SERMON NOTE: The Contradictions Of Life
By Rev Raymond Ho
“This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” Yes, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the Lord. This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Prophet Jeremiah brought a letter to the people:
While in exile, GOD wants the people to build their houses, form and establish families, abide there, be content there; For its GOD's will for them to be there for 70yrs and HE will lead them out again.
Two Extreme Dangers in Contradictions of Life
1. Desperation- thinking there is no hope (Fatal pessimism)
2. Overconfident- expecting some that GOD has never promised (Foolish Optimism)
GOD is effectively telling the Judah captives in Babylon "You must submit to your enemy"
Confusion: Why is GOD asking us to submit to our enemies, and indeed HIS enemies,
Doubt: How can God do this
Disillusionment: Well what is God's will then, if God apparently can go against it Himself
How do you cope with contradictions in Life?
1. Submit- as GOD will
Do not doubt GOD's Promise
““For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
2. Do not question GOD
“But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ ” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?”
3. Be Content and Submit
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
The greater discomfort comes to us in trials when we struggle against them, when we have an unwillingness to accept the reality of our circumstances, when we live in a mental denial
1. Wait and be patient
In verse 10, He told them "that the day is coming, in 70 years time, when I will deliver you. My timing is all worked out"
Verse 11, is a wonderful verse "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Here are four things in this verse:
Firstly- God is thinking about you
Secondly- GOD's thoughts are for you
Thirdly- God's thoughts toward you are in peace
Fourthly- God's thought are towards a good goal
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
What has God been thinking up for you?
He has plans to give you hope and to give you a future
3. Avoid false hopes
Jeremiah was telling his people not to submit to the subtle voice of the false Teachers with their false hope.
Hence the marrying, building houses, and eventually in 70 years time the return of the land
Whatever situation you are in today... you have JESUS
HE is our peace, our hopes, expected end and none can take HIM away from us.