fan flames of societal discord, and so on. All that of course does not include health concerns for ourselves, health concerns for others, the amount of sleep we got last night, exams, relationships, responsibilities, and the list could go on and on. Yet, in our text, we’re exhorted, even as the Philippians were, to “be anxious for nothing”. It does help to know that this wasn’t coming from someone who was bursting at the seems with outward prosperity, writing in between lounging and dining. This came from an imprisoned apostle. And it does help to know that contextually it comes right after Paul was addressing interpersonal issues in a very healthy church (Phil. 4:2-3). Euodia and Syntyche could apply this text to themselves as they likely wrestled with the anxiety that comes from interpersonal strife. Clement could apply this text if, say, he worried about dutifully executing the charge that Paul gave him to help these women.
Some years back, as our church was studying through the Book of 1 Samuel, we saw the beginning of Saul being gripped by the sin of envy and oh what an ugly picture it was! Envy quickly led Saul down a path of incredible evil. In 1 Samuel 18 we only see the beginning of that slippery slope but even there the malignant poison of jealousy led him to take his spear into his hand and hurl it at David (twice!) even while David’s hands were ministering to him on the harp.
Yesterday’s Daily Teaching was entitled, “A Little Bible Reading is Better than No Bible reading.” The premise was simple – the potency of God’s word is not determined by quantity. Jesus, for example, spoke short succinct commands when He rose the dead, stilled the sea, and healed the sick. Those words had life-giving power in them; and so does the text of Scripture. Therefore, even a little Bible-reading on a given day is much better than no Bible reading.