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November 21, 2020 1:00 am
What is God doing in your life today? Could the trials you're facing be part of His plan? God used events in Jeremiah's life to help prepare him and He could be doing the same in your life. Today on Let My People Think, RZIM's Founder, the late Ravi Zacharias, looks at the life of Jeremiah and what we can learn from him.
Examining national ministry for this chiasm comes from your generous donation. I know more about running the horizon. VW REM. Many of us can run from the call of God.
Also in the position to which he is placing us.
It is very easy to be resistant to the tender shaping hands of the Potter being a Christian is not easy.
In fact, God has placed a difficult cool on our life.
And the story of Jeremiah gives us a glimpse into that responsibility. Hello and welcome to let my people think when describing the Christian walk. We often use the illustration of a path to shaping clay. It's a powerful image, but it is also a difficult reality at time could shape the prophet Jeremiah by placing a difficult cool upon his life, that of being a voice of truth and a folding cul-de-sac ugly line from his story accept the challenge of witnessing to a secular society on exams found in the late Ravi Zacharias takes a look at that question today in part one of his methods titled Bristol clay intend to harm many times I have thought back up on a passage for the first time I opened up again yesterday a passage I used to read to my students when I was a professor teaching courses on preaching and I used to watch them to write this down in their notes so that if it ever happened in their lives. They will take heed and make the corrections and at times there have been hints of a feeling something like this that tends to come and listen to the words of the famous Scottish Divine James Stewart who preached in Edinboro for many years. In his book heralds of God, a book written for preachers, listen to what he says here. Surely there are few figures so pitiable as the disillusioned minister of the gospel high hopes. Once assured him on his way.
But now the indifference and the recalcitrance of the world. The lack of striking visible results.
The discovering of the appalling pettiness and spite and touchiness and complacency which can large in narrow hearts. The feeling of personal futility. All these have said his soul. No longer does the zeal of God's house devour him. No longer does he mount the pulpit steps in preload expectancy that Jesus Christ will come amongst his spoke that day traveling in the greatness of his strength. Mighty to save Darley and Dreher really he speaks now about what once seemed to him the most dramatic tidings in the world the edge and the verve and passion of the message of divine forgiveness.
The exultant lyrical assurance of the presence of the risen Lord, the amazement of supernatural grace, the urge to cry.
Woe is me. If I preach not the gospel.
All have suddenly gone man has lost heart. He is disillusioned and that for an ambassador of Christ is tragedy of often caught up on that when days of fatigue have come. And when days of lethargy take over. Is it possible that the verve and the vibe veracity of what once stored you in such powerful tones so that you could hardly wait to mount the steps and tell a disillusioned world. Is it possible for that to go away in a kind of a disillusionment all its own set into your own soul. I think that's an awful tragedy will concur, and yet how true it is that it many times happen. We often think of that poem written by Francis Thompson. Remember that famed poem he wrote this man who became an opium addict who was a dropout from Oxford University hanging around with the losers and the lost and would pick up newspapers and the dustbins and write letters to the editor with the genius mind that he had, but he kept running and running and running and finally when he wasn't apprehended by Christ, which is life was not France phone. He penned that marvelous poem the hound of Heaven. I fled him down the Knights and down the days I fled him, down the arches of the years I fled him down the labyrinth and ways of my own mind and in the mist of tears I hid from him up. The stud hopes I sped and shot precipitated a down Titanic blooms of chasm fears from those strong feet that followed after and has he begins to unfold the idea of how he ran in the mist of tears from those tender feet that kept following him and pursuing him.
He ends that long poem with these words. Fondest line. This weakest I am he whom thou seekers thou Dravis the love from the code Dravis to me. I've often thought of that is only an individual who is running from the point of salvation, but more recently I have come to the conclusion that it is not just that for many of us can run from the call of God.
Also in the position to which he is placing us.
It is very easy to be resistant to the tender shaping hands of the Potter and maybe God is trying to shape your life in some way. And even though in a narrower sense, there are ministerial implications in the largest sense. There's an application for your life. Whatever your calling is. And my message today is entitled Bristol clay intend a hands brittle clay intend to hands because in Jeremiah chapter 18 we are given the image of this prophet who was a very tenderhearted man himself.
He is known across biblical history as the weeping prophet. In fact, often Jesus himself wept over Jerusalem because of the pathos in the countenance of our Lord somebody asked him are you Jeremiah because they knew Jeremiah to be the man who wept over their cities and this tenderhearted man was taken to the house of a Potter and he got a lesson there a visual lesson on how the Potter very meticulously worked away at what he was trying to fashion and if it suddenly broken his hands. He had to pick up the clump re-shape it and start all over again.
I have often wondered if her rather than just applying to the nation which Jeremiah applies chapter 18 to was the idea of the application and Jeremiah's life, himself. Let me read for you the words and at the beginning, it may not seem to directly connected for us because there's a historic notation, but bear with me these names meant something to the people that he was writing to the words of Jeremiah, son of Hezekiah, one of the priests of an assault in the territory of Benjamin, the word of the Lord came to him in the 13th year of the reign of Josiah, son of a Mann king of Judah, and through the reign of Jehoiada, Kim, son of Joash king of Judah down to the fifth month of the 11th year of Zedekiah son of Joash king of Judah. When the people of Jerusalem went into exile.
The word of the Lord came to me saying before I formed you in the womb I knew you before you were born I set you apart, I appointed you as a prophet to the nations, our sovereign Lord.
I said I do not know how to speak.
I am only a child but the Lord said to me, do not say I am only a child.
You must go to everyone I send you do and say whatever I command you.
Do not be afraid of them for low I'm with you and will rescue you, declares the Lord.
Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me now. I have put my words in your mouth.
I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant. He goes on to say to Jeremiah, get yourself ready stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them or I will terrify you before them.
Today I have made you a fortified city on iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand up against the whole land now is when the trouble and the problem really begins in his life.
I am but a child. I'm too young. I cannot speak. Do you recall the same type of struggle that went on with Moses when he said look, I am not fit to do this do recall the same kind of struggle he met with one preacher after another. You recall the moment even when John the Baptist was so strong in his commitment began to wonder if Jesus was indeed the one whom he should've been looking for, or was there someone else because John found himself in prison but put yourself in Jeremiah's place. Now I can make this as personally applicable to our very day in history.
Follow me please. Jeremiah had a very difficult task. It was not just that he had a message to proclaim.
But he had a message to proclaim that the audience was not going to want to hear they were going to be irritated and angry at some of the things he was going to say and indeed wanted him banished from their land. What I mean by that, I see four out of the six kings. He mentions four out of them died violent deaths, unnatural debts. There was violence all over the land. Blood was being spilt the nation had gone completely out of control. It was skidding out of control and Jeremiah had the responsibility to stand before them and say to them.
This is the judgment of God upon us because we have turned our back upon him now. We would all rather do something else, wouldn't we think for a moment when the tragedy befell Oklahoma. Every one of us felt something within us died. This was like a national heart attack.
It was not a pain that was from without. This was not in Beirut where some building was being gutted.
This was not in Bosnia was shelling was going on and the genocide was underway. We don't think of this as Rwanda because Rwanda has had its own tragedy as tens of thousands have died.
Now all of a sudden it got so close as U.S. News & World Report so graphically captured the idea on its front page home grown terror.
I would want to go there you would want to go there and raise comfort. How marvelous to see Billy Graham is a pastor of the nation, comforting the people.
But what do you think Billy Graham would've felt like if God had said to him, Billy, you go to Oklahoma and say to them. This is a judgment upon the land because of the way you have lived, he would've had a battle on his hands.
Don't you think.
I'm not saying it is. I'm only saying what Jeremiah had to face when he had already seen tragedy already seen children dying. God said to him, don't be afraid of them. If you're terrified by them. Jeremiah Jeremiah I'll terrify you, and the cost which I'm calling you is to go to my people and tell them that turned their backs upon me and as I look at what is happening in our nation with all of the violence.
I do see two things happening that had happened in Jeremiah's time. Let me draw that parallel the first thing that I see is the irrationality of violence that is causing us to ask the question why a thousand times over the irrationality of violence that's asking us to ask the question why. And God is called us to attempt to deal with this so that I don't take you too far.
Some years ago Newsweek magazine in an article entitled children who killed had this opening paragraph before it described the murder in Savannah as small children, Yvette and Janet Weaver were mortal sisters but as they grew older they grew apart. Yvette became a star pupil. The ambitious bearer of her family's dreams. Janet was a tomboy slow in school and hot tempered. The normal rivalry ended tragically last March when an argument between them led to murder, according to police in Savannah, Georgia Janet aged 15 and the brother's fiancée 22-year-old Renee Thomas cornered 17-year-old Yvette in her bedroom and reportedly stabbed her 51 times. Then they dumped her body on the neighbor's property for three days. Janet remains silent, watching cartoons while police scoured the house for clues of the mysterious intruder finally confronted with questions. Both Janet and Renée broke down describing the murder in gory detail, but each insisting that the other was the actual killer police don't know who wielded the weapon so they charged both with murder. Renée's trial begins this week. Whatever the outcome hanging over this case and to many others like it is the last question, Yvette asked her sister as she stand up from the blood splattered floor. Why, why did you do this to me couple of years ago when I was in Fullerton, California having some meeting at Chuck Swindoll's church.
We were all having dinner around the table that night when the news had just broken of a real tragedy that it hit that community.
Six young men were involved. It became known as the honor roll crime the honor roll crime.
The oldest was 18 tree were 17 two were 16. They were involved in computer hacking. They were brilliant men a couple of them had been applied to and I think accepted at Princeton University in their senior year.
Now at high school. They were there, were involved in computer hacking getting paid money for changing the grades of other students who pay them so that they could break into computers and change the records they were needing more and more sophisticated parts to carry on this trade so they decided to break into a computer store, then five of them got afraid that one of them. 17-year-old Stephen Taipei was probably getting nervous about this and would not go along with that they were not sure, but they suspected it that he was truly getting afraid and would tell the police of what had been going on so on New Year's Eve.
They called him over to one of their homes and said they were all going to go out for New Year's Eve party and a 17-year-old Stephen Dave bent over a box where they were showing him something the others ganged up on him with baseball bats and a sledgehammer and absolutely pulverized him to death. But even as his body lay twitching. One of them was not show he was dead yet opened his mouth toward rubbing alcohol into the mount taped it with duct tape.
The mouth and the nose dragged his battered body across the floor put it into a grave that had already been dug covered it up with dirt and leaves. It took only 24 hours for the police to find out the criminals in that case and charge them. I have a letter in my files from a teacher who went to the church where I was preaching who showed me what this young man had written from prison heat to, in effect, was asking the question, why did I do it. I do not know, and I do not understand ladies and gentlemen, what I'm trying to tell you, please follow me. We are called at this time in our lives to be ministering in the nation and in a setting that is also skidding out of control with violence that is untamed violence that we do not even know how to explain, but people are so reluctant to admit that immorality is always preceded by impropriety and as long as we try to solve our dilemma by social solutions by educational solutions by merely psychological theories or philosophical analysis, we will never begin to touch the heart of the problem because as this young man is come to realize behind prison bars and others have do that ultimately the irrationality that generated such brutality is because there was impiety and the loss of a sense of the spirit until we can understand that what you see, long before the Oklahoma building was gutted. Another explosion had taken place. It had taken place in the hearts of young man whose spirit was blown down and then they blew up the building. Sometime later we want to come consider them apprehended. When we found them for blowing up the building. Not wondering what it is that blew up within them.
We go to psychiatrist who tell us the fathers are gone. The parents are gone, and hence this kind of violence. Well, if that is true, what we have done to the world is evicted, the father who createdthe whole world is now orphaned and maybe that's why the violence is here and into the setting. It is easy her. Believe me, to stand in front of weeping people who somehow are searching for answers but just two weeks ago I stood in front of a hostile audience, speaking at a faculty luncheon when one of the professors interrupted me in the middle of one of my answers and ultimately when I looked at him and tried to deal with them. He says to me you are antiquated your anachronism. You believe in the concept of truth.
You cannot arrive at the truth.
I asked him how did you arrive at and what he said to me all right tell me how you arrive at the truth. I said I'll tell you once and then you tell me once that all right said okay I said you start off with what is self-evident in logic.
If a statement is contradictory. It must be assumed to be false. He said there you go. He said your Aristotelian. He said all this law of non-contradiction is that you know what the problem with you philosophers. You can even tell us black is white and white is black and still do it by logic. He just told me he didn't believe in Aristotelian logic would send them black cannot be white and white cannot be black and is of the problem with you fellas as you can even make us believe that black is white and white is black. He had just shown.
He didn't believe in the law of non-contradiction, but didn't want to admit it, because it would destroy his own logic and his own argument. So finally, when I said how did you arrive at that.
He just waved his hand at me and students standing in the background were shaking their heads in disbelief. See the irrationality that precedes actions like that have gone back to an impiety and into such as SimCity and such a situation, and such a mindset is this God has called us and my dear friend as I stand before you in the ministry.
I am honored by God to be called. And yet, as I look at Jeremiah.
I see the struggle he had. I see the fear he had in understanding that nature of the call.
That is the same fear and the same struggle I have because even though we go week after week into the settings. Every time I leave a place love that I feel I have aged a year or two because you're so uptight you're so much in knots with all of the biggest guns standing in front of you trying to tear you down but then they have no answer is either for the tragedy that is staring us down and destroying us years ago Alexander Solzhenitsyn said this and he said it so powerfully.
Maybe God will answer my prayer someday and help me to be in the room with this man and talk to him for a little while because I think he's a prophet for our times to listen to what he said many years ago the West is on the verge of collapse created by its own hands between good and evil.
There is an irreconcilable contradiction. One cannot build one's national life without regard for this distinction. We, the oppressed people of Russia watch with anguish the tragic and fee movement of Europe, and he may as well say America. We offer you the experience of our suffering we would like you to accept it without having to pay the monstrous price of death and slavery that we have paid and if Solzhenitsyn were standing here today. I'll tell you what he would say what we are seeing now is a result of because men and women have forgotten God into that setting hundreds of years ago Jeremiah had to go and understand his call that it was a hostile audience. The irrational violence that was born out of impiety. God is calling us and it is important for me to understand that there is this goal and disclaim, but it is not possible to respond to a call like that and I say it has much to my colleagues who are seated here as I say it to you. It's striking me deeper and deeper into my heart, that with how to determine sacrifice we will never accomplish the call to which God has placed us in the audience tonight, our men and women. I wish you could meet there is a lovely woman, whom I have called mother for nearly 24 years was a missionary for over 40 years in Vietnam. She's here tonight. I wish you could've seen her in Vietnam. Day after day in her Land Rover. Driving through those miles in villages caring for the Cuyahoga people. The tribal people in Vietnam ministering to them. There's a man here who I love dearly mentor to me in many ways, John tamed the man from whom I first heard the gospel who came to India many years ago lived under difficult conditions, and you look across the historic landscape you will find that those who have left their mark have left their mark because something within them died that they laid at the feet of our Lord and sacrifice to him savoring glimpse at the cost of Christ's cooling each of our lives that concludes part one of this message titled Bristol clay and hand-to-hand you can listen to this message again by going to the website and clicking on the Nixon tab Y online be sure to check out our other pub costs when he went to become more culturally informed land onto questions about Christianity. Each pump cost is designed to help you grow in your Christian faith, and have more fruitful conversations about the every changing culture with your friends and family members. Check out all of our pub costs by visiting our website at Ozzie. I entered elegy and clicking on the Nixon email@example.com or is that I am.ca for days in Canada.
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