Tough Obedience

Pastor Ed Young - Lead Pastor of Fellowship Church
Ed Young

March 16, 2024

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Tough Obedience

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Jeremiah 1:8 “‘Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,’ declares the Lord.”

Jeremiah 29:11 “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

Think

Have you ever found yourself in a place you didn’t really want to be? Maybe you’re facing a situation that feels hard, painful, and just isn’t getting better. It’s certainly not what typically comes to mind when you think of Jeremiah 29:11, that comforting verse assuring us of God’s plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future. But let’s pause and consider the man behind the words—the prophet Jeremiah, often referred to as the “weeping prophet” by scholars. Jeremiah wasn’t living a comfortable life, delivering pleasant messages to receptive ears. No, he was chosen by God to deliver a warning to a people spiraling into wickedness. He knew that if they didn’t repent, severe judgment awaited them. Yet, despite his efforts, the people remained obstinate.

Imagine the weight on Jeremiah’s shoulders—alone, without the support of friends or family, tasked with delivering a message that fell on deaf ears time and again. He found himself in a place that was anything but desirable, a place of pain and uncertainty with no end in sight.
Yet, in the middle of this hardship, Jeremiah remained obedient to God. He continued to deliver the message, even when it seemed futile, even when he couldn’t see the purpose or the outcome. Despite his own anguish, he said “yes” to God’s call.

We can learn so much from Jeremiah’s example. Our natural inclination is to improve our situation, to escape discomfort and pain. Who enjoys suffering? But, like Jeremiah, there are moments when we find ourselves in places we’d rather not be, crying out to God, expressing our pain and confusion. And just as God was with Jeremiah through it all, he promises to never leave us alone in our struggles. With God by our side, we can mirror Jeremiah’s obedience, continuing to walk forward, one step at a time, even when the path seems unclear or the journey feels unbearable. God is there, guiding us, strengthening us, and ultimately leading us to the hope and future he has promised.

Apply

Identify areas in your life where you may be hesitant to obey God due to fear or discomfort. Take intentional steps to obey, trusting that God’s ways are always best.

Pray

Heavenly Father, help me to trust in your sovereignty, knowing that you have a plan for my life, a plan to prosper me and give me hope. Give me the courage to obey your commands, even when it’s difficult or uncomfortable. Strengthen my resolve to persevere in faith, trusting in your faithfulness to sustain me through trials. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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