Proposition: How Does God Watch over His Word to Perform it?
Text: Jeremiah1: 11-12
When we read these verses in Jeremiah in English we see no connection between the rod of an almond tree and God watching over his word to perform it. In Hebrew, the language in which Jeremiah was written, the connection is obvious.
Jer 1:12 Then said the Lord unto me, thou hast well seen,.... The thing seen is a very proper emblem of what I am about to do, and the quick dispatch that will be made therein:
for l will hasten my word to perform it; the words שקד אני, "shoked ani", "I will hasten", or "I am hastening", are in allusion to שקד, "shoked", the name of the almond tree in Hebrew; which is so called because it is quick and early, and, as it were, hastens to bring forth its flowers, leaves, and fruit; in like manner the Lord says he would hasten to perform what he had said or should say by him concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, and the captivity of the people, and every thing else he should give him in commission to say. (John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible)
I will hasten my word - Here is a paronomasia. What dost thou see? I see שקד shaked, “an almond,” the hastening tree: that which first awakes. Thou hast well seen, for (שקד shoked) I will hasten my word. I will awake, or watch over my word for the first opportunity to inflict the judgments which I threaten. The judgment shall come speedily; it shall soon flourish, and come to maturity. (Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Entire Bible)
In other words the almond rod symbolized that God was awake and watching over what he said would happen to Judah if the departed from Him.
Deuteronomy 28:1-4, God promised to bless Israel if they kept his commands.
Deuteronomy 28:15, God promised to curse Israel if they disobeyed his commands.
This is the way it is with all nations. Jeremiah was appointed over the nations. His prophecies foretold the nations that would be plucked up, broken down, destroyed, and overthrown. He would also tell of the nations that would be built and planted.
God is the nation builder and the nation destroyer. He is the invisible hand that controls history. It is not some secret conspiracy group controlling everything that controls the nations. God is in control of the nations.
It may seem like God is not paying attention and he is asleep, but His plan is working and it will not fail. God is so sure about his plans that many times he tells his enemies what is going to happen in advance.
Psalms 2:1-12, when Jesus was crucified the rulers took counsel against the Lord.
Acts 4:25-31, the rulers tried to destroy Jesus and now they are trying to destroy his disciples. God sits in the heavens and laughs at the little schemers trying to thwart his plans. He knows his words will be performed.
I. He prepares the prophet (How does God prepare His prophet?)
A. He forms the prophet in the womb.
1. Jeremiah 1:5
2. (I will probably have 2 kids come up and ask them if they remember being in their mother’s womb. If they knew that God was the first one to know them. If they knew that God set them apart for a purpose. God knows that a woman is pregnant before she does. He has already been working on forming a child for a few weeks before the mother knows.)
3. God forms everyone in the womb. The birth of a child is amazing. The egg from the woman and the sperm from the man come together and their genetic material mixes and the baby grows inside the mother. Everything in the womb is formed. The brain, the heart, lungs, ears, eyes, nose, and everything is formed in the womb
4. Psalms 139:13-16
5. Abortion kills what God has formed.
6. God has a formed every one of us. He is the first one to see us in the womb. He has plans for us. It is up to us to let God use us as he pleases like Jeremiah did.
7. We have a free will we can reject God’s plan for us or we can fit into it.
B. He consecrates the prophet in the womb.
1. CONSECRATE, v.t. [L., to consecrate, sacred. See Sacred.] To make or declare to be sacred, by certain ceremonies or rites; to appropriate to sacred uses; to set apart, dedicate, or devote, to the service and worship of God; as, to consecrate a church.
2. Children are holy.
3. Matthew 18:1-3, children do not need to repent and be baptized. They are already holy and set apart when they are born. It isn’t until they sin and have knowledge of good and evil that they need the blood of Jesus to cleanse them of their sin.
C. He appoints the prophet
1. God appointed or ordained Jeremiah to be a prophet.
2. Jeremiah thought he was too young to be a prophet. He didn’t think he could speak, but God said, “Don’t say, ‘I am a youth.’”
3. Age is no excuse to do something for God. We are never to young or to old to be useful for God.
4. If you are not useful, you may feel His rod coming down upon you.
II. He prepares the rod (What is the rod that God is preparing?)
A. A rod is used for discipline.
1. Most of the time, in the bible, a rod is used for discipline. In the book of Proverbs the rod is used for training children
2. Proverbs 22:15, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it far from Him.
3. Psalms 23:4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I fear no evil for thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”
4. David knew what a shepherd used his rod for. He used it not only for protection, but also for correction. A sheep with no correction is a sheep with no protection.
B. A nation to bring discipline to Judah.
1. Deuteronomy 28:15, 47-52
2. II Kings 20:12-18
3. God is watching over His word to perform it.
4. He told His people if they departed from Him this would happen.
5. Most of the time, in the bible, a rod is used for discipline. In the book of Proverbs the rod is used for training children.
6. Isaiah 10:1-5
7. In Isaiah the rod was Assyria. They were sent to discipline Israel and Judah. Israel was taken captive. Judah was spared because they repented and turned to God.
8. In Jeremiah’s time they have left God again and now Babylon is the rod that God will use to discipline his people.
9. Jeremiah 1:13-15
10. Babylon is coming out of the North destroy Jerusalem and Judah.
11. Habakkuk 1:1-4
12. Habakkuk thinks the Lord is doing nothing. He thinks the Lord is asleep, but God is not asleep. He is awake like the almond tree. He is watching all the nations. He knows all their evil schemes, and He has a plan that will work. God is not like the leaders of the nations who meet together to solve the world’s problems. Their solutions might work and they might make things worse. God’s plan works.
13. Habakkuk didn’t like God’s plan. God told Habakkuk that he was going to send the Chaldeans to punish Judah and the nations. Habakkuk said, “How can you do this they are more wicked than we are.”
14. God told Habakkuk that He would also punish the Chaldeans for their wickedness.
15. Jeremiah 29:11, God disciplined His people for their own good. Left unchecked they would have forgotten God all together.
16. All nations need to remember God. There is no military strong enough. No technology smart enough, and no economic system smart enough for a nation to survive without obeying the laws of God.
17. When they forget God then the rod of correction comes.
18. It is the same with us as individuals. If we forget God then correction comes.
19. Be thankful for his correction.
20. Hebrews 12:6-7
III. He fortifies his prophet (How does God fortify His Prophet?)
A. Gird his loins with the truth of His word.
1. Jeremiah 1:17-19
2. Jeremiah was to speak what the Lord told him to. Sometimes Jeremiah would not want to speak, but he couldn’t hold the words of the Lord in.
3. Jeremiah 20:9
4. Jeremiah spoke for the Lord
5. He wasn’t dismayed at their faces. He didn’t fear the people and tell them that everything was going to be okay. He said, “You are going to be destroyed and the best thing for you to do is to surrender to Babylon.
B. God was with Him like a dread champion.
1. Jeremiah 20:10-11
2. What ever the people, priests, princes, or kings tried to do to Jeremiah. God was with Him. All of Jeremiah’s enemies failed. God was his champion.
Remember the rod of almond. God is watching over his word to perform it. Nothing he has foretold or promised will fail.
God has prepared us for a purpose.
Be like Jeremiah. Be a prophet that God has fortified.
- Gird your loins with truth
- Shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace
- Take up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one
- Take the helmet of salvation.
- And the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
Romans 8:31, If God is for us who can be against us?