By Joseph Ametepe
The 60th Annual National Day of Prayer will take place Thursday, May 5, 2011. As usual, millions of believers in the United States will unite in concerted prayer for the nation. On this day, thousands of prayer events will take place from coast to coast. The theme for this year is "A Mighty Fortress is our God," taken from the theme verse of Psalm 91:2, which reads: "I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust" (NASB).
The context of this verse (see Psalm 91:1-16 ) shows that God is the "Most High" (Hebrew: Elyon) and "the Almighty" (Hebrew: Shadday). Elyon also means, elevated, high, exalted, the Supreme Being (the true God). As a proper name for God, Elyon signifies the exaltedness, the supremacy, and overwhelming majesty of deity. It reflects the omnipotence of God. Shaddayalso means the Powerful One, or the Mighty One. It also means the "One who is self-sufficient." Taken together, these two names depict God as an all-powerful and supreme God who is able to deliver and defend those who trust in Him. He can do all things. In other words, He is a God of great power who does impossible things.
Nowhere is this powerful image of God vividly portrayed than in the prophetic Old Testament book of Jeremiah. The name Jeremiah means the Lord hurls or Yahweh lifts up. Jeremiah was born in Anathoth, situated north of Jerusalem in the territory of Benjamin (Jeremiah 1:1-2). He was called to the prophetic ministry in the 13th year of Josiah's reign about 627 B.C. His ministry lasted for about 40 years-through the very last days of the nation of Judah when the capital city of Jerusalem was completely destroyed in 586 B.C. by King Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon.
The prophet Jeremiah ministered in a very difficult and distressful time. Rebellion against God had reached new heights. The priests, the prophets, the people, and the kings stubbornly refused to listen to God's warnings to them through His prophets. Jeremiah is often called "the weeping prophet" because he wept openly about the sins of his nation (Jeremiah 9:1). At times, he was also depressed about the futility of his message because as the years and his words of warning went unheeded, he lamented his unfortunate state (see Jeremiah 20:7). Please understand that Jeremiah did not weep and lament because of weakness, nor did he proclaim judgment because of a dark and gloomy personality. He wept and lamented because of his love for his people and his God.
One of the things I appreciate about Jeremiah is that ministering in a very difficult time to a nation that was unresponsive to God never weakened his confidence in God as the Powerful One, or the Mighty One, for whom nothing is too difficult. Jeremiah refused to allow the physical circumstances around him to blind his eyes of faith. Jeremiah kept believing in God as the Supreme Being who has no problem dealing with impossible circumstances.
As a nation, America is facing troubling and uncertain times. Spiritually, a cloud of darkness is hovering over the land. Hunger for God and the things of God is declining rapidly. Hatred for God and the things of God continue to rise at an alarming rate. We continue to tolerate sin. Good is called evil. And evil is called good. The truth of God's word is becoming more and more irrelevant in our public squares. God's word is being despised in our public squares. It is scoffed as being archaic for our modern times. The love of many is growing cold. Economically, life is still tough for many. Many are still without jobs and millions face foreclosure. To make matters worse, gas prices are skyrocketing. Speculations in the markets about the unrest in the Middle East fuel the rise in the price of gas at the pump. In short, the country is facing a grim and gloomy future. Uncertainty defines the times in which we live.
But God's people in this nation can find great comfort in God's message through Jeremiah. Why? Those in this nation who make God their refuge, who trust in Him, in spite of the uncertainties and challenges facing us, can through prayer, call upon the Almighty God to move His hand to change the direction in which we are headed. When God's people sincerely turn to the true and living God, who is revealed fully in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, He will be gracious to them. He has shown from His word that He is in the business of rescuing those who turn from their sins to Him in times of trouble. In humility of heart, Christians, that is, believers in Jesus Christ, born of the Spirit, bought with the precious blood of Jesus, and brought into a personal saving relationship with God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, must call upon God and confess the sins of the nation. God's believing people must approach Him in confident trust in His goodness and graciousness and ask Him to deliver this land from its rebellion against God and His ways. Without confession of the sins of the nations and crying out to God to turn back the tide of rebellion against Him, our future will not be bright, but bleak. Without such humble confession and honest cry to God for His mercy upon this nation, we can expect God's judgment, not joy; more despair, not delight.
One of the major teachings of the Bible is that God is eager to respond to the believing prayers of His people. In other words, God answers the prayers of His people who pray according to His will. God responded to the believing prayers of Moses (Exodus 15:25), Joshua (Joshua 10:12-14), the sons of Israel (Judges 3:9-30), Gideon (Judges 7:36-40), Samuel (1 Samuel 12:16-18), David (1 Chronicles 17:16-27), Solomon (2 Chronicles 7:12-22), Elijah (17:17-24; 18:36-40), Elisha (6:17-20), Jabez (1 Chronicles 4:10), the Reubenites and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh (1 Chronicles 5: 18-22), Isaiah (2 Kings 19:1-7; 2 Chronicles 32:20-21), Hezekiah (2 Kings 19:14-35; 2 Chronicles 32:20-21, 24), Manasseh (2 Chronicles 33:10-13), Daniel (Daniel 9), Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1:4-11), Ezra (Ezra 8:21-23), a leper (Mark 1:40-42), Bartimaeus, a blind beggar (Mark 10:46-52), the Apostles (Acts 4:24-31), Peter (Acts 9:36-42), the church in Jerusalem (Acts 12:3-17). In fact, the Bible summarizes God's response to the believing prayers of His people in these words: "God was moved by prayer for the land"(2 Samuel 21:14; 24:25).
Are you expecting God to bless our generation with His mighty and miraculous acts in response to our prayers? We can expect to see God act mightily in response to our believing and effectual prayers. Why? God's own promise to us is this: "The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much" James 5:16b (NASB).
For this year's National Day of Prayer, I would like us to turn our attention to Jeremiah 32:17-25. It vividly depicts God's man of the hour, Jeremiah, expressing confident faith in God. He firmly believed that God is the God of the impossible circumstances. Remember, Jerusalem was under siege. Life was unbearable for the people. In less than a year, Jerusalem and its temple would be destroyed by the Babylonians. However, despite the gloom and doom, Jeremiah resolutely believed that God is still in control and that He is in the booming business of doing the impossible. Not only does this passage boost our confidence in approaching God on behalf of this country, but it is also a powerful illustration of 2 Chronicles 7:14, which says,"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land" (NIV).
If we are going to pray effective prayers that get God's attention and accomplish much, then, we must draw near to God's throne applying the principles that are preserved in Jeremiah 32:17-25. Jeremiah's Spirit-led prayer is one of the most beautiful and blessed, powerful and practical prayers recorded in the Bible because from start to finish it focuses on the person of God, the power of God, the prominence of God, the purpose of God, the provision of God, and the promise of God. I am so glad that God carefully preserved this prayer for us so we can also learn from it. First of all, in this article, we will learn that God's specialty is doing the impossible (vv. 17-18). Secondly, we will look at the teaching that God's supernatural workings are unmatched (vv.19-21). Thirdly, we will consider the lesson that: God's special blessings to His people should never be taken for granted (v. 22). Fourthly, our deliberation will focus on this lesson: God's people's sincere confession opens the door for God to act graciously in their lives and circumstances (vv. 23-24). Fifthly, God's sure promise gives a steadfast hope even in the darkest of times (v. 25). Let's now begin to look at each of these major principles in detail!
- God's specialtyis doing the impossible (vv. 17-18).
God specializes in the impossible. God is the only specialist in the entire universe who has the credentials of dealing with impossible circumstances. He is the only specialist or expert the world has ever known when it comes doing things which are beyond the bounds of human powers or expectations. This is vividly captured in these words:
"Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You, who shows lovingkindness to thousands, but repays the iniquity of fathers into the bosom of their children after them, O great and mighty God. The LORD of hosts is His name" Jeremiah 32:17-18 (NASB).
After obeying God's word to him to buy the field of his cousin Hanamel, [meaning "grace of God"], Jeremiah gave the deed of purchase to Baruch [meaning "blessed"] son of Neriah [meaning "Yahweh is light"] (see Jeremiah 32:6-16). Baruch, was Jeremiah's scribe or secretary, who wrote much of the book of Jeremiah under the prophet's direction (see Jeremiah 36:27-28). This purchase was Jeremiah's expression of faith that God would one day restore Judah to the land as He had promised in Jeremiah 32:15. "For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, 'Houses and fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land." This is a promise of God. It is not Jeremiah's wishful thinking. Jeremiah had the choice of believing it or brushing it aside. His choice was the former. He believed it wholeheartedly. What about you? Do you believe God's promises to you wholeheartedly? Or do you brush them aside as having no value for your life?
The purchase of Hanamel's field by Jeremiah was also to serve as an assurance to the people of Judah that God would bring them back from Babylon. Although the Lord will destroy Jerusalem by means of the Babylonian army, because of the idolatry of His people, yet He will later bring them back from captivity and bless them greatly. Property will be bought and sold again, and thus the deed to the field of Anathoth will still be valid in a coming day. ~Adapted William MacDonald, Believer's Bible Commentary.
Please I want you to understand that Jeremiah was not praying this prayer in an ivory tower or in a beachfront resort with a tall glass of fresh, cool and sparkling sprite in his hands, having just polished off an 18-ounce prime rib. Hardly. Jeremiah was not in a cozy and comfortable surroundings. He was shut up in prison. King Zedekiah of Judah had him imprisoned because he personally didn't like God's words through Jeremiah to him (Jeremiah 32:2-5). It seems to be a pattern in Scripture that great prayers of faith rose from the hearts of those who were in difficult and desperate circumstances. Such was the case for Jeremiah. As if to make matters worse, the nation of Judah was living in difficult and distressing times. The land of Judah had been under siege. The army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem. In about a year, the city wall would be broken through by the Babylonian army. Jerusalem, its temple, the royal palace and the houses of the people would be set on fire and razed to the ground. Yet this was the time Jeremiah lifted up his prayer to God acknowledging that God specializes in the impossible.
Jeremiah begins his prayer by addressing God in these words: "Ah Lord GOD!" The NIV translates this expression as "Ah, Sovereign LORD." Literally, this expression reads, "Ah Lord YHWH!" The name "YHWH" (transliterated as Yahweh) has not been pronounced by the Jews because of reverence for the great sacredness of the divine name. Therefore, it has been consistently translated "LORD." The only exception to this translation is when it occurs in immediate proximity to the word "Lord," that is Adonai. In that case it is regularly translated "GOD" in order to avoid confusion. This is exactly the case here.
This address of God, first of all, shows that Jeremiah was approaching God with a great sense of urgency. The prophet Jeremiah had a great burden on his heart. And he knew the only place to unload his burden was at the throne of God. Moved by the Holy Spirit, Jeremiah begins to unload his heavy burden at the throne of none other, but Yahweh Himself, the self-existing, self-sufficient God, the supreme God of the universe. Actually, the address "Ah Lord Yahweh" not only expresses Jeremiah's sense of urgency, but it is also Jeremiah's way of expressing his adoration for the Lord. You see, Jeremiah has learned the importance of adoring the person of God in his prayer. In fact, throughout the rest of his prayer, Jeremiah adored the person of God by referring to Him as "the great and mighty God," and "the LORD of hosts" (v.18). "The LORD of hosts," literally, "Yahweh of Hosts" is a special name for God. It occurs sixty-two times in Isaiah, seventy-seven times in Jeremiah, fourteen times in Haggai, fifty-three times in Zechariah, and twenty-four times in Malachi. Interestingly enough, it does not appear in the Pentateuch, that is, the first-five books of the Bible. This special name for God depicts Yahweh as the Mightiest Warrior or all-powerful King of Israel and of the universe. Jeremiah really got into adoring the person of God in his prayer. Do you know how to truly adore the person of God in your prayers?
Having addressed the self-sufficient God with a great sense of urgency and adored the person of God, Jeremiah goes on to acknowledge the power of God and affirm the prominence of God. God's power and prominence are revealed in these words: "You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You" (v. 17). Yahweh is the omnipotent Creator of heaven and earth. God's omnipotence in the creation of the heaven and earth actually makes it plain that nothing is impossible for Him. No difficulty is insurmountable to Him. He has strength and power to master all oppositions and obstacles to His plans and purposes. He is the Creator. Who can control Him? Who dares contend with Him? In fact, Jeremiah's affirmation that Yahweh is the Creator of the universe makes the "BIG BANG THEORY" a "BIG BAD TRASH!"
Jeremiah's intercession for the land of Judah begins on a high note. He enters the throne room of God Almighty, with great confidence and conviction of heart that the God he is praying to is the One true God of the universe who specializes in the impossible. He makes the impossible possible. "For nothing will be impossible with God" (Luke 1:37), so the angel Gabriel said to virgin Mary, when she asked "how can this be, since I am a virgin?" (Luke 1:34). Our Lord Jesus Himself also declared to His disciples: "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26).
You see, Jeremiah believed that the answers to the nation's problems and predicament would not come from the royal palace or from the ruling elite, but from Yahweh who specializes in the impossible. That is why Jeremiah pressed in with God. That is why he poured out his heart to God. That is he prayed fervently to God. That is why he put his trust in God to deal with Judah's problems.
May I say to us, it is high time we in this land, also make it a spiritual habit of entering the throne room of God with such confidence in our hearts, believing that absolutely nothing is too hard, or too difficult for our God. We must approach God's throne trusting that nothing will be impossible with God. Why? God delights in hearing such intercessors for the land. These are the kind of prayer warriors God is looking for. Often, they are few in number. But, boy, when they press in with God, pour out their heart to God, pray earnestly to God, in full, resolute, unshakable faith, God turns impossibilities in their lives into possibilities for the praise of His glory!
Actually, the Hebrew word translated "is too difficult" comes from the Hebrew verb (pala). It also means, "to be extraordinary," "to be astonishing," "to be hard," "to be distinguished," or "to be wonderful." This Hebrew verb occurs 70 times in the Old Testament. Its basic meaning is to be wonderful and to cause a wonderful thing to happen. Its first occurrence in the Bible is found in Genesis 18:14. There, the Lord asked Abraham after Sarah laughed at the thought of bearing a child, being well advanced in years and past the age of childbearing: "Is anything too difficult for the LORD?" The expected answer to this question is that with God, nothing is impossible, no difficulty insuperable for Him. What's the point? The point here is that God does things which are beyond the bounds of human powers or expectation. It is not merely the unusual act or even the degree of astonishment, but the clear-cut exhibition of God's capable care for His people. What a wonderful God we have! He causes wonderful things to happen in the lives of His people because of His capable care and concern for His people! "Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to Your name give glory because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth" (Psalm 115:1).
You see, humanly speaking, buying property in a country that is under siege and about to be destroyed doesn't make any sense at all? Does it? But Jeremiah says: "I'm not going to focus on the circumstances around me. I'm not going to walk by sight. But I choose to walk by faith. I know that in view of the impending capture and destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, it seems improbable, impossible, insurmountable, insuperable that houses, fields, and vineyards will ever be bought here again. But I choose to believe in my God who is an expert in handling situations that are beyond the bounds of human powers or expectations. I choose to rise above the circumstances surrounding me. I choose to fix my eyes of faith on You, Yahweh, the Creator, the great and mighty God, the Lord of hosts, the Mightiest Warrior, who specializes in the impossible." Who could with difficulty rise to such confidence of faith? Well, through the Holy Spirit, Jeremiah did. And the same Holy Spirit who worked in Jeremiah's life is willing to work in our lives to rise to such confidence of faith in facing our difficulties and challenges.
Charles R. Swindoll writes:
"Do you realize that whatever thing or things you're calling "impossibilities" could be superimposed over what God says is "nothing" to Him? Nothing! I don't have to know your situation. All I need to know-and all you need to know-is God and His promises. He is Lord, the bottom line of life, and nothing is too hard for Him." -Charles R. Swindoll, The Living Insights Study Bible, p. 790.
An unknown author also writes this poem:
"The Savior can solve every problem, /The tangles of life can undo. /There's nothing too hard for Jesus; /There is nothing that He cannot do."-Author unknown
God is the only specialist in dealing with impossible circumstances in the lives of His people. This is vividly illustrated in the prayer of Jeremiah. But it is also seen in the life of Elisha. Three kings, the king of Israel, the king of Judah, and the king of Edom joined forces to fight against the king of Moab for rebelling against the king of Israel. After seven days of journey, there was no water for the army or for the cattle that had followed them. The ungodly king of Israel spoke up to blame God, saying that the Lord had called these three kings in order to give them into the hand of the king of Moab. The king of Judah, Jehoshaphat suggested that they inquired the Lord. Elisha was approached, but he made it clear that were it not that he regarded the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, he would not look at nor see the face of the king of Israel. After a musician played, the hand of the Lord came upon Elisha. He said, "Thus says the LORD, 'Make this valley full of trenches.' For thus says the LORD, 'You shall not see wind nor shall you see rain; yet the valley shall be filled with water, so that you shall drink, both you and your cattle and your beasts. This is but a slight thing in the sight of the LORD; He will also give the Moabites into your hand'" (2 Kings 3:16-18).
I love that. Through Elisha's prophetic word, the three kings experienced first hand that God specializes in the impossible. He does things that are beyond the bounds of human powers or expectations. Without wind and rain, God filled the valley full of water (2 Kings 3:20). As far as Elisha was concerned, "this is but a slight thing in the sight of the LORD." In other words, Elisha is saying, "Nothing is too difficult for God. He is the only expert there is when it comes to handling impossibilities in the lives of His people."
It is interesting to note that after Jeremiah's prayer affirming that nothing is too difficult for the Lord, He responded to Jeremiah with this declaration and question: "Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?" (Jeremiah 32:26). You see, Jeremiah had confessed his faith in God's omnipotence. Now the Lord declares Himself to be "Yahweh Elohe kal basar," the strong powerful Creator and Ruler of all mankind, the God on whom depend the life and death of all men. He wants Jeremiah to know that neither the bitterest hatred of the strongest of His enemies can nullify the plans and purposes of the omnipotent God. He is saying to Jeremiah, "I want to emphatically confirm to you that to Me as the Creator of heaven and earth, nothing is impossible. Just trust Me that I can do whatever I promise. Hold onto your confession. Don't allow your conviction in My ability to do the impossible waver nor wane."
Please notice also that the God Jeremiah is praying to is not only a God of power and prominence, but a God who personally takes it upon Himself to exercise grace and justice. He "shows lovingkindness to thousands, but repays the iniquity of fathers into the bosom of their children after them" (v. 18). In other words, God is a God of boundless bottomless mercy, but He is also a God who expresses His displeasure and hatred against the unrighteousness of sinners. Jeremiah had a balanced view of God in his prayer. He didn't just focus on God's goodness and grace, but also God's justice.
Now the question is: How do we apply this first principle in our lives, specifically in praying for this nation? First of all, we must ask the Holy Spirit to train and teach us to adore the person of God, to acknowledge the power of God, to affirm the prominence of God in our prayers. Secondly, we must ask the Spirit of the Lord to give us a fresh sense of the greatness and power of God. Thirdly, we must allow the Spirit of God to stretch and strengthen our confidence in God's ability to do the impossible in our lives and in the land. Fourthly, through the assistance of the Spirit, we must learn to fix our eyes on God, His person and power, not on the difficulties we are facing as a nation. Our focus must be on the Creator, the God of great power and might, not on the circumstances. Fifthly, we must not make the mistake of thinking that the answers to the problems of the nation will come from the White House or the government. Rather, we must earnestly seek the Lord and look to Him. For He alone has the answers for this nation's problems. Then, and only then, can we pray with the confidence of faith that resolutely believes that nothing is too hard, or too difficult for Him. Then can we pray with conviction of heart that nothing will be impossible for God.
Having addressed God with a great sense of urgency, and having adored the person of God, and affirmed His prominence over all, the Holy Spirit now takes Jeremiah's prayer to another level. At this level, Jeremiah, applauded God for being in a distinguished class of His own, that is, He is a God whose miraculous works have no match among the gods of the nations and the sons of men.
- God's supernatural workings are unmatched (vv. 19-21).
We serve a God of signs and wonders. He is a supernatural God. No wonder, His workings are supernatural. When He chooses to act supernaturally to advance His purposes, no one can match Him. In fact, the magicians of Pharaoh discovered this truth for themselves in a rather hard and humbling way. They tried with their secret arts to bring forth gnats, but they could not. Then, they admitted to Pharaoh and to themselves: "This is the finger of God" (Exodus 8:19). Thinking of God's unmatchable supernatural works in Egypt, Jeremiah continues his intercession for the nation of Judah, saying in Jeremiah 32:19-21:
"Great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are opened to all the ways of the sons of men, giving to every man according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds; who has set signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, and even to this day both in Israel and among mankind; and You have made a name for Yourself, as at this day. You brought Your people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and with wonders, and with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm and with great terror" Jeremiah:32:19-21 (NASB).
Notice that Jeremiah first of all admitted that God is great in counsel. The Hebrew word for "counsel" ('etsah) also means, "advice," " wisdom," " purpose," " plan," "design," or "deliberation." Jeremiah is simply saying, "If you need the best advice or wisdom to deal with life's circumstances, the person to go to is God. Commentator Matthew Henry expands on this idea:
"He is great in counsel, so vast are the reaches and so deep are the designs of his wisdom, and he is mighty in doing, according to the will of his counsel." Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry's Commentary, Volume IV, p. 612.
Jeremiah continues to acknowledge that the God, who is great and mighty in deeds, has universal knowledge of all the actions of the children of men. God's eyes are open to all the ways of men, wherever they are, noticing the evil and the good. God's eyes carefully observe all our ways, both the path we take and every step we take. He does so, not as an aloof spectator, but as an observing Righteous Judge, "giving to everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds." In other words, God holds people accountable for their actions. Today, many buy into the deception of the devil, which says: "Don't worry! There is no God who will hold people responsible for their actions here on earth." Well, as far as the prophet Jeremiah is concerned, that's not true. God will hold every single person accountable for their actions, good or bad.
Commentators Keil and Delitzsch writes on this thought:
"God shows His greatness and might in the wisdom with which He regards the doings of men, and in the power with which He executes His decrees, so as to recompense to every one according to his deeds."- Keil & Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 8, p. 291.
Now would you please notice that Jeremiah turns his attention to the recounting of God's unmerited grace in delivering Israel out of Egypt with signs and wonders. In other words, he speaks of how God has further displayed His omnipotence and righteousness in His guidance of Israel, in His leading them out of their bondage in Egypt with miraculous signs and wonders. He prays: "who has set signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, and even to this day both in Israel and among mankind; and You have made a name for Yourself, as at this day. You brought Your people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and with wonders..."(Jeremiah 32:20-21).
Please notice that Jeremiah mentions the expression "signs and wonders," twice. The repetition is for emphasis. It is stressing the point that God's supernatural workings have no match among the sons of men. He stands alone in this department. The phrase "has set" is from the Hebrew verb "sim." It also means "to establish," "to plant," "to put," "to set down," "to appoint." This is one of the most common verbs in the Old Testament. It is used 575 times. The basic meaning is to put something somewhere. Jeremiah is saying, "God has put His supernatural workings in the land of Egypt and have continued them to this day, both in Israel and among all mankind." In other words, God has done wonders in Egypt, and has still been doing them until this day in Israel and among other men.
The Hebrew word for "wonders" (mopheth) also means "wonderful deed," "miraculous sign," "miracle." It speaks of the mighty acts of God. These wonderful deeds or miraculous signs which speak of the mighty and marvelous works of God will never be forgotten. Israel is reminded of these signs and wonders every year at Passover.
In fact, the expression "signs and wonders" is a popular expression in the Bible. It is used repeatedly by God's prophets whenever they recount the great things God had done for His people Israel (see Deuteronomy 4:34; 6:22; 7:19; 26:8-9; 34:11; Nehemiah 9:10; Psalm 78:43; 105:22, 27; 135:9; Daniel 4:3; 6:27; Acts 7:36).
After God's deliverance of Israel at the Red Sea, the children Israel lifted up their praises to God. In their praise, they described God as the God who works wonders "Who is like You among the gods, O LORD? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders" (Exodus 15:11). Their point is simply this: God does supernatural things. Impossible circumstances are never without a solution to our all-powerful God. He has no one among the gods like Him when it comes to working wonders.
But sadly, we have allowed the advances of science and technology to dull and dampen our desire to pursue God to display His wondrous works among us for His glory. We are quick to turn to science and technology to solve our problems, whatever they may be. We rely on science and technology to fix our problems more than we rely on Almighty God. I was pursuing a civil engineering career before the Lord called me to leave it all behind. So I know that science and technology have played a role in improving the quality of life. But I also know that God's people's dependence on the technological advances of our age more than we depend on God Himself, deeply grieves the heart of God. It displeases Him. It dishonors Him. It doesn't reflect well on who He is. Even when we are in prayer or in a worship service, we can't turn off our cell phones. We are afraid we might miss an important call. We act as if God has a lot of "catching up" to do with our modern and technologically advanced age and way of living. God's believing people demonstrate very little desire to rely wholeheartedly on God to be God, that is, have the freedom to do as He pleases-even doing supernatural things among them.
Are we so enamored by our advanced technological devices that we forget that our God is a God who works wonders (Exodus 15:11)? Are we so in love with our modern gadgets that we fail to lay hold of God for promises such as: "Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know" (Jeremiah 33:3). "He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him, and honor him" (Psalm 91:15). What great and precious promises! Many times we forget these promises of God. In the face of difficulties and uncertainties how frequently do we turn to a "do-it-yourself" Christianity to fix our problems? Too often we look no further than our own solutions, when what we need is the wonder-working power of God.
I believe the God of the Bible hasn't changed. He is still the same eternal, all-powerful God and Ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations. He is still able, yes, more than able to demonstrate His unmatchable supernatural works among us today, not merely to dazzle us, but to drive us to our knees in recognition of who He is. He is the Creator. He is in control. He is in charge. "Our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases....Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all the deeps" (Psalm 115:3; 135:6). And what He pleases to do includes signs and wonders, to display His glory, to deliver His people, to defeat and destroy His enemies.
How do we apply the teaching that God's supernatural workings are unmatched in such a time as this in praying for this land? It is simply this: As a believer in Jesus Christ God is saying to you that, you should not rely more on technology than you rely on the true God of the universe. You should not depend more on science than you depend on the self-sufficient and Supreme Deity of the universe. In other words, don't let the advances of modern age deaden your desire to let me be God. Believe that I am able to perform signs and wonders among men today to display My glory and deliver My people. Also, you should look further than your own our solutions to the wonder-working power of God. Many of us should confess that we have forgotten about the wonder-working power of the supreme God of the universe and have focused on our own abilities to fix our problems. May I humbly but firmly say to us, that the problems we are facing in this nation and in any other nation on earth, cannot be solved by human powers, and science and technology. It takes far more than human ingenuity, skills, strength, and abilities to solve our economic, environmental, physical, psychological, and social problems, let alone spiritual problems. God's supernatural power is desperately needed in fixing our problems! We need God. We His supernatural intervention. We need His wonder-working power.
Having applauded God for His supernatural works that have no match among the sons of men, the Holy Spirit now leads Jeremiah to appreciate God for His provision-a provision that should never be taken for granted by His people.
III. God's special blessing to His people should never be taken for granted (v. 22).
Jeremiah now turns to God and says in effect, "In spite of the horrible things that have happened to us and are going to happen to us, I want to say to You, that I have not forgotten the special blessing You have bestowed on us. I have not taken for granted your special blessing to us."
Now someone says what is the special blessing Jeremiah is speaking about? We find that in verse 22.
"And gave them this land, which You swore to their forefathers togive them, a land flowing with milk and honey" Jeremiah 32:22 (NASB).
It is good for God's believing people often to reflect upon the goodness of God to them and the great things He had done for them in the past. This is exactly what Jeremiah is doing here. He reflected upon the goodness of God to Israel in times past. God Himself gave this land, which is now under siege to the Babylonian army. This was Jeremiah's way of expressing his appreciation to God for the blessing God bestowed on His chosen people.
Please understand that it was not Israel who decided to make the "Promised Land" their own. The decision was God's. He made the choice to give the land of Canaan to Abraham's descendants, that is, the Jews. When God called Abram (later Abraham) from Ur of the Chaldeans to leave his home country, the first promise God made to him was that He would show him a land and make him a great nation (Genesis 11:31; 12:1-3). Soon after Abraham responded to God's order and set his foot on the land of Canaan, God appeared to him and made this promise: "To your descendants I will give this land" (Genesis 12:7). He is speaking here speaking of Abraham's descendants through Isaac who was yet to be born. At one point, Abraham thought the heir of his house would be Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in his house. But God bluntly told Abraham that that would not be case. Then He assured Abraham again that He would give the land of Canaan to his descendants (see Genesis 15). After 25 years of waiting, the child of promise, Isaac was born. God later reiterated His promise to give the land to Isaac's descendants (Genesis 26:1-5). God would later reaffirm His promise to give Promised Land to Jacob (Genesis 28:10-15). What's the point? It was God's plan and purpose and promise to give the land of Canaan to His chosen people. God kept His oath, that is, His word of promise. He brought His people out of a place of bondage, that is, Egypt, to a place of blessing, that is, the "Promised Land." This is what Jeremiah is now affirming in his prayer. Yahweh, the Creator of heaven and earth, the Owner of all things, the Possessor of heaven and earth, the Ruler of all things, who does as He pleases in heaven and in earth, decided it was a good idea to give the land to Israel. I don't have a problem with that! Do you? If you do, what's your problem? That we are living in a modern age, so we must do away with the claim that God gave the land to Israel? All I know is that whatever problem you may have with the Bible's teaching that God gave the land to Israel, He is capable of handling it. He is not perturbed by whatever problem you may have against His Word. He is not panicking on His throne. He is at peace and at rest, waiting for His appointed time to act. When God reveals Himself on the Bible's teaching that He gave the land to Israel, I tell you friend, you will discover that you had no case at all. You will rest your case and find at last, that God had been right all along. You will be humiliated and put to shame before Almighty God. You will say to yourself on that day, "If only I had listened to the truth revealed in the Bible, I would have said myself a lot of heartache and hurt."
In fact, one of the most often repeated phrases in Moses' farewell speech to the new generation of Israel, just before they crossed the Jordan River was this: "the land the LORD your God is giving you" (Deuteronomy 4:40; 11:31; 12:10; 15:4; 16:20; 17:14; 18:9; 19:2, 3, 14; 21:1, 23; 24:4; 25:15, 19; 26:1, 2; 27:2; 28:52). Also in his farewell speech, Joshua warned the new generation that had entered the "Promised Land" not to ever think that it was by their sword or their bow that gave them possession of the land. God was the One who brought them into the land. God was the One who gave them the land. God also fought for them (Joshua 24:8-13). The point is clear; giving the land of Canaan to Israel was all God's idea. It was His sovereign decision. It was His own personally choice. He is God. He is free to do as He pleases. "He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, 'What have You done" (Daniel 4:35-36).
The Hebrew verb translated "gave" is "nathan." It means "to give personally," to deliver or hand to," "to bestow as a blessing," "to grant," "to provide," " to commit," " to entrust." This Hebrew verb occurs 2016 times in the Old Testament. It speaks of gracious bestowals of various kinds. The point here is that the land is a gracious gift of God to His chosen people. It is therefore a special blessing indeed. This land is so special that God often describes it as "a land flowing with milk and honey" (Exodus 13:15; 20:24; Numbers 14:8; Deuteronomy 6:3; 11:9; 26:9, 15; 27:3; 31:20). This description speaks of the richness of the land. In other words, it is a fertile land.
It is also repeatedly called "the good land" (Deuteronomy 1:8, 25, 35; 4:22; 6:18; 8:7-10; 9:6; 11:17; Joshua 23:13, 15). Israel's land is also called "the fair land, that good hill country" (Deuteronomy 3:25). It is also referred to as the "Beautiful Land" (Daniel 8:9; 11:6, 41). It is also called "the holy land" (Zechariah 2:12). God gave Israel the land after driving out from before them nations greater and mightier than Israel (Deuteronomy 4:38). It is a land God Himself personally cares for (Deuteronomy 11:10-12). It is also described as "the broad and rich land" (Nehemiah 9:35). Speaking of Jerusalem, God proudly says: "This is Jerusalem; I have set her at the center of the nations, with lands around her"(Ezekiel 5:5). All these vivid descriptions of the land God gave His chosen people make Jeremiah's appreciation all the more relevant and rich.
Do you take God's blessing in your life for granted? Do you express appreciation to God for the overflow of His goodness in your life? Or do you think that your power and the strength of your hand had made you your wealth? Has your heart become proud about the increase of your fortunes? Have you become so satisfied with your riches so as to forget the true source of them-God?
While I salute all the men and women in uniform, who have fought and are still fighting to preserve the freedom of this land, my highest praise goes to Yahweh, Creator and Possessor of heaven and earth. Why? He it was who gave this land to the people of America. He established the boundaries of this nation. He had determined the appointed times for this land. No matter what is happening in this country, we should also never forget that this land is a gracious gift from God. We should therefore never take it for granted but continually express our appreciation to Him for this gracious gift and countless others.
Having expressed his appreciation to God for His gracious gift of the land to His people, Jeremiah is now led by the Spirit of God to admit to God the sins of the nation of Judah.
- God's people's sincere confession opens the door for God to act graciously in their lives and circumstances (vv. 23-24).
God desires sincerity in our confession. He wants His people to be honest. He wants them to call a spade a spade when they come into His presence. We must call sin, sin without beating around the bush. That's exactly what Jeremiah did. Jeremiah knew it would be a waste of time to complain, grumble, or beat around the bush on the issue of the sins of the nation of Judah. The Bible's record of Jeremiah's sincere confession is vividly presented in these words:
"They came in and took possession of it, but they did not obey Your voice or walk in Your law; they have done nothing of all that You commanded them to do; therefore You have made all this calamity come upon them. Behold, the siege ramps have reached the city to take it; and the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans who fight against it, because of the sword, the famine and the pestilence; and what You have spoken has come to pass; and behold, You see it" Jeremiah 32:23-24 (NASB).
I believe this was a tender moment for Jeremiah. He had come to the point in his intercession where he must choose between two popular clubs of his day, namely the Complainer's Club and the Confession Club. By the way, these two clubs are alive and well today. The Complainer's Club are full of people who spend all their time complaining about the circumstances in the land, calling their leaders and rulers all kinds of derogatory and even vicious names, condemning and criticizing negatively, actions and attitudes which are not healthy or helpful. In the Complainer's Club, members spend their time talking among themselves about all the wrongs others are doing. They rarely talk to God about the wrongs and sins of others. Why? They are complainers. By the way, the members of the Complainer's Club are always in the majority. They are in every city, county, country, and continent.
Jeremiah knew better. He chose to join the Confession Club. The people in this club spend a great deal of time talking to God about the sins of the land. They stand in the gap for the nation confessing the sins of the land to God. This is exactly what Jeremiah is doing here. Since he is called the "Weeping Prophet," I imagine at this point, tears were flowing down his face and falling down onto the prison floor where he was being held.
Please understand that Jeremiah's confession was not made with a "holier-than-thou" spirit. Rather, his confession was made in humility of heart. You see, Jeremiah knew that a "holier-than-thou" attitude in confession displeases God. It stinks! It short-circuits the flow of God's grace into the lives of God's people. His confession was therefore heartfelt, honest, and humble. Our Lord Jesus Himself spoke about the "holier-than-thou" attitude of a Pharisee who went to the temple to pray. He was so confident of his own righteousness and looked down on everybody else. He prayed about himself that he was better than others. His prayer was rejected. It didn't benefit him. Why? It was prayed with a "holier-than-thou" attitude. But a publican who prayed with a humble heart was accepted by God (Luke 18:9-14).
Jeremiah confessed to God that when the people had taken possession of the land, they did not listen to the voice of their God. They did not follow God's law. They did not do what God commanded them to do. God had done everything He had promised to do for them. He brought them into the land. He drove out their enemies. He blessed them in the land. He protected them in the land. He provided for their needs abundantly. He cared for them in every way imaginable. He gave them His statutes. He gave them prophets who spoke in His name to point them to Him. Despite all these wonders of grace which God poured upon His people, they requited Him with base unthankfulness, and ungrateful conduct. They paid no respect to any of God's calls by His prophets. This is sad indeed! After all the kindness God had shown His people, all He received from them was a "slap in the face." God had been faithful to His people, but they repaid Him with unfaithfulness. Elohim had been so gracious to His people, but they requited Him with disobedience. Yahweh had been generous with His people, but they repaid Him with a rebellious spirit.
Let's be honest! Is this not happening in this land? After all the blessings God has poured out on this nation because the founding fathers sought God and submitted to His Word, we have repaid God by banning prayer in public schools. We have been turning a deaf ear to His voice. We have not been submitting to His word. We have not been walking in His truth. We have not been desiring God. All God has been receiving from us for all the kindness He's shown this nation is a "slap in the face." How sad! How shameful!
Two stories in 2 Chronicles further powerfully illustrates this. The first story is in 2 Chronicles 24. Athaliah, the mother of King Ahaziah of Judah, was an opportunist and a power hungry woman. Seeing that her son Ahaziah had been put death, she quickly seized power to climb to the throne of Judah by killing all the royal offspring of the house of Judah. However, Joash, a son of Ahaziah, was hidden from the power hungry Athaliah for six years while she reigned over Judah. Joash was installed as king through the leadership of Jehoiada the priest, who also, personally mentored the young king Joash. Joash did well in seeking the Lord while under the mentorship of Jehoiada. However, after the priest died, Joash abandoned the Lord and His house. For this, God sent Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada the priest to deliver His message of rebuke and warning to him. Speaking by the Spirit of the Lord, Zechariah declares: "Thus God has said, 'Why do you transgress the commandments of the LORD and do not prosper? Because you have forsaken the LORD, He has also forsaken you. So they conspired against him and at the command of the king they stoned him to death in the court of the house of the LORD. Thus Joash the king did not remember the kindness which his father Jehoiada had shown him, but he murdered his son" (2 Chronicles 24:20-22).
The second story is found in 2 Chronicles 32. After King Hezekiah of Judah had restored temple worship and celebrated the Passover, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah. His intention was to make war on Jerusalem. Hezekiah took several practical steps in strengthening the defenses of Jerusalem. But the most important step he took was to pray. He and Isaiah cried out in prayer to heaven about this invasion. God heard their cries. He sent an angel who singlehandedly took on the entire Assyrian army and annihilated all the fighting men and leaders and officers. So the Lord saved Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib king of Assyria and from the hand of all others. After this glorious victory, Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. In his distress, Hezekiah prayed to the Lord and He gave him a miraculous sign. He recovered from his near death illness. However, something sad happened after his recovery. The Bible's record of the sad incidence is as follows: "But Hezekiah's heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him; therefore the LORD's wrath was on him and on Judah and Jerusalem" (2 Chronicles 32:25 NIV). Hezekiah would later repent of the pride of his heart (2 Chronicles 32:26).
The point of these stories is that like Joash and Hezekiah in his pride, the nation of Judah in Jeremiah's day, had been shown extraordinary kindness by God, but they did not remember His kindness, but rebelled against Him. They did not respond to the kindness He had shown them, but resisted His plans for their lives. They turned their backs on God. What a sincere confession Jeremiah made!
As a result of turning their backs on God, calamity, evil, or misfortune (Hebrew: ra) came upon the people of Judah. That is why Jeremiah goes on to confess: "Therefore You have made all this calamity come upon them. Behold, the siege ramps have reached the city to take it; and the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans who fight against it, because of the sword, the famine and the pestilence; and what You have spoken has come to pass; and behold, You see it" (Jeremiah 32:23a-24). Jeremiah is simply admitting to God that He was righteous in causing all this evil to come upon them. What evil? The city, that is, Jerusalem, is besieged by a ruthless foreign army, the Chaldeans. It is attacked by the sword of the Chaldeans from without. It is weakened and wasted by the famine and pestilence within. The city is ready to fall into the hands of the Chaldeans who fight against it. This calamity came upon Judah and Jerusalem because God had repeatedly warned them through His prophets (see 2 Chronicles 36:15-16), like Jeremiah, but they would not listen. If they had regarded the warnings of God through His prophets, and repented of their wicked ways, the disaster would have been prevented. But since they didn't, Jeremiah says, "What You have spoken has come to pass; and behold, You see it" (Jeremiah 32:24b).
Notice Jeremiah neither complains against God for what He had done nor counsels God as to what He should do. He simply commits the whole situation to God for His consideration and compassion. I like the phrase, "You see it." It is a comforting expression. Whatever trouble we are facing individually or collectively as a nation, we may comfort ourselves with this, that our God sees it and knows how to resolve it.
Why was Jeremiah so candid in his confession before God? The answer: He knew confession would open the door for God to act graciously in the lives and circumstances of His people. Jeremiah acknowledges that the shameful ingratitude and disobedience of the chosen people has fully deserved the evils Judah is now suffering. Several years later, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah would follow Jeremiah's example of sincere confession. Each of their sincere confession opened the door for God to act graciously in the lives of His chosen people. Daniel's confession opened the door of return to Judah after 70 years of captivity (Daniel 9). Ezra's confession opened the door for the rebuilding and restoration of temple worship in Jerusalem (Ezra 7-9). Nehemiah's confession opened the door for the rebuilding of the city wall of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 1-5). That's what sincere confession of God's people does. God responds to it by acting graciously in the lives and circumstances of His people.
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), the 16th president of the United States, once made a sincere confession to God on behalf of this nation. I believe this confession is still relevant and desperately needed today. In fact, in many ways, it is similar to Jeremiah's confession. Please read carefully his confession:
"We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious Hand that preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessing were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us! It behooves us then to humble ourselves before the offended power, to confess our national sins and pray for clemency and forgiveness." ~ Abraham Lincoln
How do we apply this principle of prayer in such a time as this for our nation? First of all, this teaching should encourage us to approach God on behalf of our land. God wants sincere confession from the hearts of His people. He desires honest and heartfelt confession from us. He wants us to take Him at His word, that, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). Secondly, we must allow the Holy Spirit to cleanse our own heart of where we have repaid God's kindness and faithfulness to us with a stubborn and rebellious spirit. This takes real humility. Jeremiah demonstrated such humility. I believe the Holy Spirit is willing to work in us to display not only honesty, but also humility in our confession on behalf of the nation. Thirdly, we must not enter into confession with a "holier-than-thou" attitude. Fourthly, this principle of making sincere confession should elevate our level of expectation for God to act graciously on behalf of the land. God's character and commitment to His word are such that whenever He sees humble, honest, and heartfelt confession of His people, He responds to them in compassion (see Judges 2:18; 10:15-16; 2 Chronicles 33:10-13). Fifthly, we must avoid complaining against God for what He's done. We must avoid counseling Him as to what He should do. Rather, we should simply commit the circumstances the country is facing into His hand. "Behold, You see it!" should be our confession as well.
Having acknowledged the sins of the nation to the Lord, the Holy Spirit now brings Jeremiah's intercession to a close by focusing his attention to the promise of God.
- God's sure promise gives a steadfast hope even in the darkest of times(v. 25).
Jeremiah's prayer was centered on the word of God. Earlier, in verse 24, he prayed: "what You have spoken has come to pass." Now, as he concludes his prayer, he reminds God of His sure word of promise to him. The Bible's record of God's sure promise to Jeremiah is stated below.
"You have said to me, O Lord GOD, "Buy for yourself the field with money and call in witnesses"-although the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans" Jeremiah 32:25 (NASB).
Jeremiah begins his prayer with the address "Ah Lord GOD!" Now he ends with "O Lord GOD." Thus Jeremiah prayer begins and ends with his eyes firmly fixed on the person of God. Jeremiah keeps his eyes on God and His word to him. He knows that when everything around him is falling apart, one thing to hold onto is God's sure promise. Why? God keeps His promises. "God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent; has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19). The expected answer to these questions is, a resounding yes, and yes, indeed!
Jeremiah is saying here: "Lord, I have faithfully obeyed Your word to purchase the field. As soon as I understood that this was Your will, I did it. I did not hesitate. I did not hold back. I did not raise any objection to You. I did not dispute Your word to me. I did not drag my feet. I did not delay. I was not disobedient to Your divine command to me. I did exactly what You had ordered me to do. But the city of Jerusalem is now given into the hand of the Chaldeans, which means, no man is likely going to enjoy what he has. Lord, can You help me understand this! Your promise seems to me utterly incongruous with the present circumstances Judah and Jerusalem is facing. In other words, what I see with my eyes and what You said with Your mouth to me lack harmony. They are not in agreement. I desire to understand why You ordered me to do this. Please, help me solve this riddle!"
So, what we are learning in this verse is that Jeremiah is not expressing doubt here, but rather a desire to understand what God is doing. In other words, he is asking for an explanation from God regarding the future. This explanation immediately follows in the words of the Lord (vv. 26-44), specifically addressed to Jeremiah. If you read verses 26-44, you would notice that God did not rebuke Jeremiah for doubting Him. Why? Jeremiah didn't doubt him. But God took the time to respond to Jeremiah and reassure him that indeed He is the God who specializes in the impossible. So Jeremiah was not rebuked but reassured. In addition, God also explained the future to Jeremiah. How wonderful is our God!
Although Jeremiah didn't understand it all, he was obedient to God's word to him. God's word to Jeremiah gave light to him in a rather dark and disturbing time. God's sure promise to Jeremiah gave him steadfast hope in a rather hopeless situation. God's specific word to Jeremiah sustained him in a time when everything was falling apart around him. It strengthened him. It supported him. It helped him fixed his eyes on God. It kept him afloat in the storms. It upheld him. It was his stability in a rather shaky time. It was his anchor in the storm. I like Jeremiah's words: "You have said to me, O Lord GOD." The psalmist says:"Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven....Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path....The sum of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.... I rejoice at Your word, as one finds great spoil" (Psalm 119:89, 105, 160, 162). The circumstances scream one thing, but God's word says another. Jeremiah says, "I will go with what God says, not what the circumstances are screaming at me." This is steadfast hope in God's sure promise.
Now the question is: How do we apply this principle in our prayers in such a time as this? First of all, we must learn to spend time in God's presence and in His Word. Why? This is the only way we can also hear the still small voice of the Holy Spirit so we can also respond to God in prayer: "You have said to me, O Lord GOD." There is no substitute for spending time in God's presence and in His Word. Secondly, we must learn to obey what God says to us even if it doesn't make sense to us. We must not drag our feet. We must not dispute His word to us. We must do as He says. Thirdly, we must choose to go with what God says to us, not what the circumstances scream at us. When what we see with our eyes and what God has said to us in His Word are not in harmony, we should not waver in belief, but grow strong in faith, trusting in His word: "Lord, You have said to me."We must be fully assured that what God has promised, He is also able to perform (see Romans 4:21).
Certainly, the circumstances in this nation are disturbing and desperate. But God has revealed that He is the God who specializes in the impossible. He has promised in His word that "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV). His word is reliable. His word is dependable. He wants His people to believe that nothing is too difficult for Him. He wants us to believe that He is a wonder-working God, whose supernatural works are unmatched. He does not want us to take His blessings for granted. He wants us to be sincere in our confession to Him on behalf of our nation. He also wants us to trust in His word even when what we see happening is not congruent to His word to us.
Throughout the history of God's people, God has been moved by prayer for the land. This testimony is recorded twice in the book of Samuel: "God was moved by prayer for the land" (2 Samuel 21:14b; 24:25). The challenge is now ours. Will it be said of us that we have also responded to the challenge of our times to pray effectively and effectually to move God to act on behalf of this nation?" History will reveal the answer to this question.
You can also follow this link to read the 2006 Prayer for the Nation. Also, use this link for the 2007 National Day of Prayer article: Prayer that Moves the Heart and Hand of God. Follow this link for the 2008 National Day of Prayer article: Becoming God's Agent of Revival. Use this link for the 2009 National Day of Prayer article: America! Let's Stage a Come Back to God! Also, use this link for the 2010 National Day of Prayer article: Are You a Watchman on the Wall?
"And Samuel took a suckling lamb and offered it for a whole burnt offering to the LORD; and Samuel cried to the LORD for Israel and the LORD answered him." 1 Samuel 7:9 (NASB).