THE LORD’S AGENDA UNCOVERED!

I. What Jeremiah and Judah hoped to hear

II. What the LORD commanded


Jeremiah 1:4-10 4 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.” 6 “Ah,

Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.” 7

But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to

everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8 Do not be

afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. 9

Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to

me, “Now, I have put my words in your mouth. 10 See, today I appoint you

over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and

overthrow, to build and to plant.”

In the name of Jesus Christ, whose work of salvation we know and enjoy because

his Word was faithfully proclaimed to us, dear Christian friends,

In the waiting room sat two employees, both called in to meet with the

president of the company. Neither one knew the purpose of the meeting, but both

figured it had to do with a promotion to the next level in the company. Both figured

their experience and their dedication put them in a good position to advance. They

spoke openly to one another about why they thought they were there and both were

eager to get the meeting started.

Each was called into the president’s office separately. Both received the same

news. Both were let go! The company was making cuts and their experience worked

against them because they were making too much money and had to be cut from the

payroll!

Maybe you have been in a similar situation. You had an expectation of what was

going to happen at an important meeting or event, but then it turned out to be the

opposite of what you had hoped to hear. How did you handle it? Was there anger,

anxiety, disappointment, despair? Were you able to finally accept it because you

realized that it was best for all, rather than just best for you?


THE LORD’S AGENDA UNCOVERED!

I. What Jeremiah and Judah hoped to hear

II. What the LORD commanded


2 From this reading from Jeremiah before us, and the other readings we heard

today, we see THE LORD’S AGENDA UNCOVERED! Here we see I. What Jeremiah and

Judah hoped to hear and II. What the LORD commanded. We will also see how the

LORD uncovers his agenda in our life and how we need to deal with it.

Jeremiah was a priest in the land of Judah. The Northern Kingdom of Israel had

already been overrun by the Assyrians, but the Southern Kingdom of Judah was

somewhat safe and stable, especially with Josiah as their king. He had carried out

nationwide reform in both church and state. By word and example, he led his people

back to the LORD.

The people of Judah had earlier and often heard the LORD’s decree that he was

“going to bring disaster on this place and its people” (2 Kgs 22:16), but now with

Josiah’s reform they were hoping to hear something different. Maybe God would relent

and not destroy them! But the LORD uncovered his agenda and said, “I will remove

Judah also from my presence as I removed Israel, and I will reject Jerusalem, the city I

chose, and this temple...” (2 Kgs 22:27).

As a priest in Judah, Jeremiah kept a regular routine of offering up prayers for

the people and sacrifices to the LORD. He was a man of ritual and knew what to expect

each day of his life. But that was all about to change as the LORD uncovered his agenda

for Jeremiah.

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.” Although we might think of them as carrying out the same tasks, a prophet

was different from a priest. The LORD’s Old Testament prophets were sent from one

place to another to proclaim the LORD’s message and uncover the LORD’s agenda.

Unfortunately for Jeremiah, the LORD’s agenda was not what he had hoped to

hear. As a prophet he would give up his daily routine, he would go to the people rather

than have the people come to him, he would soon be instructed to announce a message

of doom and gloom rather than peace and prosperity, he would later be told not to

marry and have children so he wouldn’t have to see them perish like the rest of the

nation (16:1,2), and he would eventually be persecuted (38) for being faithful to the

LORD’s agenda.

So, Jeremiah’s first reaction was to speak against the LORD’s agenda. “Ah,

Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.” He was not

childish in age, but rather in preaching and teaching abilities, so he hoped the LORD

would accept that as an excuse not to serve.

But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to

everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. The LORD’s agenda was

uncovered and it was not what Jeremiah hoped to hear, but it was what the LORD

commanded, so Jeremiah listened and obeyed.

I have to think the accompanying words helped Jeremiah accept the LORD’s

agenda. Do not be afraid of them, for I am 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. See, today I appoint you over nations and

kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”


3 The LORD’s promises, power and protection help us to accept the LORD’s agenda

also. He assures us that he will never leave us (Mt 28:20), that he will protect us (2 Tm

4:18), that he will give us the proper words to say when called upon to witness to his

truth (Lk 21:15) and he gives us a message that not only uproot(s) and tear(s) down,

destroy(s) and overthrow(s), but also build(s) and plant(s).

The LORD’s agenda is what must be said and not what others want to hear, as

the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy in today’s second reading, “for the time will come

when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they

will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears

want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths”

(2 Tm 4:3-4).

The scientist Bill Nye, who is appearing at the Mendel Center next week, would

not want to hear from you that the world came into being by God’s creation and not by

evolution. Would you be willing to tell him?

The current President of the United States would not want to hear from you that

abortion is a sin because it is committing murder of the unborn. Would you be willing to

write him about this?

Celebrities Ellen Degeneres and Portia de Rossi would not want to hear from you

that their gay marriage opposes God’s will who makes it clear that marriage is to be one

man and one woman. Would you be willing to tweet them this information?

When we confessed our sins together this morning and you were given a time of

silence for meditation and reflection, what came to mind as ways that you sinned and

did not carry out the LORD’s agenda? In what ways have you said only what people

want to hear and not what the LORD commands? In what ways have you followed your

own agenda and kicked the LORD’s agenda to the curb?

The prophet Jeremiah did not only talk about sin and the LORD’s punishment for

it. He also spoke clearly about the LORD’s mercy and compassion, as well as the new

covenant of forgiveness (31:31-34). He was able to assure the people of Judah that God

would restore them and they would be able to re-build and re-plant.

Just as you and I need to hear this message of the LORD’s mercy and compassion

and forgiveness for our many sins, so others do, too. Do not be shy about announcing

the work Jesus did on their behalf through his life, death and resurrection to soothe the

LORD’s anger over their sins and to win forgiveness for them. As we just sang:

We have a gospel to proclaim,

good news for all throughout the earth,

the gospel of a Savior’s name;

we sing his glory, tell his worth (CW93 741 st 1).

The LORD’s agenda might not be what we had hoped to hear, but it is exactly

what we need to hear...and so do others. May we, like Jeremiah, remain faithful to our

faithful LORD and his message in spite of our age, our abilities or our apprehension! As

we heard Paul teach Timothy, so the LORD wants us to “keep our head in all situations,

endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of our

ministry” (2 Tm 4:5).

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