The unlimited, infinite power of God is most often translated, “ALMIGHTY”. Over 345 times. The big word ~ OMNIPOTENT. Only one time in scripture, in one translation, the old KJV, is the word omnipotent used. a central theme in Handel’s Messiah, Rev. 19:6: The Apostle John heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and loud peals of thunder shouting out: “For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.”
I will forever have in my mind the late 70’s climbing the southern route of Mt. Baker. In those days the steam vents in the crater of Mt. Baker were active with fears of the Mt. preparing to erupt. The crater is located 400 yards down on the south side…the Southern Climbing Route puts you on the rim of the crater. I will forever remember the active steam vents, the powerful smell of the sulfur, and being mesmerized by one powerful steam vent pounding out of the crater floor. The sound of a 1000 locomotives…
How much more the almighty power of God, “…like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.” Psalm 89:8
I am going to assume you already believe in the amazing power of God. There are many people in the world that don’t, atheists, skeptics, people that want to write their own version of the Bible because they can’t fit in human suffering, war, abuse, etc. Those doubts are worthy of a discussion. But for today’s message, I assume you accept God’s omnipotence…
The problem for those who totally believe God can do anything comes in difficult seasons of life when it’s easy to say in your head God can do anything, but then we look at our life and say, “But what about me.” We hear about miracles for other people and our suffering continues. We hear about incredible answers to prayer, while my world is spiraling out of control. This is what happens to Jeremiah. Before we get to the scripture, I want to share with you a 3 minute fun video of shepherds out in the field who are feeling left out by God. I’ll read more of the words to the song afterwards, but here is the chorus: “nothing ever happens to a shepherd Life is boring as can be, While exciting things occur all over the world Nothing ever happens to me.
[Video posted below] This song is part of a larger children’s cantata… our family discovered it years ago and it used to be played a lot at Christmas time….This song captures much truth of how we feel about God’s power and our lack of experiencing it… the song is a downward spiral of self pity:
It's cold out tonight in this God forsaken place And we're stuck here with a thousand sheep While life is exciting everywhere else The highlight of our day is sleep [life is exciting for everyone else]
Shepherds are notorious for making little profit We garner just enough for room and board While everyone else wallows in their wealth We're financially Ignored [barely making it]
CHORUS: 'Cause nothing ever happens to a shepherd Life is boring as can be
While exciting things occur all over the world Nothing ever happens to me Nothing ever happens to me
It's lonely out here in this isolated job Our position is without esteem
We're socially challenged, we're society's scourge We're not exactly every woman's dream [Loneliness]
[Nobody cares, not even God] Shepherds have a humble purpose Of our fate, few people care
Sometimes I wonder if God knows we exist If He does, I am certain He's forgotten where (CHORUS)
[I’m worthless] Shepherds are the lowest of the low Our lives are void of mystery
Except for David killing Goliath No shepherd will go down in history (CHORUS)
Jeremiah is a prophet of God. He totally believes God can do anything, but God asks him to do so pretty wild and crazy things, and Jeremiah questions God. That’s this prayer in Jer. 32. The background of this prayer: Jerusalem is under siege by the Babylonians. God tells Jeremiah to do something that makes no sense in the first part of Jer. 32. BTW, Jeremiah is also in prison. Jeremiah is in jail, the city is being attacked and about to Fall, the king and all the leaders will be carted off 100’s of miles away, and God says to Jeremiah, “This is what I want you to do, your cousin is going to come to you and make a deal with you to buy his property. Do it.” Jeremiah must be thinking, God you are insane. Jeremiah’s prayer is an attempt to reconcile the contradiction between God’s Power and his crazy ways.
As Jeremiah unfolds, it is revealed God knows what he is doing. Jeremiah is saying in this prayer, “God, this makes no sense.” You want me to do what. Doesn’t it seem ridiculous to buy property when the city was about to fall into enemy hands? It would be like purchasing a lot in that flooded every spring, that had gasoline tanks buried under it, and located right next to the railroad tracks.
When you read the prayer Jeremiah recognizes God’s great power, you can do anything, SKIM THROUGH Jer. 32:16-23. Jeremiah 32:24-25 is the But… “But did you notice that there are siege ramps against the city walls God, did you notice that the Babylonians are about to destroy this city, you are the one that told me this was going to happen, and “yet, O Sovereign Lord, you have told me to buy the field, paying good money for it before witnesses, even though the city will soon belong to the Babylonians” (Jer. 32:5 NLT).
Accepting God’s all powerful nature is easy, but the problem we often have is more personal ~ I know God is all powerful, he is a miracle worker, but what about me? Why are you calling me to live in these conditions? You have healed 100 people I know but my condition never ends. I am struggling and you don’t seem to notice. My head so often knows God is all powerful, but my heart says, what about me? If we are not careful our lives will go in that downward spiral of the shepherds, Life is exciting for everyone else, I’m barely making it, I’m lonely, nobody cares, I’m worthless… Maybe you are somewhere on that list, feeling like you are going downward… It is not at all impossible to totally believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, his mighty power, and think in your heart, but what about me…
One of the great privileges I have as a Pastor and living my entire life in a community of faith, is that I have been incredibly privileged to watch and see some of the greatest men and women of high Christian character that live their faith. If you are one of those people who totally believes God is almighty, Jesus Christ is Lord, risen from the dead, he can do anything, but you are in that downward spiral of feeling sorry for yourself, feeling abandoned by God, questioning what he is doing, I have one bit of wisdom for how overcome, how to live your faith in the richness of his calling even if you don’t get it, it’s the secret I’ve seen in a thousand great Christian saints that have found satisfaction and confidence in God: Trust in his promises. All promises are a better future of what is coming, even when you don’t get the present. God is a God of promises. The word promise is even in the two great divisions of our Bible: Old Testament and New Testament, Testament means promise. We are truly to live by God’s promises. When the present is confusing, God’s promises are everything….
I’m going to show you God highlights his promises to Jeremiah to sustain him. But first a story of a man of faith from a couple days ago… Maynard Moe. I went to the hospital to see him on Thursday afternoon. Linda was there. Maynards heart was still racing and he had very little color in his face, poor sleep the night before. But he smiled when he saw me, he knew me, could talk a little but not a lot. Maynard brought up a particular concern he had in Sumas, which was totally Maynard, not wanting to give Satan a foothold. We chatted. Then when I left, on a whim (or maybe it was a God thing), I decided to tell Maynard about the woman I’d sat with a few days earlier suffering from a heroin addiction because I knew one of Maynard’s patterns was to go pick up the dirty needles around his church in Abbottsford. And we talked about how surely many people on this earth may never get their act together but we’ll still see them in heaven because God’s promises are about the heart and not about getting our act together on earth. When Linda texted me in the evening that Maynard passed away, I was so honored to have seen a man that was content, a man that lived by God’s promises. This dying man had the gift of contentment because he had the promise of eternal life. A man that had high standards on this earth, totally believing God can do anything, never giving up in the causes God place on his heart, but knowing that God’s promises are greater. When your life is spiraling downward, remember God’s promises…
Jeremiah ends his prayer starts with recognizing that nothing is too hard for God, and ending with BUT I don’t get you at all God. God answers Jeremiah… READ Jer. 32:27. I don’t have time to go over every verse, but in the next 2-3 chapters, God’s promises roll out like wave after wave crashing on the beach… “I will…” God says over and over and over and over. You may not get today, but live by my promises. I am God Almighty, there is no “But what about me” because I am the great promise keeper… SKIM some of the “I Will” statements of the next couple chapters. PAUSE on Jer. 32:43… i.e. Jerusalem may be falling, but go ahead and live an ordinary life as a testimony of what will be restored. In other words, those that live in the promise of God live in the present as if it is the future. God’s promises are why believers in the Omnipotent God can live in peace even when the present is confusing. Continue to skim the next verses…
Nothing is too hard for God. When you are snared in a downward spiral, believing God can do anything but wondering if he’s forgotten you, trust in his promises, knowing that he will bring restoration and peace. Amen.