Call Unto Me Sermon Series
Jeremiah 33:3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
Intro: As announced last Wednesday night, the theme for 2014 is on the subject of prayer. We will start the year with several messages from this verse to lay a foundation and establish in our hearts and minds just exactly what is involved in prayer. We will break this verse down into three simple messages over the next couple of weeks. Let’s begin by looking at the context of this verse.
I. The Lord’s Illumination – vs. 1 – the word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah
The book of Jeremiah is unique among the OT prophets, because God reveals the prophet’s heart more than with any of the other prophets. Jeremiah’s plight was sobering.
- Jeremiah was the prophet of Judah’s midnight hour. (Baxter)
- Jeremiah was the “weeping prophet” (Jer 9:1; 13:17),
- the “reluctant prophet” (Jer 1:6),
- “prophet of loneliness” (he was commanded not to marry, Jer 16:2),
- the persecuted prophet = rejected, ridiculed, beaten, falsely accused — Jer 11:18-23; Jer 12:6; Jer 15:10; Jer 18:18; Jer 20:1-3
- (in stocks); Jer 20:7
- (laughingstock) Jer 26:1-24; Jer 37:11-38:28,
- accused of treachery (Jer 38:4),
- lowered into a cistern (Jer 38:6);
- carried, against his will, by his countrymen into Egypt (Jer 43:1–7).
Our text finds him in a prison. The Bible says he was “shut up”. — (Jeremiah 32:2, Jeremiah 32:3; 2 Timothy 2:9).
Jeremiah is being held for “treasonable” advice given to Judah, to surrender to the Chaldeans.
He was in the courtyard of the prison.
This was so that the rulers and the leaders could have easier access to discuss the prophecies.
Have you ever been “shut up” in a prison before?
Prisons come in all shapes and sizes.
A prison can be physical, as it was in Jeremiah’s case.
It can also be another type of prison:
- It can be a mental prison – you are being held captive in your own mind.
- II Cor. 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
- It can be a financial prison – you are held captive by your financial situation
- It can be a relationship prison – you are in a relationship crisis over which you seem to have no control
- It can be a spiritual prison – you feel like you are completely unable to move forward spiritually
No matter what type of prison you may be in, aren’t you thankful that God and His word can penetrate that prison?!
Jeremiah couldn’t get out, but God could get in.
Though Jeremiah was shut up in bondage, the word of God was not bound.
Jeremiah was shut up, but the Word of God had free course!
I’m grateful for all the times the Word of God came to me when I was shut up in a prison.
II. The Lord’s Identification – vs. 2 – the Lord is his name.
Both times in this verse we see the word LORD with all letters capitalized.
This rendering for LORD is the name Jehovah= “the existing One”.
He takes a few minutes and reminds Jeremiah of Who He is.
I like to think of it as a “station identification”.
He was tuned in to the right frequency, but just needed a quick reminder of Who was speaking.
God introduced Himself as “the maker”, “the LORD that formed it, to establish it” and closed out with “the LORD is his name.”
He was reminding Jeremiah that His name and His power supersedes any situation or scenario.
NOTE: Jeremiah prayed in 32:17, 18
God confirms it in 32:27.
Interesting isn’t it how often He has to do a “station identification”
God was reminding Jeremiah that He was never “shut up” or “imprisoned”.
He is not subject to the laws of man, nor is he subject to the will of man.
He is the EXISTING ONE.
He started it. He formed it. He established it. HE IS THE LORD!!!
III. The Lord’s Invitation – vs. 3 – Call unto me…
This word is translated many different ways in the Old Testament.
The word “call” is the Hebrew word – qara’ (pronounced kaw-raw’)
It is translated proclaim, preach, read, cry, etc.
But it is translated “to call out” 528 times.
The Creator – the One that made it, the One that formed it, the One that established it invites us to CALL UNTO HIM!!
Notice an Old Testament story that best illustrates this wonderful invitation.
Turn to I Kings 18 – a very well known story.
Notice these unique characteristics.
1. Elijah mocked the prophets of Baal. He encouraged them to “cry out” to their god.
Same Hebrew word as Jer. 33:2 – “qara” to your god.
They did – they cried aloud. All day. And got no answer!
- 26 And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made.
- 27 And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.
- 28 And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them.
- 29 And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.
Twice the Scripture confirms – they hadn’t any to answer. Their god couldn’t hear their “qara”.
Their calling out – their crying out – fell on deaf ears.
2. Elijah called the people around. Repaired the altar. Laid the wood in order. Put on the sacrifice. Poured 12 barrels of water over it. And notice how he began his prayer.
- 30 And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down.
- 31 And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the LORD came, saying, Israel shall be thy name:
- 32 And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD: and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed.
- 33 And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood.
- 34 And he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time.
- 35 And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water.
- 36 And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word.
- 37 Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.
- 38 Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
Elijah’s prayer was not for fire, but a request for the true LORD of Israel to be revealed.
Notice the response. The fire of the LORD fell.
Notice the response of the people.
- 39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God.
Conclusion: I’m afraid we are short-changing ourselves because we fail to “qara” – CALL UNTO ME!! We need to repair our altars, and get back to recognizing who we are praying to!!
Jer. 33:3b …and I will answer thee…
Intro: Last week, we began a series of messages that will draw our attention to our theme verse for 2014. We looked at “The Prayer” and focused on the importance of calling on God. Today, we’ll look at “The Promise”.
I. His Promise is Reliable
- 2 Samuel 7:28 And now, O Lord GOD, thou art that God, and thy words be true…
- Psalms 119:160 Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.
- 1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
- Revelation 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True…
FAITHFUL: trusty, faithful; of persons who show themselves faithful in the transaction of business, the execution of commands, or the discharge of official duties; one who kept his plighted faith, worthy of trust; that can be relied on
People today are putting their confidence in everyone and everything except the Lord.
- They trust their doctors. And he can’t find anything wrong when you’re in severe pain.
- They trust their mechanics. And they end up broke down after he’s fixed their car.
- They trust their building contractors. And their house is finished 6 months behind schedule.
- They trust their boss. And you still haven’t gotten that raise he promised.
- They trust their family members. And they still haven’t paid you back that money you loaned them.
- They trust their children. And they still embarrass the life out of you the first time you let them go anywhere!
- They trust their elected officials. And they vote with the party you voted against.
- They trust their favorite sports team to win the big game. And they throw 4 interceptions and lose the game.
- They trust their news reporters. And you still don’t know what’s going on in the world.
- They trust the weather man. And it rains – no matter what!
But they can’t trust God! And He’s never failed you one time!! How sad is that??
- Romans 3:4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.
Bottom Line: If God said He would answer if we call – HE WILL ANSWER!!!
II. His Promise is Revealing
Notice the statement He made – I will answer thee, and SHEW THEE
Many times God’s people hesitate to CALL UNTO God because they do not feel worthy.
They do not feel that they have a right to ask God for things.
I want you to get something.
God answering your prayer is not about you.
It’s ALWAYS about HIM.
He doesn’t answer your prayer to make you happy.
He doesn’t answer your prayer to please you.
He doesn’t answer your prayer to make you look good.
He doesn’t answer your prayer because you’re spiritual.
He doesn’t answer your prayer because you are entitled.
He doesn’t answer your prayer because your worthy.
He doesn’t answer your prayer because you love him.
He doesn’t ask us to CALL UNTO HIM to find out what we need!
- Matthew 6:8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
GOD ANSWERS PRAYER TO BRING HIMSELF GLORY!!!
He answers prayer to make HIM look good.
He answers prayer because HE’s entitled.
He answers prayer because HE’s worthy!!
He want us to call on Him because it gives Him an opportunity to REVEAL HIS POWER!!
God wants us to call on Him because He has a plan – and He ALLOWS us to have a small part by ASKING Him.
When Eleazer prayed for a bride for Isaac, God answered him while he was still asking.
- Gen. 24:15 And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out,
God wanted Isaac to have a bride worse that Eleazer did.
He answered Eleazer’s prayer to REVEAL HIMSELF!
Look at verse 14: And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master.
God answering our call is based on His will to glorify Himself.
III. His Promise is Reassuring
- Psalms 4:3 But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him.
His answer is reassuring because…
1. It confirms our Father/son relationship.
- I John 5:14, 15 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
2. It reminds us that He cares.
- Exodus 3:7 And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;
3. It reaffirms His closeness
It is reassuring to a child of God to know that the Creator of the universe is just a call away!
I’m reminded of some reassuring examples in the Scripture of just how close God really is when I call.
And He’s close – not just on small, simple, insignificant prayers.
He’s close by and ready to answer the BIG, IMPORTANT, URGENT prayers!
Joseph standing before Pharaoh:
- Genesis 41:16 And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.
Moses on the bank of the Red Sea – (Moses said …stand still and see the salvation of the Lord…)
- Exodus 14:15 And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:
Joshua praying for the sun to stand still:
- Joshua 10:14 And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel.
Solomon’s prayer for a Divine manifestation:
- II Chron. 7:41 Now therefore arise, O LORD God, into thy resting place, thou, and the ark of thy strength: let thy priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation, and let thy saints rejoice in goodness.
- 42 O LORD God, turn not away the face of thine anointed: remember the mercies of David thy servant.
- 1 Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house.
- 2 And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD’S house.