Jeremiah 20:7 - (Jeremiah said) "You are stronger than I, and You have prevailed."
This confession, so modern and meaningful in its application, is 2,500 years old. It's an admission wrung from the lips of Jeremiah after a bitter conflict with God. Because the prophet's service to his Lord had brought opposition and locked him in the public stocks, Jeremiah would free himself from God, lead his own life, and defy heaven. Yet almost in the same breath he is overcome by the conviction of his defeat, and unable to quench the "consuming fire" (Hebrews 12:29b) of God's Word within him. He exclaims, "You are stronger than I, and You have prevailed."
For the heart that trusts in Christ this confession, "You are stronger than I," becomes the battle-cry of faith. Beholding the Savior's love, we realize that God's compassion is greater even than His power, His mercy stronger than His justice; we know—and what a priceless confidence this is!—that "where sin increased, grace abounded all the more" (Romans 5:20b).
This is the great Gospel, the first chapter of which was written at Bethlehem. No simple word of pardon would suffice to return men to God. There had to be an overpowering, eternal proof of our Father's compassion. No man, not even the most exalted; no angelic beings in their holiness and majesty, could meet the demands of God's justice. God gave His only begotten Son and sent Him from the riches of heaven to the poverty of earth.
No pardon that could leave any doubt or uncertainty in our hearts would suffice. No ransom that left anything to man, that had to be earned or completed by human effort, could answer the pleading heart of a sin-cursed world. So in His never-to-be-fathomed mercy and in that endless love that goes out for every wayward, stubborn, selfish child of man Christ did everything.
Do not let the fears and sorrows of life keep Christ out, as though God, who "will neither slumber nor sleep" (Psalm 121:4b), had His eyes closed to your problems and anxieties, as though He, the Ever-living, were dead and you had to fight your own battles! Instead, come before God and say, "Heavenly Father, 'You are stronger than I' with my frail and faulty intellect. Help me to find the way through life! Show me the brightness in the gloom that surrounds me! Give me Your truth against the multiplied falsehoods of men!"
When we thus lose the proud sense of our own importance as Jesus gains the ascendancy in our lives; when we behold Him and confess with the prophet John who announced His coming, "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30), then these words, "You are stronger than I, and You have prevailed," will become the song of triumph which, pray God, you and I and all others in the fellowship of faith may sing at the Savior's future coming.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, may Your mercy and peace prevail over our lives. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
From "God Prevails," a sermon excerpt from Rev. Dr. Walter A. Maier, the first Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
1. What comes to mind when you think of God's mercy being stronger than His justice?
2. How did God overcome Jeremiah's resistance and downfallen spirit?
3. What do you do to increase your awareness and sensitivity to spiritual matters?
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