Jeremiah 11-12, Prepare Yourself For The Conflicts Ahead

Jeremiah 11-12, Prepare Yourself For The Conflicts Ahead
1. Prepare Yourself For Personal Attacks (11:18-19)
2. Prepare Yourself For Feelings Of Vengeance (11:20)
3. Prepare Yourself To Struggle With God’s Ways (11:21-12:4)
4. Prepare Yourself For More Difficult Conflicts (12:5-6)

Pastor Jerry Simmons teaching Jeremiah 11-12, Prepare Yourself For The Conflicts Ahead

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Jerry Simmons shared this Verse By Verse Bible study from Jeremiah on Sunday, August 28, 2022 using the New King James Version (NKJV).

More Bible teachings by Jerry Simmons


Well, here in Jeremiah Chapter 11, we find there is a conspiracy to kill Jeremiah.

Here Jeremiah is a prophet of the Lord sent by the Lord.

He has the words of the Lord and it comes to light.

There is a conspiracy.

There's multiple plots to kill Jeremiah, and Jeremiah seems to be quite surprised by this as we read the passage here in Jeremiah Chapter 11.

And of course we know he shouldn't really have been surprised because God told him in advance, back in Jeremiah Chapter one, as God was commissioning Jeremiah, that the people of the land would fight against him.

God's promise at that point was although they will fight against you, they will fail because I am with you.

And so God.

Gave him the promise of his presence, but also.

Told him in advance.

That there would.

Be these attempts on his life, the attempts to silence him, the attempts to kill Jeremiah.

As we consider this discovery that Jeremiah experiences as we kind of process it with him walking through these next few verses, I've titled the message this morning.

Prepare yourself for the conflicts ahead.

Prepare yourself for the conflicts ahead as we walk through this passage with Jeremiah and kind of experience it with him, there's much for us to glean and to grab hold of, because there are many parallels in our lifetime to the life and experiences that Jeremiah.

That Jeremiah was living in a time where his nation had turned from God and was resisting calls to repentance by God.

And it's not hard.

It's not a far stretch to look at our own nation, to look at our society around us and understand as a society we have turned from God and our resisting calls.

To repentance, Jeremiah lived amongst the nation of Judah, which was a nation that was crumbling.

Through those internal issues of turning from God and rebellion, also from the outward pressures that were being applied through the surrounding nations, there was a great deterioration that was taking place.

And again, we can look around in our society and see some parallels there, the crumbling of our society that is taking place.

As there are outward pressures and inward decay as we have turned away from God.

And like Jeremiah, we have been called to minister in the midst of this difficult situation, in the midst of this downward descent of a nation, we are called to bring forth the light of God, the truth of God, and to make known the words of God.

And you know what that means for us is?

Well, you can think about it this way.

You need to toughen up.

You need.

To prepare yourself.

For the conflicts ahead.

We, of course, would love for revival to take place and for society to be reset in the ways of God.

And yes, we pray for revival.

But we need to prepare for battle.

Pray for revival while you prepare for battle because, well, we know what the scriptures say and we know what we can expect.

And just as the Lord told Jeremiah in advance, again in Jeremiah Chapter one, the Lord told him in advance, listen, there's going to be attacks, but I'm going to.

Make you strong.

Like a fortified city so that you can withstand the attacks.

And and they will fight you.

They're going to come against you.

But I am with you that that Jeremiah knew in advance there would be conflict.

There would be battle that he would have to withstand.

And yet we find in the passage he's taken aback by the idea that there would be these plots against him and.

We can find ourselves in very similar circumstances where we should know there are battles ahead.

We should.

Be aware of those conflicts and be preparing for them.

But so many times in our lives we are caught off guard like Jeremiah, and we're so surprised that there is a battle, that there is resistance, that there is conflict and and we are unprepared when it actually shows up at our door.

The apostle Peter and first Peter, chapter one, verse 13 tells us to prepare our minds for action and exercise self-control, but all your hope and the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world.

He calls us here to reset our thinking.

So that we prepare our minds for action, that we are prepared for the battle that is about to take place, and that our hope is not in this life or in a comfortable life or in, you know, a a perfect situation, but that our hope is in the things that will take place when Jesus is revealed to the world.

That we do not get too settled in this life, but that our hope is in eternity and that is where we need to be.

We need to prepare our minds so that our hope.

That our satisfaction, that our security comes not from here and now, not from ongoing steady relationships or perfect workplace scenarios or good bank account situations or things like that, but that our hope and our security comes from the Lord and what he has.

And what he has promised.

And so there's four things that we'll look at this morning for things to prepare for so that we are ready for the conflicts.

The first thing we'll find is here in verse 18 and 19 of Jeremiah Chapter 11.

Prepare yourself for personal attacks.

Prepare yourself for personal attacks.

Verse 18 and 19 again.

Then the Lord told me about the plots my enemies were making against me.

I was like a lamb being led to the slaughter.

I had no idea they were planning to kill me.

Let's destroy this man and all his words, they said.

Let's cut him down so his name will be forgotten forever.

The Lord reveals to Jeremiah there's a plot against him.

We find out a little bit leader couple verses down in verse 21. The plot is taking place in his hometown and Anna thought the city he grew up in there was this conspiracy, these plots.

To take Jeremiah out.

And he had no idea until the Lord.

Told him about.

It it was a special revelation.

Maybe God sent somebody to him.

Maybe God told Jeremiah directly we don't know, but all of the sudden the Lord has brought this to his attention and.

He says.

Boy, was I clueless.

I was like a lamb being led to the slaughter.

I was just innocently, you know, walking around Lulu.

Here I am.

I'm gonna go.

Give the words of the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Everybody and everybody is going to love it.

It's gonna be amazing.

Totally unaware.

But the people that I'm addressing are working out ways to kill me and to Take Me Out, to cut me down so that my name will be forgotten forever.

Jeremiah says.

I was not prepared for that.

I was so blind.

To the idea of this kind of resistance, this kind of attack or conflict against the work of God, against the word of God, and against me as the agent of God.

This is again something that we can relate to and something that happens to us, and many times we are blindsided by the plots and the attacks of the enemy because we're walking along and and just thinking glorious things.

Just only thinking wonderful things, just focused on, you know, the the fanciful ideas that we have in our head.

Of what amazing things could go on.

But we also need.

To be understanding the reality.

Of the battle that we.

Are in.

The apostle Paul in Second Corinthians, chapter 2.

Tells us that our lives are a Christ like fragrance rising up to God.

But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those.

Who are perishing?

To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom.

But to those who are being saved, we are a life giving perfume.

And who is adequate for such a task as this?

You need to understand that the very reality of you as a believer having the Holy Spirit dwelling within you.

It means that as you navigate from place to place and you operate in your workplace and in your your homes or with your family in the church, that that there is a an aroma that is.

Coming from you?

Now to check that aroma.

Is it?

Is it a good aroma or a bad aroma?

Paul says it's different. It's perceived differently depending on the kind of people that you're interacting with. And we quite enjoy coming around together at church and bumping into each other and go, oh, you smell good, man, the Lord's working in your life and you've got just some influence of the Holy Spirit upon you and the Lord's moving, and oh, it's it's such a beautiful thing to enjoy the aroma.

Of God's work in each other's lives.

But you need to understand that same aroma.

Is experienced differently by the world around.

And So what others here in the church might say.

Oh wow, it's so pleasant.

You always have a smile on your face.

That smile in your face elsewhere might really strike a chord of resentment and hurt and provoke attack by people around you who are unbelievers who are perishing.

That work of God in your life we celebrate in.

His glorious here.

But also that work of God in your life.

Causes a foul odor.

For those who do not know the Lord.

So here's Jeremiah, hearing from the Lord, delivering the word of the Lord.

And he's kind of forgotten this first exhortation that God gave him.

There would be resistance, or maybe he remembered it, but he didn't quite think it would be so bad as to actually take his life.

He just thought, you know, maybe they'll scowl at me or just kind of ignore what I have to say, but.

No, he faced real opposition and real battle, and we do as well.

As we continue in this life as we.

Continue to watch.

People turn from God and our nation decline.

We we can expect this more and more and as we approach the return of Jesus Christ.

We should expect this more and more in Luke Chapter 21, that great discourse where Jesus talks about the end times.

He goes into this and of course we can't go into all the depth, but in Luke Chapter 21 he gives us some of the signs of those end times. He says Nation will go to war against Nation Kingdom.

Against Kingdom there will be earthquakes and famines, plagues, and they'll be terrifying things and great malicious signs from heaven.

But before all this occurs, there will be a time of great persecution.

You will be dragged into synagogues and prisons and you will stand trial before kings and governors, because you are my followers.

Jesus says you need to understand before all of these things unfold completely and all the end times prophecies are fulfilled, there is going to be serious persecution.

And the world has experienced persecution ever since the beginning, since Christ walked the Earth.

We in our society have been privileged and blessed to have very little impact of that persecution.

But the reality is it exists and it will intensify and increase even.

In our own.

Society, it is safe to understand.

It's safe to consider that.

But Jesus goes on to say in verse 13 of Luke 21, but this will be your opportunity.

To tell them about me.

So he says, look, you need to understand this persecution in a different way and not just be so concerned with and consumed with and thinking about your comfort and how offended you are at these people who have attacked you in this way.

You need to understand this.

Persecution is your opportunity.

You know, in the business world, there's the kind of the idea that every problem is an opportunity, right?

And it's just kind of a sales pitch for anything that you want to sell.

But Jesus says, look, your persecution, those that attack you, and the conflict that you experience.

This will be your opportunity to tell them.

About me you need to prepare yourself for personal attacks, because those personal attacks are opportunities for you to testify of Jesus.

He goes on to say in verse 16 of Luke 21, even those closest to you, your parents, brothers, relatives and friends will betray you.

They will even kill some of you, and everyone will hate you because you are my followers.

But not a hair of your head will perish by standing firm.

You will win your souls.

Jesus here gives a really strong exhortation.

The betrayal that you may experience is going to be deep.

It's gonna cut deep and it's gonna hurt much.

But stand firm.

Because this is your opportunity.

To testify of Jesus.

As a follower of Jesus, he says you can expect to be hated, and as we approach the end, this will increase.

This will intensify.

We need to be careful not to like, dream up a fantasy of our future.

That is just things get better and better and better and better until we enter into eternity.

And hey, if that's the life that God gives you and praise the Lord, and that's awesome.

But for the majority of us?

We need to prepare.

For personal attacks, listen, there are battles ahead.

And of course, yes, as I mentioned, you can think about the national decline.

You can pray for revival while you prepare for battle.

You can think about the end times, but even closer than.

That is Christmas.

Listen, prepare for personal attacks. Luke 21 could be fulfilled 1000 years from now.

But Christmas is just a couple months away.

And you're going to have to be with family.

And you should not be surprised when you hang.

Out with your family.

When there are personal attacks.

And maybe you don't have to wait till Christmas.

Maybe you're gonna hang out with your family next weekend.

Or maybe tomorrow you're gonna be in the.

Workplace and there's going to be some personal attacks.

That we don't have to just think about these kind of big picture down the down the line.

Kind of things.

Yes, Jesus could return tomorrow. He could also return in 1000 years, but tomorrow you can expect to face personal attacks.

Because there is.

This aroma.

As a follower of Christ that you are diffusing all around you of the work of God in your life and the world.

Hates it and.

Satan hates it and wants to take you out.

And so there is going to be conflict.

Prepare yourself.

Come back to the battlefield.

Like sometimes we kind of live with our head in the clouds, right?

Like just dreaming out this fantasy that we want everything to be great, but we need to come back to the battlefield and recognize there are conflicts ahead.

And let's not be caught off guard when we are personally attacked again, Peter says.

Prepare your minds for action.

Prepare yourself.

This is going to be a battle.

You are going to be attacked, you're going to be slandered, you're going to be persecuted, you are going to be attacked in a.

Variety of ways.

Because of the very simple fact that you are a follower of Jesus Christ.

Because you believe in Jesus.

And through this God able to do a work, but it's really helpful for us when we are prepared for it and not taken off guard, taken by surprise when these things happen.

Well, moving on to verse 20, we get point #2 this morning, and that is prepare yourself for feelings of vengeance.

Prepare yourself for feelings of vengeance. Check out verse 20, Jeremiah responds. Oh Lord of heaven's armies.

You make righteous judgments, and you examine the deepest thoughts and secrets.

Let me see your vengeance against them, for I have committed my cause.

To you.

Here's Jeremiah, the servant of the Lord, the Prophet of the Lord.

The Lord reveals to him the plots, the hatred, the animosity and the attempt to take his life.

And he says, alright Lord, take them out.

Let me see you see that in verse 20.

Let me see your vengeance against them, Lord, I want to see their faces when you smack them down, but I can't wait to see the look in their eyes when they experience what they deserve and the judgment that you're going to give to them.

He calls out in verse 20. Oh Lord of heaven's armies, God Almighty creator, bring it down on them and let me see it.

Some might begin to wonder, where did the Weeping Prophet go?

Jeremiah is supposed to be the Weeping Prophet, and here he is.

Paul vengeance.

And I wanna see that vengeance upon them.

What Jeremiah is experiencing here is quite normal and even appropriate.

He's offended by their attack.

He's offended by the plot.

He's upset.

But he's not taking matters into his own hands.

And although he is praying for vengeance, he's leaving vengeance in God's hands.

He's not trying to implement themselves this himself.

He's not trying to be the inflictor of vengeance.

He's saying, Lord, I'm giving this to you.

He's being honest.

About his heart, where he's at and his response to this attack.

When you have these feelings, this is the right thing to do.

When you're offended and upset and you can't believe in how terrible that someone would treat you that way, or talk to you that way, or say that to you, or say that about you behind your back, Oh my goodness.

Taking it to the Lord is the right thing to do.

Because he is.

The one that vengeance belongs to.

God made this claim in Deuteronomy chapter 32.

He says.

Am I not storing up these things, sealing them away in my treasury?

All of the sins, all of the injustices, all the wrong that is being done.

I'm storing all this up.

God says I will take revenge.

I will pay them back in due time, their feet will slip, their day of disaster will arrive, and their destiny will overtake them.

God claims this right?

This is his.

Domain to pay back wrong.

And so Jeremiah has been wronged.

And he goes to the one in whose domain that is, God said.

This is your domain.

This is your domain, God, so I'm.

Coming to you.

I'm not gonna try to take this on myself.

I'm not going to try to afflict vengeance myself.

I do have the requests, Lord I.

Hope I can see it.

Because, boy, do they deserve judgment.

But, Lord, you're.

The God of vengeance.

I've committed my cause to you.

I've committed myself to you.

Lord, you take care of this.

Very often as we are offended.

We will experience feelings.

And this is the right course to take.

To take those feelings those desires.

Unto the Lord.

Remember James and John, sons of Thunder?

Remember how they got that nickname?

Luke, Chapter 9.

Jesus is on his way.

To Jerusalem.

They tried to stop by a village, and the village says no, no, thank you, we don't want Jesus here.

James and John are offended.

They're upset.

How dare they reject Jesus?

How dare they turn him away?

And so they turned to Jesus and say, Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven and consume them like Elijah did?

We're offended.

We feel personally attacked.

Lord, do you want us to just rain down fire from heaven on them?

And Jesus rebukes them and says you do not know what manner of spirits you're of.

You've misunderstood.

Your role and your ministry.

You've misunderstood my purpose here, he says. The son of man did not come to destroy men's lives, but.

To save them.

Now what these guys did was react.

They're emotional.

They they're offended.

But what they did good was they took the that to Jesus.

They didn't attempt to call down fire by themselves.

They first asked permission, right?

Listen, sometimes God wants to use us in the implementation of his vengeance.

And so when he incorporates us into his plans and purposes, then there's nothing wrong with participating in that.

And sometimes he will call us to bring discipline and to be part of that.

But that's his call and that's up to him.

What they did was they took it to Jesus and said, do you want us to?

So is this what you want?

Listen, Jesus, this.

Is what we want.

This is how I'm feeling.

Is this what you want?

Is this what you desire?

Listen, you need to prepare yourself for feelings of vengeance.

You're not above them.

You're going to experience them because you will be attacked personally, unjustly, and it will be infuriating the things that will be said and the ways that you will be attacked.

I think it's surprising how often we're surprised when someone is.

Rude to us?

It's like shocking someone cut me off on the freeway or someone took my parking spot.

You know, you finally got there to Costco and it's like crazy parking lot and then also there's the spot and then just as you're.

About to get there soon.

And you say, oh, Lord of heavens armies.

Call down fire upon that vehicle, right?

We are so offended.

And the feelings of vengeance?

Rise up.

Don't be surprised.

Prepare yourself.

You're going to feel that way.

Learn how to direct those feelings to the Lord.

If I get upset every time one of you make a joke about how bold I am, I'm just going to live a fully upset life.

Aaliyah laughing at me right in the middle at church like that.

I just.

Rest of the message is ruined.

Someone calls you a terrible Christian.

And it knocks you.

It just infuriates you and steams coming out.

Of your ears.

You're not prepared.

Pastor Romine, who is Pastor Chuck Smith, assistant pastor a long time ago.

Many, many good stories about him, but one of the stories would be how people would tell him how terrible he was.

How could you say that you're such a terrible Christian?

You call yourself a pastor and and his response would be you don't even know the half of.

It I'm way worse than you know.

And what a good perspective that is.

You know, sometimes we get so offended by something someone says, but, you know, it's just a smidgen of truth.

What that person has said, and the reality of how terrible we are, is actually much deeper, and yet were offended because they accused us of having a smidgen of terribleness.

If I can make a comment about your weight and suddenly you don't care about my internal state.

You're not prepared.

For the feelings of vengeance.

What about cases of?

Deliberate malice.

And intended harm.

We need to be prepared.

To handle these kinds of things.

Not just a one time Offhanded comment, but a deliberate and full scale attack.

It's going to happen.

Paul tells us in Romans chapter 12.

Never pay back evil with more evil.

Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.

Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

Dear friends, never take revenge.

Leave that to the righteous anger of God, for the scriptures say I will take revenge, I will pay them back, says the Lord.

Instead, if your enemies are hungry, feed them.

If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.

In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.

Don't let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

When that person maliciously sets their eyes on you to take your job, to get you kicked out, to get you demoted, or whatever the objective is, Paul says.

Never pay back evil with more evil instead.

Here's what to replace that that, that revenge.

That you desire to execute.

Replace that with.

And when your enemies are hungry, then feed them.

Don't let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

Listen, you're going to feel like taking revenge, and you're going to want to see vengeance, and you're going to want to see them suffer.

And when you feel that way, you need to learn to take that to the Lord, because if you start to act on those feelings and let those motivate.

You into action.

You are not going to represent the Lord, you're not going to carry on the Ministry of the Lord, and you are going to be useless for the Kingdom of God.

The wrath of man does not bring about the righteousness of God.

And so you're just taking yourself out of the opportunity to have a an impact to have a witness?

When you are not prepared for those feelings of vengeance, and so Peter says, prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Get yourself ready guys.

You're going to be personally attacked, you're going to be offended, you're going to be maliciously or accidentally slandered.

Prepare yourself for action.

Looking at these things, I would say that Christians should be the hardest people in the world to offend.

But sometimes we're the easiest people in the.

World to offend.

We're not established.

We're not rooted.

In our identity in Christ and we are not focused on the mission that God has.

Given to us.

We've not prepared ourselves for action.

And we let those things knock us off of the track that got us, placed us on and take us out of Commission in regards to the ministry that he's called us to.

Well, thirdly, as we move on verse 21 of Chapter 11 all the way through chapter 12, verse four, here's point #3 prepare yourself to struggle with God's ways.

As you prepare yourself for the conflicts ahead, you need to understand there will be personal attacks.

You will have real feelings about that.

It's going to impact you.

And your doctrine is going to be challenged.

Your theology you're going to have to wrestle with.

There's going to be some struggle with the way that God operates in the midst of these things.

Verse 21 says this is what the Lord says about the men or the men of Anosov who wanted me dead.

They had said we will kill you if you do not stop prophesying in the Lord's name.

So this is what the Lord of Heaven's armies says about them.

I will punish them.

Their young men will die in battle and their boys and girls will starve to death.

Not one of these plotters from an oath will survive, for I will bring disaster upon them when their time of punishment comes.

God speaks to Jeremiah as he runs to him with these feelings of vengeance.

God, says Jeremiah.

I got this.

And he makes it clear every single one of those people who are involved in the plots and the plans to take you out, every single one of them will receive the justice and the judgment that is deserved.

Not one of them will escape.

At the end of verse 23, God says.

I will bring disaster upon them when their time of punishment comes.

And that's what really begins.

To cause Jeremiah to wrestle.

OK, Lord.

Vengeance is yours.

You will repay.

I believe that.

But when?

And what about?

All this suffering.

In the meantime, listen to his thoughts as he continues on now into Chapter 12 verse.

One, he says.

Lord, you always give me justice when I bring a case before you.

So let me bring you this complaint.

Why are the wicked so prosperous?

Why are evil people so happy?

You have planted them and they have taken root and prospered.

Your name is on their.

Lips, but you are far from their hearts.

But As for me, Lord, you know my heart.

You see me and test my thoughts.

Drag these people away like sheep to be butchered.

Set them aside to be slaughtered.

How long must this land mourn?

Even the grass and the fields has withered.

The wild animals and birds have disappeared because of the evil in the land, for the people have said the Lord doesn't see what's ahead for us.

Here Jeremiah is wrestling.

With the way that God is handling these things.

He believes in God. He's still God's servant.

Believes that vengeance is in the.

Hand of the Lord.

But he cannot figure out why God is operating this way.

So he's asking questions, he's bringing a complaint, and again, this is the right thing to do.

When you're wrestling and struggling with God's ways, you bring it to the Lord. This is the right thing to do. It's not, you know, an accusation against God in the sense of blasphemy.

Or anything like that.

It's a it's a struggle with our humanity.

And and we know.

God has told us that.

His ways are higher than our ways, as high as the heavens are above the earth.

And so we're always going to have trouble understanding his ways.

And when we don't understand the right thing to do.

Is to take these things to him.

You might struggle with God in a variety of ways, or maybe exactly like Jeremiah did.

You might struggle with God allowing blessing.

For people who did not deserve it.

God says I'm going.

To judge those people who plotted and planned against you and tried to take your life.

And Jeremiah is saying but when?

Because right now they're just enjoying prosperity, verse two says you have planted them and they have taken root and prospered.

They're doing great.

Why are the wicked people all so happy?

They're they're they're far from you, but.

They just seem to experience goodness and blessing and good things in their life continually.

But I don't understand why you would allow people to experience good when they are so wicked and evil and sets against you.

This is not the first person to struggle with this concept.

Psalm, chapter 70, feet 73, Records a psalmist.

Got walking through a similar thing I would suggest all throughout history probably every person who's ever walked with God has wrestled.

With this to some degree, why God do you allow good to happen in their lives?

God's not going to explain all this to Jeremiah, and very likely he's not going to explain all of this to us.

The second thing Jeremiah struggled with is why God allowed.

People to suffer who do not deserve it.

And specifically by name Jeremiah.

Jeremiah says, Lord, why do you allow?

Jeremiah to suffer.

In verse three he says As for me.

Lord, you know my heart.

You see and you test my thoughts.

You know where I'm at?

God and you.

Know how I've endeavored to serve you and be faithful to you.

I don't deserve this kind of treatment.

I don't deserve to be hated in this way and and spoke about and spoke against in this way.

Lord, why do you allow that?

Why do you allow?

People who don't deserve that kind of treatment to be.

Treated that way.

I don't think they should be that kind of suffering.

In my life I don't think.

Those people should experience that.

It just is confusing and confounding to me.

Why you?

Would allow that.

To take place.

Another thing we might struggle with is, Lord, why are you taking so long?

Verse four, he says.

How long must this land mourn?

Lord, while you're allowing all of this, you're allowing the wicked people to be blessed and the good people to suffer.

The land is mourning and there's just this tragedy increasing.

Why don't you just act?

You can take care of these things.

Why don't you just do it?

In fact, I have a suggestion for you, God.

Here's what you can do.

Verse three says drag these people away like sheep to be butchered.

Maybe you haven't thought about that, God, but I got a good idea for you.

Help you out with some of the the brainstorming that you need to figure out a plan for all.

Of this wickedness.

God didn't need Jeremiah's suggestions, but.

It's OK that Jeremiah brought it to the Lord again.

That's the right place to take it.

Not to try to take it into your own hands, but.

Here Jeremiah is walking through his struggling.

He's walking through his theology, walking through, wrestling with I don't understand the ways of God and why he allows this and puts up with that and delays this.

Prepare yourself.

We we love.

It when we can exactly, definitively say, here's what God is doing and here's how long it's going to take, and it's going to look like this and and it's going to take place like this.

And and when we could have all of our theology and all of our doctrine, an explanation for all the things happening in life and all packaged together and put in a nice little neat container.

We love that. That's great.

But it is seldom the case.

God is infinite and we are finite.

And so we will find ourselves repeatedly, perpetually struggling.

Lord, I don't understand.

Even though we don't understand, we walk by faith and not by sight.

And so if you will only.

Obey God and walk with God and be faithful to God.

When you can understand, then you're not going to walk with God or be faithful to God for very long.

You need to be prepared to struggle.

To have some things out of reach, to have some things beyond your scope of ability to see or understand.

So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control.

Put all your hope not in having.

All the answers.

Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed.

To the world.

Put all your hope.

In the return of Jesus Christ and your appearance before him and your eternity with him.

Until then, you're gonna struggle.

And there's gonna be ways that God works and things that God does that you do not understand.

Let that be OK.

Let that be settled in your heart.

The struggle is OK.

To not have all the answers.

Is OK.

In fact, it's expected.

Jeremiah is not given.

An answer by the Lord.

The Lord is going to respond in the next verse.

But not to give him answers to all these questions. Instead, well, it gives us point #4 verses 5 and six here, Jeremiah Chapter 12. Prepare yourself for more difficult conflicts.

More as in quantity and more as in intensity, prepare yourself for more difficult conflicts verse 5.

If racing against mere men makes you tired.

How will you race against horses?

If you stumble and fall on open ground, what will you do in the thickets near the Jordan?

Even your brothers, members of your own family, have turned against you.

They plot and raise complaints against you do.

Not trust them.

No matter how pleasantly they speak.

Prepare yourself.

For more difficult conflicts.

Jeremiah, it's not going to get easier.

I'm not going to answer all your questions.

I'm not going to give you the time frame.

I'm not going to tell you why I'm allowing this and allowing that and delaying on this.

I'm not going to give you those answers.

Here's what I will say God says.

You're struggling with this little thing.

And there's much bigger challenges ahead.

You're wrestling and weary because.

Of the foot race.

But you're about to enter a horse race.

And that's much more intense.

Much more ferocious.

There's going to be a greater intensity there.

How are you going to last there if you're struggling so much?

With what you're facing.

At the moment.

This commentator says in psalms of Lament and assurance of faith is often given.

But in this case, God's words are not comforting at all.

This is just the beginning of Jeremiah suffering and things will get worse.

You need to toughen up.

You need to toughen up.

Because things are going to become more challenging.

As you continue to serve the Lord and seek the Lord, and seek to be faithful to the Lord, you can.

Expect greater challenges ahead, and the struggles that you have now are real struggles, not trying to invalidate those.

But you need to reset your expectations.

And rethink your purpose and objectives in life.

There's some challenges ahead.

God gives these two illustrations of running.

With the foot soldiers.

Versus running with the horses.

And the other illustration of stumbling in the open ground versus.

Navigating the thickets.

The hard terrain near the Jordan.

Both illustrations serve this purpose of.

You're in a challenge.

You're stumbling in the open field or the open ground right now.

There's there is some difficulty there, but.

But the road ahead has more challenges.

And and what are those more challenges?

Well, God begins to elaborate in verse 6.

Even your brothers.

Men of your own family or members of your own family have turned against you.

Back in verse 21 of Chapter 11, we saw it was the people of Anatha, Jeremiah's hometown.

And the plot was uncovered.

The Lord showed him.

His own.

Friends from his hometown were those who were rising up against him, but God now further reveals.

You're all upset, you're all worked up just because you thought it was your friends and the people that you grew up with that were plotting this.

You need to understand, look, this race is about to get serious because it's your brothers, it's your family.

That is involved in this.

Your own family is plotting and raising complaints against you.

Do not trust them, no matter how pleasantly they speak.

Now God is going to go on to continue.

To outline the judgment that is coming upon the nation of Judah, and I would suggest that's included in this comparison of running with the foot soldiers right now versus running with the horses in the future.

That verse six is just the beginning of how difficult it's going to be, Jeremiah.

But it's a.

Good place for us to reflect and consider.

To prepare.

For the conflict ahead.

And to understand.

The betrayal.

Is going to be deep.

To expect that now.

This is not to say that we should all live in suspicion of everybody and keep ourselves closed off to everybody, right?

Not saying that at all, but at the same time we need to have established ourselves in the Lord to such a degree that it's OK if my closest family member betrays me because my security and my foundation and my identity is in the Lord.

Not in that relationship so that we don't put our the weights of our life and who we are and and our worth and our value and and our purpose and everything up on other people.

But all of that weight belongs on the Lord.

So that we're ready.

When those kinds of betrayals take place.

And Luke, Chapter 12, Jesus says, do you think that I've come to bring peace to the earth?

No, I have come to divide people against each other.

From now on, families will be split apart 3IN favor of me and two against.

Or two in favor and three against. Father will be divided against Son and son against Father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law, and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.

Jesus told us in advance, you need to prepare for this reality.

There's going to be some division.

Let the divisions be between those who are my followers.

And those who refuse me.

And that is going to divide to the core even.

The closest families.

And there will be sons and fathers who are divided, mothers and daughters, in-laws.

I don't think he had to include that one, I mean.

They're pretty much divided anyways, right?

Jeez, we need to understand.

Sometimes we we want peace at all costs.

We think well, the learn must want peace.

And so we got to make peace.

We got to compromise our values, we got to compromise our ideals.

We gotta compromise our ideas.

And so.

We got to make peace.

Jesus says no, you should expect division.

Now, not division between all of my followers, but division between those who follow me and those.

Who do not.

And so expect.

That kind of conflict, even to the midst of your family now, for you, that might not be surprising.

And for some, maybe a deeper surprise is when there is a conflict that happens.

Within church.

And it's that fellow church member that you have been alongside for so long and worshipped with and served with.

And then the betrayal happens and there is this personal attack and and it's this incredible shock that takes place.

And it's there where we need to be prepared for tough love, but a different kind of tough love, being tough.

So that you can love.

So that you can take the insult, so that you can take.

The hit?

But not be moved off target, not be taken out of Commission, because you cannot focus anymore and you cannot walk with the Lord anymore.

And because you're just so upset and fed up and and frustrated and irritated with all of the things going on.

You need to prepare yourself for more difficult conflicts.

There's going to be more challenging things ahead, more ways that people will hurt you and betray you.

And so all of your security and comfort and hope needs to be rested in the Lord.

I find it interesting that here the Lord is not instructing Jeremiah to cut these people out of his life.

Notice in verse 6.

He says do not trust them.

No matter how pleasantly they speak.

Jeremiah, they're going to speak very pleasantly to you.

How would they have occasion to do that, Jeremiah?

You're still gonna be around these people?

They're still going to have opportunity to speak pleasantly to you.

Don't trust them.

And again, God is not instructed, Jeremiah.

Just be like suspicious if I don't trust anything you say, scoundrel, that's not what he.

That's not the position he's calling Jeremiah to take.

But he's saying, look, don't put all of your hope in security.

In the people around you.

Don't trust in them.

Trust in me.

Same concept as don't fear men, but fear God.

But these people are going to have future opportunities in your life to speak pleasantly with you.

You're not to cut them out.

But that means they're going to try to lie to me and they're going to speak worse things to me.

And they're going to betray me further.


But Jeremiah was called to minister.

To these people.

In Matthew Chapter 5, Jesus says you have heard that the law says love your neighbor and hate your enemy.

But I say to you, love your enemies.

Pray for.

Those who persecute you.

And that way you'll be acting as true children of your father in heaven, for he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good.

He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.

If you love only those who love you, what reward is.

There for that.

Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.

If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different than anyone else?

Even pagans do that.

But if you will follow the example of Jesus and love those who hurt you.

Because you've prepared yourself for more difficult conflicts.

You've prepared yourself.

For those battles that will unfold and because you have set your eyes on eternity and you don't want to be taken out of that eternal work and eternal plan.

You're ready.

And no matter how much.

You hurt me.

I can love you and serve you.

And show God's love.

Towards you.

Pastor Warren Rasby says God could handle the problem people in Judah, but God couldn't force his servant to grow.

Only Jeremiah could make that choice by staying in the race, accepting new challenges and thereby maturing in the Lord.

This is what God is calling us to when he's calling us to toughen up, he's calling us to mature in the Lord.

To grow and develop in our relationship with him, to be established in him.

So that we can represent him even.

In conflict.

And there are conflicts ahead.

Prepare yourself.

There's going to be personal attacks.

There's going to be feelings of vengeance that you're going to experience.

There's going to be mysterious ways that God works that you're going to struggle with and not understand, and there's more difficult conflict ahead.

So get ready, prepare yourself.

Now is the time and how.

Do we do that?

God's equipped us.

And Ephesians chapter 6.

With equipment to prepare for the conflict.

Paul says put on all of God's armor so that you'll be able to stand firm against the strategies of the devil.

For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this Dark World, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore put on every piece of God's armor.

Put on every piece of God's armor because we're in a battle against the enemy. And although people make us an enemy and attack us and conflict, you know, bring conflict to us, we hold the position.

We understand that person attacking us is never the enemy.

That person attacking us is always the spiritual force.

Behind the scenes, the real enemy.

And so we need to prepare ourselves and put on all of God's armor.

And I think there's some very practical things to think through in the armor of God, and I want to wrap up with this in Ephesians Chapter 6 without going into depth.

This is not just like praying a prayer and like imagining yourself putting on the armor, right?

There's some real practical things here.

You are not prepared to handle and respond to a situation of conflict.

Until you have the armor in place.

That is, until you have the truth.

You know how you feel about the situation and the conflict and the attack and the hurt.

You know what you think about it.

You know what people say about it.

But what's the truth?

What does God say?

What is really going on in this situation?

Until you understand righteousness that is here is the right thing to do, the right way to behave, until you have peace.

With God and peace as your objective, you're not prepared to handle that situation of conflict, and you have to have the shield of faith.

You have to trust God to work it out for good.

Trust God to repay 'cause.

That's his domain, vengeance.

And taking on the helmet of salvation, knowing I'm saved.

Are they saved?

Listen, if you're saved and the person who is coming at you is not saved, your highest priority is not to get even, or to pay them back, or to make them suffer your highest priority.

Is to call them to salvation.

Now, if it's I'm saved and this person bringing this conflict to me is saved also, then your highest priority is reconciliation that that we're both believers were on the same team.

And so we have the helmet of salvation, and then the word of God hears what God says about a situation.

So here's Jeremiah being conspired against God says here's the truth and Jeremiah.

Here's righteousness.

Here's the right thing to do, and here's the way the path to peace and Jeremiah, you gotta trust me.

I'm not going to give you all the answers and explain everything about why I'm doing it and how I do it.

And when I do it, you're just going to have to trust me, Jeremiah.

Believe that I will.

Work out all these things and take care of these situations.

The objective is salvation.

For you, Jeremiah, and for those that you're ministering to, and although they count you as an enemy, they're your ministry.

You're still trying to save them, you're still trying to give them opportunity to repent, even though they're coming against you with that maliciousness.

And so Jeremiah hears the word of God, hears the word of the Lord.

Whatever situation of conflict that you're facing in your life, you're not prepared to handle it until you have the truth and the righteousness and the peace and the faith and salvation and the word of God that is appropriate for your situation.

Put on the full armor of God.

Gather all your evidence.

Gather all your documentation.

Do the research.

Figure out what is.

God's direction in all of these things.

And then.

You're ready.

To respond to that attack, to that conflict that has been brought to your doorstep.

Prepare yourself for the conflicts ahead.

There's going to be personal attacks.

So much so, you're gonna want revenge.

You're going to struggle with why God would even allow that kind of hurtful thing to be done or said towards you.

And God says that's just the beginning.

You need to rethink your expectations on life.

You need to reframe your understanding about these interactions.

Get back in the battlefield and understand we're dealing with eternity, not.

Careers and occupations and family gatherings and know, know this is about so much more than all of that.

Prepare yourself.

For the conflicts ahead, toughen up.

And that means establish yourself in the Lord.

Would we pray?

That you would help us to take your word to heart.

Lord, that we would be ready and equipped.

For the conflict that we will face this week.

For the hurts, the heartaches, the attacks, the.

But I pray that.

You would help us.

To be established in you so that.

We would not be derailed.

By any of those attacks of the enemy.

But, Lord, that we would look to you.

Trust in you.

And find strength in you to love.

To stand.

To forgive.

And to speak your truth in love.

To those who hurt us, I pray this in Jesus name.