Big Idea: What a way to end one's story. What can we learn from such an unspeakable tragedy?

By God's grace, this concludes our sermon series of 15 sermons on the 52 chapters of the book of Jeremiah--A Fire in My Bones (Jer 20:9). The last two weeks was about little known people in the Bible who were indispensable: Ebed-Melek and Baruch. From these "unknown" people who seem inconsequential, Ebed-Melek demonstrates that we can trust God and be saved, while Baruch--Jeremiah's assistant--was magnificent. Without them there would be no Jeremiah!

This is a very difficult sermon to prepare for, since it just goes downhill from judgment to more judgment. The various titles I came up with were: "Many Reasons for Judgment, Only One Reason for Salvation." Next, was "Why Judgment, How Salvation." Then it was "A Sad Tragic End." Finally, from speaking with a friend, I settled on this just before the worship service began: "When Bad Things Happen to Bad People."

Last week: Even in the time of judgment, we can trust God and be saved.

Big IdeaPlay second fiddle with enthusiasm, excitement and exhilaration.

Leonard Bernstein, the late conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, was once asked to name the most difficult instrument to play. Without hesitation, he replied: “The second fiddle. I can get plenty of first violinists, but to find someone who can play the second fiddle with enthusiasm – that’s a problem; and if we have no second fiddle, we have no harmony."

“Are you seeking great things for yourself? Don’t do it! I will bring great disaster upon all these people; but I will give you your life (nephesh - one’s total being) as a reward (a prize of war - ESV) wherever you go. I, the LORD, have spoken!” (Jeremiah 45:5, NLT)

Big Idea: Destroy God's Word, God destroys you. Trust God and be saved.

"I will save you; you will not fall by the sword but will escape with your life, because you trust in me, declares the Lord” (Jer 39:18).

Trusting God--which requires faith--is the way to life (Gen 15:6; Rom 1:17). Trusting God is a central theme of Scripture (Prov 3:5; Jn 14:1). Since preaching through 66 chapters of Isaiah for two years, I found that it is Isaiah's singular message -- Trust God -- as follows:

  • Ch. 1-39 (Assyrian invasion): Trust God instead of your own scheming.
  • Ch. 40-55 (Babylonian exile): Trust God to deliver you while in exile.
  • Ch. 56-66 (Return from exile): Trust God to enable/empower you to start over from scratch with a new life.