Calvary Road Baptist Church

“NOTHING IS TOO HARD FOR THE LORD, THE GOD OF ALL FLESH”

Jeremiah 32.27

 

Our text for this morning’s message from God’s Word is found in the Old Testament prophetical book of Jeremiah. However, before we turn to our text, a bit about the prophet and the book he was moved by the Holy Spirit to write:

 

Jeremiah was the premier prophet of Judah during the dark days leading to her destruction. Though the light of other prophets, such as Habakkuk and Zephaniah, flickered in Judah at that time Jeremiah was the blazing torch who, along with Ezekiel in Babylon, exposed the darkness of Judah’s sin with the piercing brightness of God’s Word. He was a weeping prophet to a wayward people.[1]

 

“Jeremiah lived about a hundred years after Isaiah. Isaiah had saved Jerusalem from Assyria. Jeremiah tried to save it from Babylon, but failed. Jeremiah was called to the prophetic office in 626 B.C., Jerusalem was partly destroyed in 606 B.C.; it was further devastated in 597; and finally burned and desolated in 586 B.C. Jeremiah lived through those terrible forty years, ‘the close of the monarchy,’ ‘the death agony of the nation’; a pathetic, lonely figure, God’s last measure to the Holy City which had become hopelessly and fanatically attached to Idols; ceaselessly crying that if they would repent God would save them from Babylon. Thus, as Assyria had been the background of Isaiah’s ministry, so Babylon was the background of Jeremiah’s ministry.”[2]

 

My design in today’s message is to first establish by way of introduction the immediate context of my sermon text and then to draw back to the very beginning, the beginning of time, so that we might more clearly grasp the purpose and intent of Almighty God in His dealings with His people, and in His personal attention to His beloved servant Jeremiah. Of course, Jeremiah is known as the weeping prophet because of his tortured realization and response to his people’s continued apostasy and rebellion toward God that he knew would lead to their brutally humiliating exile in Babylon for seventy years.[3] Owing to the fact that Jeremiah’s is a book that is not written in chronological order, which makes a summation of the whole book difficult, let me instead begin to briefly describe Jeremiah chapter 32.

Jeremiah 32.1-5 establishes with great precision when the events of that chapter took place, referring to the tenth year of Zedekiah’s reign in Judah and the eighteenth year of the Babylonian King Nebuchadrezzar’s reign in verse 1. It was the year in which Babylon besieged Jerusalem and also the year Jeremiah the prophet was imprisoned by his own king, verse 2. But why was Jeremiah imprisoned? Because he told the truth. Because he unflinchingly preached God’s Word. Because he declared to the people that they would not prevail against the Babylonians. The message he relayed from God to the people was felt by many to be unpatriotic and defeatist; “though ye fight with the Chaldeans, ye shall not prosper.” God never wanted the Jewish people to resist Babylonian captivity and exile, for to do so was to resist God’s hand of judgment upon them for their sins. What God wanted from them instead of stubbornness and a military defense was humility, repentance, and a willingness to yield to God’s judgment. However, for the most part they would not yield, making things so much worse for all concerned.

Though it might seem as though Jeremiah’s was a message of doom and gloom and hopelessness, Jeremiah 32.6-15 records God instructing him and him complying with God’s directive while he was yet in prison to purchase a family plot in the village of Anathoth just outside Jerusalem. This was startling in light of the impending destruction of Jerusalem and the utter ruin of the Jewish people. However, God directed Jeremiah to do this as a sign that their captivity would not be permanent. “The purchase of the field on the part of Jeremiah had this meaning; and for the sake of this meaning it was announced to him by God, and completed before witnesses, in the presence of the Jews who happened to be in the court of the prison.”[4] Jeremiah, however, is every bit the human being and his concern for his people and nation derives from everything he sees transpiring around him, notwithstanding the sign given to him by God of purchasing the plot of real estate to later be redeemed by his family’s heirs. However, future deliverance seemed so unlikely to him as he saw the complete moral and cultural collapse of everything he knew and loved under the weight of the Babylonian military juggernaut, as he witnessed the starvation of his people (and even the breakout of cannibalism),[5] so he begins to pray. His prayer is recorded in verses 16-25.

If you take the time to read Jeremiah’s heartfelt prayer you will notice that throughout he rehearses to God His wondrous works in days gone by, voicing some of the great names by which God is described, rehearsing what God did for His people in Egypt when He redeemed them “with signs, and with wonders, and with a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with great terror,” and acknowledging also when He gave to them this Promised Land. Jeremiah even acknowledged in his prayer that what his people were currently suffering was brought on them by God because of their rebellion and disobedience toward God. Important to Jeremiah’s prayer is how he begins, saying in verse 17 “Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee.”

Let’s stop with that. Jeremiah is enduring a time of overwhelming spiritual and personal despair despite his best efforts to speak for God, in a time of religious apostasy, in a time of unbridled idolatry, in a time of war against the world’s most powerful empire, with his city under siege and facing starvation, and on top of all that he has been imprisoned for speaking God’s truth. Do you think Jeremiah might be able to appreciate your present situation? Reflect on the dilemma you are facing right this moment. Is it spiritual? Is it physical? Is it family? It is financial? Is it a career issue? Is it a chronic situation of some kind that has left you worn down and utterly drained? All of these factors can be related to by Jeremiah, so you and he are in a very real sense fellow travelers.

Beloved, let us now draw back to take in the whole scenario, the big picture, and the grand layout, so that we might be reminded of something that is profoundly important to our peace of mind and heart as the storm boils around us:

 

First, GOD’S POWER WAS EVIDENT IN CREATION

 

You have known this since you were first exposed to the infallible Word of God. You know how it begins:

 

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

 

It is likely that since your first exposure to this first verse of the Bible you have come to understand this straightforward and nonscientific language more clearly, perhaps this would be a good time to give you even more. Without attempting to overwhelm anyone with techno-speak, let me read Dr. Henry Morris’ note on Genesis 1.1 from The New Defender’s Study Bible:

 

No other cosmogony, whether in ancient paganism or modern naturalism, even mentions the absolute origin of the universe. All begin with the space/time/matter universe already existing in a primeval state of chaos, then attempt to speculate how it might have “evolved” into its present form. Modern evolutionism begins with elementary particles of matter evolving out of nothing in abig bang” and then developing through natural forces into complex systems. Pagan pantheism also begins with elementary matter in various forms evolving into complex systems by the forces of nature personified as different gods and goddesses. But, very significantly, the concept of the special creation of the universe of space and time itself is found nowhere in all religion or philosophy, ancient or modern, except here in Genesis 1:1.

Appropriately, therefore, this verse records the creation of space (“the heaven”), of time (“in the beginning”), and of matter (“the earth”), the tri-universe, the space/time/matter universe which constitutes our physical environment. The Creator of this tri-universe is the triune God, Elohim, the uni-plural Old Testament name for the divineGodhead,” a name which is plural in form (with its Hebrew “im” ending) but commonly singular in meaning.

The existence of a transcendent Creator and the necessity of a primeval special creation of the universe is confirmed by the most basic principles of nature discovered by scientists:

(1) The law of causality, that no effect can be greater than its cause, is basic in all scientific investigation and human experience. A universe comprising an array of intelligible and complex effects, including living systems and conscious personalities, is itself proof of an intelligent, complex, living, conscious Person as its Cause;

(2) The laws of thermodynamics are the most universal and best-proved generalizations of science, applicable to every process and system of any kind, the First Law stating that no matter or energy is now being created or destroyed, and the Second Law stating that all existing matter and energy is proceeding irreversibly toward ultimate equilibrium and cessation of all processes. Since this eventual death of the universe has not yet occurred and since it will occur in time, if these processes continue, the Second Law proves that time (and, therefore, the space/matter/time universe) had a beginning. The universe must have been created, but the First Law precludes the possibility of its self-creation. The only resolution of the dilemma posed by the First and Second Laws is that “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The so-called big bang theory of the origin of the cosmos, postulating a primeval explosion of the space/mass/time continuum at the start, beginning with a state of nothingness and then rapidly expanding into the present complex universe, contradicts both these basic laws and contradicts Scripture.[6]

 

Not that you will be tested on any of this material I have just read to you, what is one of the conclusions properly reached from the simple yet truthful declaration of Genesis 1.1? It is that God’s creation of this complex and vast universe required unimaginable power. We term it omnipotence, infinite power; and God’s vast power was evident at creation.

 

Next, GOD’S POWER WAS EVIDENT IN THE FLOOD

 

You are likely familiar with the history of the Flood that Noah prepared for at God’s direction by building the Ark in which eight human beings and thousands of pairs of land animals were preserved through a cataclysmic flood that over spread the whole world. However, you may be a bit hazy on the why of the Flood.

Of course, Adam and Eve sinned against God in the Garden of Eden “and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”[7] As the generations of mankind were born and produced additional offspring the sinfulness of men only grew worse and worse, and it grieved God at His heart.[8] Therefore, He purposed to destroy man from the face of the earth, sparing only Noah and his immediate family.[9]

At the appointed time in a cataclysm of epic proportions God released not only a torrent of rainfall but also subterranean oceans of water (referred to as ‘the fountains of the deep”) that completely submerged the surface of the earth under water, with only those inside the safety of the Ark built by Noah saved alive. Once more, the power brought to bear to occasion such an event that would forever alter the topography and climate of our planet was staggering. Yet it was God’s power that was evident in the Flood.[10]

 

Third, GOD’S POWER WAS EVIDENT IN THE EXODUS

 

Called out of Ur of the Chaldees, Abram was chosen by God and blessed with an unconditional covenant.[11] Passing by a consideration of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, God gave to Abram a son named Isaac, a grandson named Jacob, and twelve great grandsons, one of whom was named Joseph. Sold into slavery but then exalted to prominence in Egypt, God used both Joseph and a severe famine to move His chosen people into Egypt for four centuries, where they grew from a family into a nation.

When came the time for God to deliver His people from Egyptian bondage a deliverer was raised up whose name was Moses. Raised in Pharoah’s household to the age of forty, Moses forsook Egypt for the sake of his people and was prepared by God on the backside of the Midian desert to shepherd the Israelites. That time of preparation took forty years.

When came the time for the redemption of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage at the hand of Moses, God made extensive use of plagues and miracles to bring about that deliverance.[12] And what did God want the children of Israel to remember about their deliverance from Egyptian bondage? Perhaps Exodus 13.9 sums it up best in the context of annual Passover celebration instructions:

 

“And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the LORD’s law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath the LORD brought thee out of Egypt.”

 

Fourth, GOD’S POWER WAS EVIDENT AGAINST ASSYRIA

 

Of course, the years of David’s and Solomon’s reigns in Jerusalem were the glory days of the nation of Israel. But after Solomon’s death civil war tore the tribes apart and two nations existed where before there was one, Israel dominated by the ten tribes to the North and the kingdom of Judah dominated by the largest of the tribes, the tribe of Judah, to the South.

Centuries passed with both kingdoms rushing headlong into idolatry, though with Israel under uniformly wicked kings declining into the spiritual abyss more rapidly. Then came the Assyrian captivity and the wholesale deportation of Jewish men from the northern kingdom and the importation of Gentile men to replace them, giving rise to the Samaritans of our Lord Jesus Christ’s day.

However, the Assyrians were not satisfied with the conquest and destruction of the kingdom of Israel. They turned to the South and invaded Judah, actually surrounding the city of Jerusalem in the days of good King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah. Second Kings 19.32-36 sums up the demonstration of God’s power to preserve Jerusalem on that occasion:

 

32    Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it.

33    By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the LORD.

34    For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake.

35    And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.

36    So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh.

 

Finally, GOD’S POWER IS STATED BY JEREMIAH AND TO JEREMIAH

 

When Jeremiah was imprisoned for telling the truth, persecuted once more for simply declaring what God told him to say, he cried out to the LORD a spiritual and a godly plea that acknowledged who God was, what God had done in the past, and what God was perfectly capable of doing:

 

“Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee.”

 

So, we acknowledge that he loves the LORD, and is serving the LORD faithfully even though he is troubled by what he sees, and is brokenhearted by his people’s sins and what he knows will be God’s response to their sins. God is holy. God is righteous. God simply must be obeyed or there will be dire consequences. Therefore, Jeremiah’s broken heart is understandable.

What then does God do in response to Jeremiah’s prayer? How does He respond to Jeremiah’s acknowledgment of His great feats of deliverance in the past and His obvious omnipotence? He comes right back at Jeremiah with what Jeremiah has just prayed to Him, verses 26-27:

 

26    Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying,

27    Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?

 

As the most prominent prophet of God of his day, there is no doubt that Jeremiah’s life was saturated with God’s truth and that he was a student of that portion of God’s Word already committed to writing. He knew of God’s power in creation. He knew of God’s power in the Flood. He knew of God’s power in the Exodus. And he certainly knew of God’s power just more than a century earlier against the invading Assyrians, at that time the most powerful empire in the world.

Yet, after being opposed in his ministry for decades by false prophets, in his present uncomfortable imprisonment for telling the truth, though he knows there is nothing too hard for the LORD, he is nevertheless asked by the LORD,

 

“Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?”

 

Obviously, a rhetorical question. Still, it was a question that needed to be asked, and it needed to be asked of Jeremiah, even though moments before he had himself declared,

 

“Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee.”

 

So, why did the LORD ask Jeremiah a question whose answer he already knew? Because He knew his beloved Jeremiah needed that question to be asked of him. He knew that his faithful servant at that time needed to hear the question whose answer he already knew. God knew Jeremiah’s heart. He knew Jeremiah’s mind. He knew Jeremiah’s strengths and weaknesses. He is, after all, the God of all flesh.

 

Let us conclude with you. You know God created the heavens and the earth. You know God brought the Flood. You know God delivered Israel in the Exodus by a strong right arm. You know God saved Jerusalem from the Assyrians by smiting 185,000 soldiers in one night! You know there is nothing too hard for God. So, let me ask you who are facing physical problems, health problems, financial problems, career and job problems, family problems, friendship problems, intensely personal and private problems, and whatever other kinds of problems there are. Is there anything too hard for God? Let me hear you say it: “There is nothing too hard for God.” Come on. Say it with me: “There is nothing too hard for God.”

We stop at this point because God decided to allow the Babylonians to defeat and then take into captivity His people. He chose not to display His great power on their behalf at that time, for His own reasons. That does not, however, alter the reality that there is nothing too hard for God. He does what He chooses to do. Is it a son? Is it a daughter? Is it a husband? Is it a wife? Is it a mom or a dad? Is it a boss or a coworker? Is it a neighbor? Is it a disease or affliction? Is it an enemy? Is it something I have not named? Whatever it is, remember this: There is nothing too hard for the LORD. And while that reality does not always speak to what God will do, it speaks always to what God can do. Be clear about that my friend.

“God can’t save me. I am too wicked. I am too far gone. I am too weak. I am too young. I am too old. I am too (you fill in the blank).” My response is, there is nothing too hard for God.



[1] John F. Walvoord & Roy B. Zuck, General Editors, The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament, (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 1985), page 1123.

[2] Henry H. Halley, Halley’s Bible Handbook, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 24th Edition, 1965), page 307.

[3] Jeremiah 25.11-12; 29.10; Daniel 9.2

[4] C.F. Keil & F. Delitzsch, COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT, Vol 8, (Peabody, MA: reprinted by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1996), page 290.

[5] Lamentations 4.10; 5.10

[6] Henry M. Morris, The New Defender’s Study Bible, (Nashville, TN: World Publishing, 2006), page 7.

[7] Genesis 2.17; 3.6; Romans 5.12

[8] Genesis 5.5-6

[9] Genesis 5.7-8

[10] 2 Peter 2.5

[11] Genesis 12.1-3

[12] I recommend Garry Matheny’s book on the Exodus titled

 

Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org