Have you ever felt that whatever could go wrong goes wrong, that you suddenly wake up from a night of tossing and turning and the phone rings and messages start pouring like rain of negative things with no end in sight; and it is only 8:00 a.m. Throughout your day all you have witnessed is not good things from friends, family and work, and all of a sudden you start to feel a bit dizzy and fatigue. In your quest for answers the last thing on your mind is, maybe I have done something wrong and God is not pleased. The fact is, that we displease God quit often. Paul tells us in the letter to the Romans that we have all sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God (Ro3:23). In fact, throughout the bible we find God’s side on wickedness and sin, it says that he hates such (ps11:5). God dispersed his people from out of his house because of their wicked ways of which he hates (Ho9:15). Luke tells us that if we deliberately continue to sin salvation will be taken away from us (Heb10:26). One thing rests for sure and that is that God does not quit on us, he does not stop seeking after us and drawing us to him; even if the things we are doing are not pleasing to him. The fight for your soul is on!
He has made my skin and my flesh grow old and has broken my bones. 5 He has besieged me and surrounded me with bitterness and hardship. 6 He has made me dwell in darkness like those long dead.7 He has walled me in so I cannot escape; he has weighed me down with chains. 8 Even when I call out or cry for help, he shuts out my prayer. 9 He has barred my way with blocks of stone he has made my paths crooked.
Jeremiah was struggling, because like many of us he woke up one day and found that God was against him and his people. He felt that God was not please with him. He felt sick, bitter, sad, trapped, bound, and an answerless prayer life which are all signs that something is wrong with God and me. One might say that is a bad state to be in, but it is better to have God against us then to have him completely absent from us. David shared this feeling after he sinned by sending out a census out to survey God’s people; an action provoked by Satan. The bible tells us that God gave him 3 choices for handling this sin; either three years of famine, three months of fleeing from the enemy or three days of plague in the land (2Sam24:13-14). And, David chose to fall into the hand of God then of that of the enemy. It is better to have God against us, because he knows what is best for us then to have him absent from us. That is what Jeremiah understood as well, that it is better to have God with us even if he is not too happy with us, then to have him absent (Lam3:31-33). Because God’s mercy are for ever, he does not mean to afflict us.
Knowing your family’s God purpose and call is vital for keeping unity and bond of it. God has a call to the family for service and ministry and it is up to the head of the house; the dad, to acknowledge it and build it up. God not only has a plan for adults but for the entire family. But, knowing the call is not sufficient for a home to be edified, there needs to an agreeing reaction and releasing to God of the family(Mt19:14). The bible teaches us that we need to prepare our children for God’s calling (Deut4:9) and that through witnessing and testimony’s. There are blessings to the dad who seeks out God’s calling for his home (Ps128:2-4) such as no other family will have. The children will be like shoots of olive producing oils of knowledge and talents. Going against the grain of society is what it takes for a family set on a course God’s call.
59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60 but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”
61 They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.”
62 Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63 He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God.
Now, Zachariah was a priest whose turn came up by the choice of lots to burn incense in the temple while the people prayed outside. He and his wife Elizabeth were descendants of Aaron the priest. They were up in age and his wife was not able to conceive. The priest whose function was to bring incense to the temple was to have tied to his feet a bell with a rope of which would sound as he walked into the temple. If the priest would die in the temple the bell would make a stomp sound and stop sounding signaling those who waited outside to pull him out. When Zachariah walked into the temple the Angel of the Lord appear and gave him the good news that he was going to be a dad, but he needed to name him John. Zachariah was challenged to go against the currant of tradition and family and in this time and age we too are challenged to go against the currant. Zachariah became mute because he chose not to believe the news, and so for nine months he could not speak. He had the choice when the child was born to either go with tradition or sign the name of descendants or the one associated with the kingdom. As dads we decide with whom are we going to associate our children and family’s as Joshua did (Josh24:15) to serving God.
One of the great challenges churches have is finding people that are willing to volunteer without limitations; devoted people to the work of the ministry. And, part of the reason for a lack of volunteers is that feeling of commitment; that once I join I am responsible and cannot quit especially when things begin to get difficult. The US census says that 1 out of 4 adults volunteer in churches, which is about 43% of the people. The goal of churches is to transition volunteers to servants of the Lord. And, once one has become a servant of the Lord the task that is handed to him comes with powers and enriching experiences one has never experienced before. Like the disciples of Jesus Christ, after the Lord resurrected, he told them to stay in Jerusalem until they were empowered with the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts2:1-4). But, the task that was going to be laid before them was not going to be easy, they were going to go through hunger, homelessness, and persecution. Paul was one of those who after receiving his call to servanthood (Acts9:3-6) tasted how good the Lord is, and set out to pursue his calling at all cost(2cor11:23-28). When we become more then volunteers the taste of the ministry will continually be in the palatal of our tongue.
Do not be afraid of what they say or be terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people. 7 You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious. 8 But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious people; open your mouth and eat what I give you.”
9 Then I looked, and I saw a hand stretched out to me. In it was a scroll, 10 which he unrolled before me. On both sides of it were written words of lament and mourning and woe.
Ezekiel’s calling was like many others called with a specific purpose. He was specifically called to speak God’s word to a very rebellious group of people. He was given a scroll to eat of which was sweet as honey to the palatal of the tongue but became bitter to the belly. Such leads us to interpret that our calling when it moves from the volunteer mindset to that of servanthood will have a sour aftertaste. Ezekiel left the presence of God and sat with his people in a depressed mindset. This scroll he had eaten was filled with all kinds of lamentations, and woes, which depicted how God felt about how his people were behaving. Our calling has its highlight, but at the end of the day, it is for the difficult task of helping to save mankind and equipping other believers (Acts4:12-13). Within the ministry, in the belly of those who have eaten the scroll of God’s words, lies a distasteful feeling against sin(pro6:16-19). He hides his face and rejects to hear prayer when we persist to sin (Is59:2). Ezekiel’s calling turned him to a powerful and hard man, because of the people he was to minister too.