18 September 2013
Song: Do something new in my life
Theme: Knowing the Lord
Topic: Seek the Lord while He may be found
Reading: Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28
11At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, “A dry wind of the desolate heights blows in the wilderness toward the daughter of My people—not to fan or to cleanse—12A wind too strong for these will come for Me; now I will also speak judgment against them.”
22“For My people are foolish, they have not known Me. They are silly children, and they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.” 23I beheld the earth, and indeed it was without form, and void; and the heavens, they had no light. 24I beheld the mountains, and indeed they trembled, and all the hills moved back and forth. 25I beheld, and indeed there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens had fled. 26I beheld, and indeed the fruitful land was a wilderness, and all its cities were broken down at the presence of the Lord, by His fierce anger. 27For thus says the Lord: “The whole land shall be desolate; yet I will not make a full end. 28For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black, because I have spoken. I have purposed and will not relent, nor will I turn back from it.
It is the Lord’s earnest desire that all will come to the knowledge of Him through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. Knowing the Lord can be confused with ‘hearing about God’, as well as numerous other misconceptions. Knowing the Lord is being in a relationship with Him. The Scripture is clear that God first loved us in that He gave His only begotten Son to die for our sins on the cross of Calvary. So to know the Lord starts with an acknowledgement that He loves us. This should then be followed with deliberate actions to seek Him, know His ways and follow the His guidance. It is for a lost and dying world that Christ died; that we may be reconciled with our Father in Heaven. For the process of reconciliation with God be progressive in our lives, we need to constantly seek the Lord; not for Him to love us but in acceptance of His love. The Lord is always on the lookout for those who seek Him; as well as those who are lost. The question is: are you hiding/running away from the Lord?
1. What are some of the factors that hinder us from seeking the Lord?
1Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
2In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises. 3He boasts about the cravings of his heart; he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord.
4In his pride the wicked man does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.
5His ways are always prosperous; your laws are rejected by him; he sneers at all his enemies.
6He says to himself, “Nothing will ever shake me.” He swears, “No one will ever do me harm.”
7His mouth is full of lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue. 8He lies in wait near the villages; from ambush he murders the innocent. His eyes watch in secret his victims; 9like a lion in cover he lies in wait. He lies in wait to catch the helpless; he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net. 10His victims are crushed, they collapse; they fall under his strength.
11He says to himself, “God will never notice; he covers his face and never sees.” 12Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless. 13Why does the wicked man revile God? Why does he say to himself, “He won’t call me to account”? 14But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. 15Break the arm of the wicked man; call the evildoer to account for his wickedness that would not otherwise be found out. 16The Lord is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land. 17You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, 18defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror.
1The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good. 2The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. 3All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.
4Do all these evildoers know nothing? They devour my people as though eating bread; they never call on the Lord. 5But there they are, overwhelmed with dread, for God is present in the company of the righteous. 6You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor, but the Lord is their refuge. 7Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the Lord restores his people, let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!
6“This is what the Lord says— Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. 7Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come— yes, let them foretell what will come. 8Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.” 9All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless. Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant, to their own shame. 10Who shapes a god and casts an idol, which can profit nothing? 11People who do that will be put to shame; such craftsmen are only human beings. Let them all come together and take their stand; they will be brought down to terror and shame. 12The blacksmith takes a tool and works with it in the coals; he shapes an idol with hammers,
he forges it with the might of his arm. He gets hungry and loses his strength; he drinks no water and grows faint.
13The carpenter measures with a line and makes an outline with a marker; he roughs it out with chisels and marks it with compasses. He shapes it in human form, human form in all its glory, that it may dwell in a shrine. 14He cut down cedars, or perhaps took a cypress or oak. He let it grow among the trees of the forest, or planted a pine, and the rain made it grow. 15It is used as fuel for burning; some of it he takes and warms himself, he kindles a fire and bakes bread. But he also fashions a god and worships it; he makes an idol and bows down to it. 16Half of the wood he burns in the fire; over it he prepares his meal, he roasts his meat and eats his fill. He also warms himself and says, “Ah! I am warm; I see the fire.” 17From the rest he makes a god, his idol; he bows down to it and worships. He prays to it and says, “Save me! You are my god!” 18They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot understand. 19No one stops to think, no one has the knowledge or understanding to say, “Half of it I used for fuel; I even baked bread over its coals, I roasted meat and I ate. Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left? Shall I bow down to a block of wood?” 20Such a person feeds on ashes; a deluded heart misleads him; he cannot save himself, or say, “Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?”
2. What are the lessons for us in Luke 15:1-10?
1Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. 2But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
3Then Jesus told them this parable: 4“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. 8“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
3. Discuss the benefits and challenges involved in seeking the Lord.
1“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. 2Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.
3Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. 4See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a ruler and commander of the peoples. 5Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations you do not know will come running to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.” 6Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. 7Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. 8“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. 12You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. 13Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the Lord’s renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever.”
1 Timothy 1:12-17
12I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. 13Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
15Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 17Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
God loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for us. May we yield our hearts and lives to Him that we may experience the joy and peace He so graciously gives to all who seek Him.
Father we love You because You first loved us and has continued to love. Grant us the grace to seek You with all our hearts, all the days of our lives. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen.