Scripture:

Jeremiah 1:4-10

2 Kings 6:8-17

 

“God’s perspective.”

 

A significant part of Christian discipleship is the great challenge to strive to see things from God’s perspective.

 

Again ---- a significant part of Christian discipleship is the challenge to forever strive to see things from God’s perspective.

 

Think of all the great prophets --- including Christ Himself.

 

All of the great prophets --- and faithful servants of God --- culminating and reaching completion in Christ --- all strove to see things from God’s perspective.

 

God’s perspective --- a vantage point that has little to do with our own ingenuity ---- experience --- and intellect ----- and instead is all about God’s will.

 

We had a death in the congregation recently ----- a number of us gathered here yesterday and celebrated the earthly part of Fay Lavender’s life.

 

Death is a big thing for humans ----- many of us spend a disproportionate amount of time thinking about it --- trying to avoid it --- trying to do things that help us avoid it ----- in fact we often do more around death and funerals than we do around life ---- the birth of a baby often gets less attention than a funeral.

 

The truth is we treat death as something far more final than it actually is.

 

From God’s perspective death is but another milestone in our lives --- and nothing final or lasting.

 

God’s perspective goes beyond our perspective ----- birth --- death ----- marriage --- retirement ------- becoming a teenager ----- graduating ---- receiving an award ---- reaching our 20’s 30’s 40’s 50’s 60’ 70’s 80’s 90’s and for the few who get there the 100’s ------- so many of the things we consider so important in life ----- are mostly only ever secondary to God.

 

When we’re born --- when we die to our earthly existence ---- when and if we get married ------ when and if we reached this age or that age ----- teenage years --- 20’s ---- 30’s --- 40’s ---- 50’s ----- 60’s --- 70’s ---- 80’s --- 90’s 100 plus ------ these things mean far less to God than they do to us.

 

God is far more concerned with things like ---- do we share what He has blessed us with --------- do we speak with him ---- pray ---- do we love and believe in His Son Jesus Christ -------- do we think of others ---- do we seek His --- God’s perspective in life ----- do we love the Lord our God with all our heart --- with all our soul ---- all our strength and mind --- and do we love our neighbour -----or are our concerns and focus elsewhere.

 

Birth certificates ------- death certificates ------ birthday cards --- wedding cards ---- anniversary cards ----- diplomas ---- certificates ----- accomplishments ------ the things we so often celebrate and remember in life are not really ever spoken about in the Bible.

 

Faithfulness to God’s will ------- God perspective ------ is what the Bible is all about.

 

God revealing something about Himself that we ought to pay attention to ------------------ that’s what the scriptural witness is all about.

 

In Jeremiah’s call today ---- God establishes that He has a plan ------- verse 5 ----

“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.”

 

Right from the very beginning God widens Jeremiah’s perspective.

 

Right from the get go God invites Jeremiah to see his life from God’s perspective.

 

“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.”

 

In other words ----- it’s as if God says to Jeremiah ---

“Hey there Jay ----- your role in my great and cosmic plan didn’t just begin the day you were born

----- because before you were born and before you were formed in your mommy’s tummy I had already made plans for you

---- plans beyond just you

----- plans beyond just your family

---- plans beyond even your clan and your people

---- but plans for the nations ----- “prophet to the nations” ---- God says in verse 5

--- in other words prophet to the whole world --- as we are witness to today as we read and consider his prophecy – on the other side of the world and thousands of years later.

 

God’s perspective for Jeremiah wasn’t something that began on his birth date --- and it wasn’t something that was limited to a small sphere or circle of influence --- his family ---- or his tribe.

 

God wants to reassure Jeremiah that things aren’t just limited to what he sees knows and experiences --- small scale ---- limited vision.

 

But of course being human ---- Jeremiah struggles with this ----- his first words to God after God tells him about these big plans God has for him are --- “But I don’t know how to speak ---- I’m too young.”

 

“But I don’t know how to speak ---- I’m too young.”

 

But --- Jeremiah says --- from my perspective ------- I simply cannot see me doing this --- “Me a prophet to the nations --- no way --- I don’t know how.”

 

God replies ---- in verse 7 ----- “Don’t say that --- don’t say you’re too young.” --- instead he says --- “Go and say what I want you to say --- for I am with you…”

 

God invites Jeremiah to see things from His perspective ----- a much wider --- divine and eternal perspective.

 

The very same perspective God invites us to see things from.

 

 

God had a plan for Jeremiah ------ but Jeremiah didn’t see it at first.

 

So God comes to Him and says ---- this is how it is going to be ----- widen your scope --- widen your vision ----- expand the realm of possibilities ------ trust me ------ see things from another angle ---- a perspective that I created you to see them from --- don’t rely on just yourself and your limited abilities --- trust me --- step aside for a minute ---- open up and let me in.

 

That’s what prophets ---- that’s what all Christians are called to do.

 

Turning to our passage from 2 Kings today -------

 

The King of Aram is at war with Israel ---- and he’s frustrated that his plans keep getting thwarted.

 

Every time he plans a surprise attack it’s anything but.

 

Whenever he plans an attack ---- surprise attack ---- the Israelites are prepared and somehow receive word in advance.

 

So --- frustrated the King calls together all of his officers ----- someone must be snitching he figures.

 

So he calls all of his officers together ----- and as verse 11 recounts --- he says --- “Tell me! Which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?”

 

“Who is the mole? ---- who is the snitch? --- the turn coat?” ---- he hollers.

 

“None of us.” --- one officer finally says --- speaking up.

 

It isn’t any of the officers it’s God --- through His prophet ---- who is warning the Israelites.

 

The same officer who spoke up says ----- “It’s Elisha --- the prophet in Israel ----- he tells the very words you speak in your bedroom to the King of Israel.”

 

Imagine that ---- an officer saying a prophet of Israel ---- the enemy --- is able to relay to his king --- even the words you --- our King --- whisper in your bedroom.

 

As if the king wasn’t already enraged enough --- thinking he had a snitch on his hands --- just imagine how frustrated he must have felt with the news that some Israelite prophet was able to pick up on anything he said in private ----- and not only this but this prophet would then relay the news to Israel’s king who would alert his officials as to what the Arameans were about to do next.

 

So the King orders that they go and find out where Elisha is so that they can capture him and put and end to the Israelites always knowing what is coming next.

 

So off to Dorthan they go ---- the place where the Israelite prophet is hiding out.

 

And they go in great force --- horses --- chariots --- warriors ---- swords and spears ----- and they surround the city at night ----- ready to finally put and end to all of this.

 

And the next morning when Elisha’s servant steps out and sees all of this power and military display --- he panics.

 

He runs back to Elisha and says ---- in verse 25 ----- “Oh no my Lord --- what shall we do?”

 

“Oh no ---- what shall we do?”

 

We’ve all said this before right --- “Oh no --- what shall I do?”

 

But Elisha ----- who sees things from God’s perspective sees something completely different.

 

Verse 16 and 17 from 2 Kings 6 read -----

“”Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.”

Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”

 

Elisha’s servant panicked --- he had limited vision ---- limited perspective.

 

He only saw half of the picture --- the grim half ---- the Aramean army half.

 

But Elisha had the ability the see things from God’s perspective ---- he saw the whole picture.

 

Jeremiah may have started out slowly but like Elisha ------ and even like the servant to Elisha he too came to see things from God’s perspective.

 

As did Moses --- Abraham ----- Noah --- Isaiah ---- Ezekiel ---- Daniel --- Hosea ------ Joel --- Amos ---- Obadiah ------ Jonah ---- Micah ---- Nahum ------ Habakkuk ----- Zephaniah ---- Haggai ----- Zechariah ----- Malachi ----- Mary ------ Anna ---- Ruth ---- Deborah ---- Rebekkah ----- Mary --- Martha ------ and Jesus Christ.

 

And of course the list goes on and on and on.

 

And hopefully our names are on this list too.

 

Sin ----- at its heart is nothing more than --- cutting off from God ----- a going it alone perspective.

 

Sin is all about doing and seeing things from a perspective other than God’s.

 

Jesus forever and only ever acted on things from God’s perspective ---- that’s why He was without sin.

 

We make a mess of things ---- you ---- me --- each and every on of us ---- mess things up when we fail to give way to God ---- and see and act on things from His perspective.

 

Jeremiah settles in to and is far more relaxed and effective and faithful ----- once he forgets about looking at things from his limited perspective and instead gives way to God and follows God’s lead.

Elisha doesn’t panic when surrounded by chariots and horses and a hostile army ----- instead he only sees God’s angels and God’s army ---- instead he sees things from God’s perspective.

 

Our lives are all a part of God’s great and wondrous plan for His creation.

 

Unfortunately very often ---- too often we can get confused a bit ---- rely on ourselves a bit too much --- fall into the ways of the world --- the perspective of the world ------ and fail to see things from God’s perspective.

 

Just imagine ----- even if only for something like a second ----- what it would be like to see everything from God’s perspective ----- way beyond just the limited little peep holes --- like a little knot hole in a fence ----- that we often choose to look through.

 

That’s what God so often wants for us ---- too see things with eyes of faith ------ wide open ---- with trust ---- eyes focused on eternity instead of just earthly events and angles.

 

Life is short if our perspective is short and limited.

 

Life is eternal --- if our perspective is eternal.

 

Life is short if our perspective is short and limited.

 

Life is eternal --- if our perspective is eternal.

 

God did amazing things with young Jeremiah --- he wasn’t the most gifted ----- talented ------ or extraordinary guy ----- he was a pretty regular teen age boy when God first came to him --- and revealed something to Him.

 

Mary wasn’t anything particularly special either when God came to her --- like Jeremiah she too was young and ordinary.

 

God does amazing things with some pretty ordinary --- regular people.

 

David is another prime example of a pretty ordinary person God chose for extraordinarily great things.

 

 

 

 

As mixed up ---- as messed up ---- as we can be --- and if you don’t already know it ----- or have forgotten it perhaps ------ we as human beings are all pretty messed up --- each in our own way.

 

As mixed and messed up as we can be ----- God does amazing things with ------ for ----- and through us.

 

If we can just get our blinders off.

 

 If we can just get our blinders off ---- we soon come to realize that we can see things from a far greater and richer and more beautiful perspective.

 

When we look out the window that is our perspective on the world we can either chose to focus on the earthly ---- limited --- and broken things --- as true and real as they can be

------- or we can see deeper into things

------ and let God clarify and re-focus things for us -------- giving us a far greater perspective and deeper --- richer reality.

 

If we see the world as in the hands of human ingenuity and ability ---- woe is this world --- even amidst small acts of beauty --- woe is this world.

 

But if we see the world as forever in the hands of God and His will and His way ------- there is all sorts of redemption ----- and reconciliation --- healing --- beauty --- wonder and awe ------ hope --- renewal and of course resurrection ------ new and greater life beyond just what meets the eye.

 

Surrounded by enemies ---- dire straits ----- Elisha saw what his servant was initially blind to ----- instead of enemies Elisha saw angels ----------- and if you read on in 2 Kings instead of hostility Elisha saw opportunity.

 

Read on past verse 17 -----He invited the enemy to a meal and they ate and then when they returned home they found they could no longer continue to raid Israel --- peace was the final outcome.

 

 

 

 

And so our prayer today ----

 

Somehow Lord let us see as Elisha saw ----- looking out on what appeared to be a disaster and seeing something else ---- your presence amidst the conflict --- your presence ----- the opportunity for peace.

 

If our eyes are open ---- and we see as God intends us to see ---- we can see opportunity ------ and we can see beauty --- and salvation --- restoration --- resurrection --- new life.

 

Jeremiah’s call -------- Elisha and his servant --- looking out on what at first appears to be a desperate situation ------- certainly to the servant anyway ------ these events remind us that

 

------ a significant part of Christian discipleship is the great challenge to strive to see things from God’s perspective.

 

Amen.