Jeremiah 1:1-2:30, Philippians 4:1-23, Psalms 75:1-10 , Proverbs 24:17-20
Today is the 3rd day of October. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am Brian. And it’s great to be here with you today as we take the next step forward. And I was just realizing, man, this is my thirteenth October 3rd. Which means this will be the thirteenth time we’ve started the book of Jeremiah together, which is what we’re going to do today because that would be what the next step forward would look like. So Jeremiah is one of the most intriguing books of prophecy in the Old Testament. And this is in part because of who Jeremiah presents himself to be. He’s just very authentic. He was committed to obeying God, but he did not like everything he was asked to do by God. He didn’t like saying everything God told him to say. And at times he wanted to just wash his hands of it all because it appeared that no one was listening anyway. And in part, that was true. Jeremiah’s frustration wasn’t all in his head. Israel had turned its back on God. And for more than two decades, Jeremiah was this lone voice warning that where they were headed was not going anywhere pleasant or prosperous. And this often led to conflict and even imprisonment for Jeremiah. What he was saying was simply not good for business and powerful people were fed up with his interference. At one point, as we’ll see when we get to the later parts of this book, he was thrown into a pit to die. But through all these experiences, Jeremiah stayed faithful to God and sure enough, his warnings were accurate. The Babylonian Empire invaded the land of Judah in 587 BC. Jerusalem fell in the conquest. Solomon’s stunning palace that we journeyed through, watched it being built, watched it being dedicated, this great temple of God was utterly destroyed. And the remnants of Israel’s finest city and monuments were left in rubble and ash and people were carried away. And so, that’s the territory that we’re heading into. And as with all of the Scriptures we’ll find them raising up a mirror and allowing us to look into our own lives and examine our own paths as we continue forward. So we’re reading from the Common English Bible this week. Jeremiah 1:1-2:30 today.
Okay. So, we finished Paul’s letter to the Philippians today, as was probably fairly apparent as he closed the letter. But Paul led us into some very famous portions of the New Testament and told us some very important things. For example, don’t worry about anything. Let that sit there for a second. That’s a pretty important thing. Don’t worry about anything. So, all together now. Don’t worry about anything. Instead, right? So, rather than worrying about stuff, instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. So, Paul’s taking us through this process. This is not just a manic, tell God what you need. If you don’t come through for me right now, I’m gonna go down. Now this is a process of asking God for what you need as you thank him for all he has done. So, you’re looking back and seeing God’s faithfulness in your life, knowing that that has not been discontinued. That will continue forward. According to Paul, if we’ll do this, then we’ll experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. So, this famous portion of scripture, mostly because it promises an unexplainable peace, this unexplainable peace that we very rarely get to experience, but maybe that’s because we’re not paying attention to the process. If we’re gonna keep worrying about everything and not approach God with gratitude for all that he’s done on our behalf, than we can’t expect to experience peace beyond our understanding. So, my little guy, Ezekiel, he started school for the first time just a couple weeks ago. And that’s been quite a bit of an adjustment for him. Those first days, those first couple weeks, he was worried a lot. In fact, he would come home from school and kind of start whimpering and it would go all the way till bedtime. He didn’t want to go back. All the disruption that was coming into his life, all of the unknowns, all of the new faces, all of the commotion, all of the new rituals, all of the new noises. Everything was out of his control. And so he would worry inside. And yes, we can sit down and explain to him that there’s nothing to worry about. And no one was going to let anything happen to him. That we are there. That Jesus is with him whatever he goes. All of these things. But he was choosing to worry because it’s something that he could get his mind around. Everything else was too big. Until he began to understand that many people were caring for him. Many people were protecting him, and this wasn’t a bad thing. This was an opportunity to learn how to read. That this was a gift instead of an obstacle. Once he settled in, understanding that there’s no where he can go that Jesus isn’t gonna be with him and that there’s no one against him, this is just a new experience, he did settle down. Paul’s telling us- I know this is like a kindergarten example, maybe not the best example for the kinds of things that we face in our lives, but we do have to remember it’s the faith of a child that unlocks the kingdom. And these principles, whether we learn them early or young, they have to be learned. And Paul is telling us, there’s a way to unlock this posture where you’re not worried all the time. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right and pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. So, if we’ll focus our energy there on the things that are going right instead of the things that are going wrong. And by the way, for most of us, if we actually had to add that up, way more is going right than is going wrong. So, if we’ll focus our energy with gratitude toward the Lord, these things that are going right, the deficits that we feel, whether they’re inside of us or they’re the circumstances that we’re facing, they can no longer distract us from the union that we have with Jesus, the collaborative relationship that we’re enjoying in this world, which is our destiny. And Paul summed this up for us as we concluded Philippians by telling us that, here’s how he worked it out. And in his words, I’ve learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with plenty. I’ve learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it’s with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. So, the bottom line is that the anxiety, the worry, the obsessive behavior, this is simply indicating to us that we are not doing what Paul is suggesting we try. And at some point we have to say, What do I exactly have to lose by fully trusting in God and what his word is telling me? What if I did focus all of my energy on things that are true and honorable and right and pure and lovely and admirable? What if that’s what I was thinking about instead of this obsession about all the disruptions in my life? What if I did believe that there was a peace available that’s beyond my understanding and somehow supersedes the circumstances that I see around me. What would happen if I stopped worrying about anything and instead prayed about everything and trusted God? Because I can look back and see that he’s been faithful. And I know that he will continue to be faithful. And that may not look like what I have prescribed for myself, but I’m surrendering. This is not about my choices and my decisions. I’m not trying to create my own life outside of God. What if I fall face first into him and trust him completely? What do I have to lose here? Paul’s saying that the peace that passes understanding is available if we’ll do these things. Which means that we have to set aside our agendas and our outcomes and trust God, understanding that this is a great adventure through this life. And we’re going to be okay.
So, Holy Spirit, come into that because it’s a daily struggle. There’s always plenty to worry about. There’s always things that need to be maintained and fixed. There’s always not enough time to do all of the things that we need to do. It’s never not an opportunity to feel like we’re falling further and further behind. But this is because we’re trying to do everything in our own strength when You have invited us to live differently, to stop worrying about all this, to commune with You, to talk with You about everything, to move through life with You in a grateful way because You have been faithful every day of our lives. You’re telling us that we can experience a peace that exceeds anything that we can understand. And that that peace will guard our hearts and minds as we live in You. And so we’re turning towards You and confessing that we don’t know exactly how to practically live that out in every moment, but this is the moment we need to be responsible for. And so we’re being responsible in this moment to surrender to You and open our hearts fully to You, asking You to help us in the moments that become crazy when we think that we’ve gotta grab for control again. Help us Holy Spirit to trust You in all things so that we might experience the peace that You bring, the comfort, the guida nce that You bring. Come, Holy Spirit, we pray. In Jesus name. Amen.
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And that’s it for today. I’m Brian. I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.