11 The Lord asked me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?”
I said, “A branch of an almond tree.”
12 The Lord then said, “You are right, for I’m watching over my word until it is fulfilled.” 13 The Lord asked me again, “What do you see?”
I said, “A pot boiling over from the north.”
14 The Lord said to me, “Trouble will erupt from the north against the people of this land.”
15 I’m calling for all the tribes of great nations from the north, says the Lord, and they will set up their rulers by the entrances of Jerusalem, on its walls, and in every city of Judah. 16 I will declare my judgment against them for doing evil: for abandoning me, worshipping other gods, and trusting in the works of their hands. 17 But you must prepare for battle and be ready to utter every word I command you. Don’t be frightened before them, or I will frighten you before them. 18 Today I have made you an armed city, an iron pillar, and a bronze wall against the entire land—the kings of Judah, its princes, its priests, and all its people. 19 They will attack you, but they won’t defeat you, because I am with you and will rescue you, declares the Lord.
Jeremiah 1: 11-19 (CEB)
Every day like Jeremiah, we see not only the move of God but how much humanity has fallen.
Our greatest challenge in seeing these sights is our response when God speaks. For instead of giving God an honest response, we try to come up with an answer that we feel would please God and at the same time confirm our narrow view of what God can and will do.
Too many times we look through our rose-colored lens of theology, tradition and culture and fail to see the hand of God in the simple things of life. If when we looked at a branch, we called it for what it is, instead of trying to make it something else. God could say to us, we are correct. And like Jeremiah we would be assured by God that he is watching over us.
The same holds true for the second question. For we cannot ignore the pots we encounter every day or say these pots don’t even exist. For everywhere we turn, not only in the north, but also the east, the south and the west, pots are boiling over.
There are pots that should concern us everywhere we turn. The pots of poverty and lack of opportunity in our inner cities, the post of greed and excess in our financial and political centers of power, the pot of terrorism on just about every continent, the pots of distrust between many nations, the pots of racism that may sit outside our doors or maybe inside our very doors.
These pots exist and like Jeremiah as men and women of God we must not only admit they exist. We must do our part in removing the greed, the hate and the fear, provide by others and sometimes ourselves, that is causing these pots to boil out of control.
Just as Jeremiah was given an opportunity, we are being given that same opportunity. For many this is not the first time we have heard the Good News that we serve a God who continues to give a chance to accept his call and become like a fortified city, an iron pillar and bronze wall.
Those attributes are not attributes of power, they are attributes of strength. Strength to fight the many battles we face in this thing call life and the battle between even sin and death.
As we prepare for Calvary’s Cross and the Empty Tomb, let us take on those attributes knowing that while being a Christian does not remove pain and suffering from our lives, we can live with the assurance that sin and death cannot prevail because the promise of deliverance has already been paid for.
So, if we come under attack because we have accepted the call, a call that is not just verbal, but a commitment to stand and a commitment to act. We must act against those pots and not only say what they said for is wrong but to do everything in our power to make sure they have no power. We can be assured that even though our efforts may not succeed, we will not be defeated because God is not only with us. He will rescue us in our time of danger.
Almighty God, we live in a world filled with choices and we admit that too many times we do not make the right choice, even though we have answered your call. We pray prayers that we think you want to hear. Prayers that excuse our actions, instead of praying genuine prayers because you already know our situation.
Give us 20/20 spiritual sight. Un-stop our spiritual ears so that we might not only hear you
but also the ones we are called to serve.
Please speak and give us not only the encouragement we need
but a better understanding of the plans you have for us to serve others.
Let us gain strength from this journey to Calvary.
This prayer we pray in the name of Jesus. AMEN
Th.M., Theology and Ethics
Leonard is a Th.M. student studying Theology and Ethics under Dr. Cannon. Because of her leave of absence, I will be studying until December of this year. After completion of his studies, Leonard plans to continue serving as Pastor of New Hope Fellowship in Hartfield, Virginia. He also plans to continue teaching Christian Ethics at the John Leland Theological Center.