Nothing is Too Hard for the LORD

Jeremiah was called of God at an early age and was promised the Divine authority that would more than compensate for his inexperience. The vision accompanying his call meant that the judgement foretold by preceding prophets was to be executed in his lifetime.

He was to warn the people about the coming judgement, and they would bitterly resent his message, but God promised the prophet: "For you shall go to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you" (1:7-8).

The Lord went on to forewarn His servant: "Therefore prepare yourself and arise, and speak to them all that I command you. Do not be dismayed before their faces, lest I dismay you before them . . . They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you to deliver you" (1:17,19).

Jeremiah was to prove the Lord in all points, and he later had further need to remind himself of the Lord's great power to undertake: "Ah, LORD God! Behold, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for you. " (32:17).

Through the reigns of good and bad kings of Judah we see how Jeremiah's faithfulness to God resulted in his having to walk a lonely path, and certainly this book has a very special message for all who are persecuted for righteousness' sake.

For delivering God's message of warning to the people, Jeremiah firstly had the people of his own town, Anathoth, turn against him: "But I was like a docile lamb brought to the slaughter; and I did not know that they had devised schemes against me, saying, 'Let us destroy the tree with its fruit, and let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name may be remembered no more'" (11:19).

Even worse, his own family did the same, revealed to the prophet by the Lord's answer to him: "For even your brothers, the house of your father, even they have dealt treacherously with you; yes, they have called a multitude after you. Do not believe them, even though they speak smooth words to you'" (12:6).

Jeremiah also discovered another plot to kill him: "Then they said, 'Come and let us devise plans against Jeremiah . . . Come and let us attack him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words' . . .

"Give heed to me, O LORD, and listen to the voice of those who contend with me! . . . For they have dug a pit for my life . . . they have dug a pit to take me, and hidden snares for my feet" (18:18,19,22).

Lastly, Jeremiah found himself arrested by Pashur the priest, who "struck Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the high gate of Benjamin, which was by the house of the LORD" (20:2). This was humiliation worse than death; God's servant found that all the religious leaders were opposed to him and his message.

In fact he was so distraught because he was "in derision daily; everyone mocks me . . . the word of the LORD was made to me a reproach and a derision daily" that he was tempted to decide: "I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. " Finally he was forced to admit: "But his word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not" (20:7-9).

However, the promise of God to Jeremiah was miraculously fulfilled, and in God's care of this man who was prepared to serve God loyally we are reminded that He never forsakes those who trust in Him and openly confess His message.

Although there are constant assurances of God's presence given to us in the earlier chapters of the Book of Jeremiah, it was at the time of greatest tension, when Nebuchadnezzar's armies were clamouring at the walls of Jerusalem, that the prophet received the most heartening messages of his whole prophecy.

They are recorded in chapters 30 to 33. Here Jeremiah learns that God has not finally forsaken His people but will restore them from captivity and also to a right relationship with Himself. To him too, and personally, there came many assurances of God's love and care.

The revelations of truth and understanding given to Jeremiah in his day were also pointing down the centuries to the present day in order that we might know the mind, the will and the love of God to His people Israel. "I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness I have drawn you" (31:3).

As we read the words of Jeremiah chapter 30 we note firstly that it was "the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord" (30:1). Here was the prophet's authority; here was the evidence that this message was not from the prophet himself but from almighty God, the God of Israel.

From there the following verses speak of the release from captivity of Israel and Judah: "'For behold, the days are coming,' says the LORD, 'that I will bring back from captivity my people Israel and Judah,' says the LORD. 'And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it. '"

This deliverance would be through judgement, ultimately resulting in Israel's salvation: "For thus says the LORD: 'We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear and not of peace . . . Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; and it is the time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be saved out of it'" (30:5-7).

The same concept is reiterated by the prophet Joel: "Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; for the day of the LORD is coming, for it is at hand: a day of clouds and thick darkness, like the morning clouds spread over the mountains" (Joel 2:1-2).

But after the terrible judgement the Lord promises the people: "I will break his yoke from your neck, and burst your bonds; foreigners shall no more enslave them, but they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up for them" (30:7-9) .

Then follows the promise of healing; God assures Judah that though " your affliction is incurable, your wound is severe" (30:12), He, the great Physician, would heal them: "'For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds,' says the LORD, 'because they called you an outcast, saying: "This is Zion, no one seeks her"'" (30:17).

The last section of Jeremiah's prophecy in chapter 30 clearly promises restoration, not only for Judah, but also for Israel, the great encouragement for all who are watchmen for Israel being: "Behold the whirlwind of the LORD goes forth with fury, a consuming whirlwind; it shall fall violently on the head of the wicked. The fierce anger of the LORD will not return until he has done it, and until he has performed the intents of his heart" (30:23).

Sow the wind and you reap the whirlwind, and all the enemies of Israel in this our day and generation will soon find out the certainty of such a principle. We reap what we sow – "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap" (Letter to the Galatians 6:7).

We note the end of the last verse of Jeremiah's warning message: "In the latter days you will consider it" (30:23), and we remember that this whirlwind will continue, falling "violently on the head of the wicked. The LORD will not turn back until he has executed and performed the thoughts of his heart. In the latter days you will understand it perfectly" (23:19-20).

Here are those "latter days" with us, and as we feel and see world events engulfing us, and especially the people of Israel, we need to remember that "there is nothing too hard for you" – nothing too hard for the Lord.