God’s Vision for you

December 10, 2017

Bible Text: Jeremiah 1:4-12 |

How to Live According to God’s Vision for You
The word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew[a] you,
before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
6 “Alas, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”
7 But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD.
9 Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth. 10 See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”
11 The word of the LORD came to me: “What do you see, Jeremiah?” “I see the branch of an almond tree,” I replied. 12 The LORD said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching[b] to see that my word is fulfilled.”
13 The word of the LORD came to me again: “What do you see?” “I see a pot that is boiling,” I answered. “It is tilting toward us from the north.” (Jeremiah 1:4-12)

Did you know that God, your Creator, the One who made you, has a vision for you? Some people call it destiny but in light of our today’s passage I’ll use the word ‘vision.’
Some people are living out their lives according to the vision they have for themselves, others according to the vision that others have for them, and others according to Satan’s vision for them, but today I want us to see the vision that God has for us and how to live it out.
Before we can look further into this subject, let’s consider a very important claim that God makes in verse 4 regarding our origin. It reads, “The word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
God tells Jeremiah that before He formed him in the womb He knew him (Jeremiah). God claims that He ‘formed’ Jeremiah in the womb of his mother. I don’t know if it will make a difference if you happened to know that, for a fact, God actually made you with His own hands, like He did with Adam and Eve. Would that knowledge change the view, or perspective that you have about yourself? It does with me.
Now we tend to think that God made Adam and Eve but the rest of us were just conceived in our mothers’ wombs and born into this world. Let me say that the only difference we have from Adam is that:
1) Adam was made as a mature, grown up person while we were made from a single cell and had to grow up to maturity,
2) Adam was made in the garden of Eden – because there was no woman’s womb for him to be – but we were made in in our mothers’ wombs. Nonetheless, we’ve all been made by God, whether in the womb or in the garden of Eden. This claim is repeated in Isaiah 43:1, “But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” In this verse, the word “form” is used interchangeably with the word, “create.” It’s clear then that each one of us has been custom-made or formed by God. We have not been mass-produced by created by design.
According to Webster’s dictionary, the word “form” has the following meaning: “shape, configuration, formation, structure, construction, arrangement, appearance, exterior, outline, format, layout, design.”
So, what it means is that God configured, structured, shaped, designed me and you in the womb. He already had you in mind even before conception but when the time came for your existence, He designed you in your mother’s womb. The womb is therefore God’s factory, God’s workshop, God’s assembly line for making or designing us. We didn’t just happen to be, He had us in mind before we were born. Our parents are, regardless of who they are or what color or shape they are, just channels or instruments for His use to accomplish His purpose regarding you and me. As someone said, you were not born because your parents came together but rather your parents came together because you had to be born and your time was ready.

There are three things from this passage about God’s vision for you that are worth noting:
1. God’s vision for you is very big. It’s bigger than our natural size, it’s the size of God. When we get to know His vision for us, we tend to react like Jeremiah, “Ah, Sovereign Lord, I do not know how to speak. I am a youth.” We tend to look at our natural limitations, our financial limitations, etc. If we are not careful we’ll respond like Philip, “eight months wages are not enough to feed them.” (John 6:7).
Philip was responding to Jesus after Jesus told his disciples to feed the hungry crowd of about 5,000 with food. It looks like Philip took out his pen and started to do the math. After doing some calculations, he came up with the conclusion that it’s not possible. But the Bible says that Jesus already knew what He was going to do (v.6). Jesus’ vision for us, what He wants to do in us and through us and for us, is way bigger than ourselves, our strength and capabilities. And, that’s how He’s glorified because it becomes clearly evident that it’s Him at work and not us.
2. God’s vision for us is redemptive in nature. He told Jeremiah that He had ordained him to be sanctified, to be a prophet. God’s vision for us is salvific and redemptive in purpose. He wants us saved and then use us to save others. Like Abraham was blessed to be a blessing to the nations, God redeems us to be a channel of salvation to others.
Does that mean everyone has to be a prophet? No, but God’s vision for you is to use you in your “design” or “shape” of personality and career or profession to further the gospel of His grace to others. If God is not using me in the redemption of others, if He’s not using my gifts, talents, career, for His glory, it means I am not living out His vision for me.
3. God’s vision for us is global. He told Jeremiah that He ordained him as a prophet to the nations. We have been called to make disciples of all nations (Matt. 20:18). Does that mean I have to travel to all the nations of the world preaching the gospel? No. But if I start living for Him, He will use me to touch other people’s lives regardless of the race or tribe.
I am always amazed by the faith of David when he was facing Goliath. He confidently told Goliath that “This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. . . that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.” (1 Sam. 17:46).
Now, I don’t believe that David travelled Europe or America, or Australia, or South Africa to tell them what God did in that valley as he confronted Goliath! Nevertheless, David had a global view of the spread of the glory of God. Though a young shepherd boy who was not known beyond his family in Israel, he had a global view of how God was going to use him. He confidently said that the whole earth will know that there is a God in Israel. Today, this story of David is told all over the world and yet David never travelled that far away from the Middle East. God’s vision for us is big and global and we need to catch it. No wonder Paul marveled, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him.” (2 Cor. 2:9). But then verse 10 says, “But God hath revealed them by His Spirit.” In other words, we get to know them by revelation. What things are these? The deep things of God regarding us and for our glory.
In conclusion, God’s vision for us is very big, redemptive, and global in reach.
Now a question arises here: If God has such a great and awesome vision for us, why are there so many people experiencing it? Why do so many miss it?
I believe the answer is similar to the answer for Jeremiah 29:11. Here God says that He has plans for us, plans not for evil but for good, plans to give us a future and a hope. But a question arises at this point: If God has such great plans for us, how come so many people don’t experience or benefit from them?
I believe the answer has to do with the remaining part of this sermon. There are three things that you’ll need to do to experience or live out God’s vision for you:
1. Watch out your confession (V. 7).
God commanded Jeremiah not to say that he was a youth. “Do not say ‘you are a youth.” In other words, He told Jeremiah not to confess his weaknesses and limitations, but to confess what God was commanding him to say.
I want you to see that Jeremiah was not lying when he was said that he was a youth. What he was saying was a fact. But facts are not necessarily truth. God and His word is truth. Something can be factual but not truthful, if truth is the word of God. When the 10 spies came to give a report back to Moses and the people, what they said about the land and the giants was factual but not according to the truth of the word of God - that God had already given them the land. God was angry with them and judged them because they didn’t believe His word. They went by facts instead of the truth. We need to only confess the word of God for us, our situations, our families, our churches, etc. We need to agree with what God is saying about any situation that we are facing.
Let me use the example of Abraham. God appeared to Abraham and promised to bless him with many descendants. But at that time, Abraham did not have a son and had no capacity to bring forth a son. However, God promised him a son when he was 75 years old. Then God did something else to help him out: He changed his name from “Abram,” father of many, to “Abraham,” father of multitude or nations. Please remember that Abraham at this point didn’t have a son but only male servants.
Now, can you picture someone coming to him and asking him, “Hey, what’s your name?” And Abraham responds by saying, “My name is Father of nations.” I can see that person looking around and probably saying, “You mean these servants around you?” (Remember Abraham was very rich with male and female servants). And Abraham would say, “No. I don’t have a child yet. God will give me a son. He has promised so.”
Now, every time Abraham was saying out his name, “Father of many nations,” he was confessing the word or promise of God. He was, for over 20 years, confessing “I am a Father of many nations” even though he didn’t have a son. The Bible says that He didn’t waiver regarding the promise of God but against all hope, in hope he believed (Rom. 4:18)
To understand this better, let me illustrate using today’s language. Let’s say God speaks to you that you’ll be a billionaire and He commands you to change your name from, let’s say, “Rawlings” to “Billionaire.” However, you have no money, actually you are broke and have no single penny in your account. And, when people come to you and ask you your name, you tell them, “My name is Billionaire.” Obviously, they’ll be curios and ask you, “Really.” And you go, “Really.” But you know that you don’t have any money other than the promise of God and you keep confessing out the promise of God until it’s fulfilled. That’s what we need to do in our confession. Don’t say that I am only a youth, don’t focus on your limitations but on the word of God.
2. “Eat” the Word of God.
In order to confess the word of God, we have to be in the habit of “eating” the word of God. We read in v. 9, “Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth.”
Eating the word of God is more than just reading the word. When you eat something, you chew it, swallow it, and it is digested and assimilated into your system. It then becomes part of you. When you eat the word, your read it, reflect and meditate on it until it is assimilated into your system and becomes part of your spiritual system – until you own it. Later on, Jeremiah writes in 15:16, “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, LORD God Almighty.”
Since Jesus said that we speak or confess what is in our hearts, that is, from the abundance or overflow of our hearts, it will be easy to confess the word of God since it’s already become part of us.
The result of eating the word will be authority or power over situations that God has called us to minister in or to. He told Jeremiah that he will have authority over nations and kingdoms, “to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” (v. 10).
When the word of God becomes part of us, it means we are walking, living, and being guided by the will of God. It means our confession is the word of God and since the word of God is powerful (Eccl. 8:4: “Where the word of the king is there is power…” and Heb. 4:12: “For the word of God is quick and powerful…”), our confession will be powerful. We’ll be able to root out powers and kingdoms of darkness and to establish or plant the kingdom of God in people’s lives. Jesus said that every tree that the Father has not planted shall be uprooted (Matt. 15:13). It means that there are many trees in our lives and other peoples’ lives that are not planted by God. Some are planted by the evil one, others by us or people around us. When we have the eaten word of God we’ll not only know but have authority to uproot them in Jesus name.
3. A Divine Vision - What do you see? (11)
The eaten word will result in you having a new divine vision. The word will get into your heart and the eyes of your heart will begin to see God’s vision for you. They will begin to see well. You see well when you see what God is seeing.
God asked Jeremiah, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” (v. 11). He answered, “I see a rod of almond tree.” God told him “You have seen well. I am watching my word to perform it.”
God, the best teacher, was using visual aid to teach Jeremiah. The almond tree is the first tree to blossom in Israel. It’s usually ready to spring when other trees are not. Infact, the word “Almond” means “wakefulness.” And God was telling him that He was awake to His word, ready to perform it. Which word? The eaten word that Jeremiah was going to speak it out.
Beloved, God is still awake to His word, ready to perform it. He’s not awake to our words but to His word only. He has magnified His word above His name (Psalm 138:2).
We read in Acts 14:3, “Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.” The Lord bore witness, or confirmed the word of His grace spoken by His servants by granting their hands to perform signs and wonders. He confirmed His word, not their words. I believe the Lord is still doing that even today, still awake to His word to perform it.
When we eat the word, it’s assimilated into our system and becomes part of us, we actually own it. This in turn affects our vision, what we see. Remember we see with the eyes of our hearts and if the word of God is in our hearts, the eyes of the heart will see it. Our spiritual vision will be according to the word and God will say to us, “You have seen well.” We see well when we see what God is seeing.
Lastly, God will give you (spiritually) according to your vision, according to what you can see. He told Abraham in Genesis 13:14-15, “And the LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever.” As far as his eyes could see he would possess.
In order to be able to see far, God told him to lift up his eyes so that he can see far and possess (v. 14). Let me ask you, what do you see and how far do you see? How is your spiritual vision? Do you see life or death? Do you see victory or defeat? Remember God can only give you what you see.
Paul told the Colossians to set their minds on heavenly things. We read in Colossians 3:1-2, “. . ., seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” And in 2 Corinthians 4:18-19, we read, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
As I finish, let me ask you, what do you see? Are you seeing well? Where are your eyes fixed? Are they lifted up to see far – spiritually that is? You can’t do that if you are not in the habit of eating the word of God. And if you are not eating the word, your confession will be on your limitations instead of God’s vision for you.
God has a great vision for you but it will only be realized if you desire to see it by giving yourself to eat His word and change your confession.

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