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God’s Word for You

Jeremiah 18:23

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Friday, January 16, 2015

23 But you, LORD, know all their plots to kill me.
Do not forgive their guilt.
  Do not blot out their sin from your sight.
Let them be overthrown before you.
  Deal with them in the time of your anger.

“But you, LORD, know,” Jeremiah confesses. He has used this phrase before (Jeremiah 12:3, 15:15), and with it Jeremiah shows the depth of his faith. God was more than aware of Jeremiah; God knew what Jeremiah was going through. God was with him when he was taunted, when he was persecuted, and when his life was threatened. This was the promise that the Lord made to Paul in Corinth when he was threatened: “I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you” (Acts 18:10). Sometimes God allows physical harm to come to his people and his prophets in particular (Acts 7:59,60, 12:2). We will hear later in this book about a prophet who was murdered by King Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 26:20-21). But Jeremiah prayed that God would be with him and would keep protecting him. God knew about their plots and their scheming, and Jeremiah asked the Lord to deal with them according to his will.

The will of God is not a servant of our way of thinking. God’s will might run contrary to what many people might expect. By treating all mankind according to his righteousness and holiness with the added gift of his mercy, God has this in mind for each person in the world, whether a believer or an unbeliever or an openly declared enemy. For this exercise, I have identified every human being as “this sinner.”

  1. Does this sinner trust in Christ?
  2. Does this sinner impact the lives of believers in such a way that might benefit them?
  3. Does this sinner impact the lives of unbelievers in such a way that might help lead them to faith or clear away obstacles to faith?
  4. Would this sinner’s (inevitable) death affect the faith of other sinners?
  5. Would sparing this sinner’s life for a time give God glory?
  6. Would permitting this sinner’s death at a particular time give God glory?
  7. Would permitting or not permitting an event cause this or another sinner’s heart to be hardened?

Whether my life or death might give God glory or help the path to faith for some other person, is something I should consider when praying for God’s help in my life. A Christian’s life of service to God should not become crowded with irrelevancies, but be filled with the joy of being a tool in God’s hand, doing the Lord’s work, with the help of the Holy Spirit.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.