The Lord is Watching, and the Lord is Watching over Boston Trinity Academy
Then the Lord said to me, "Look, Jeremiah! What do you see?"
And I replied, "I see a branch from an almond tree."
And the Lord said, "That's right, and it means that I am watching, and I will certainly carry out all my plans." Then the Lord spoke to me again and asked, "What do you see now?"
And I replied, "I see a pot of boiling water, spilling from the north."
"Yes," the Lord said, "for terror from the north will boil out on the people of this land. Listen! I am calling the armies of the kingdoms of the north to come to Jerusalem. I, the Lord, have spoken! They will set their thrones at the gates of the city. They will attack its walls and all the other towns of Judah." –Jeremiah 1:11-15
The Boston Trinity Academy community "gathered" Wednesday morning to praise and worship God although in the midst of isolation. Headmaster Frank Guerra delivered an encouraging message, taken from another man who lived in an unsettled time: the prophet Jeremiah.
In a vision, Jeremiah saw an almond tree in bloom. This is a sign of spring, a sign of hope. "I am watching," the Lord said. The Hebrew words for "almond" and "watching" are very similar. The Lord was using a "play on words" to convey His message to the people of Israel. The Lord is watching over the welfare of the city. He cares.
God asked a second time, "What do you see?" Jeremiah saw a pot of boiling water, spilling over. "This was a contained problem," Mr. Guerra said. "There was a limit. God always limits, God contains evil. Yet clearly there was judgment coming."
How does this apply to today?
These visions were not long before the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed and the Jews were taken away into captivity in Babylon. The nation of Israel had experienced religious reforms under the leadership of King Josiah, but after his death, the people returned to idolatry. Where was the holy living? It had given way to the wickedness and deceit of the human heart, Jeremiah said.
"The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve." –Jeremiah 17:9-10
The Lord searches hearts. Jeremiah had cried out for the nation to repent, but they would not.
Even so, God promised:
This is what the Lord of Heaven's Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the captives he has exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem: "Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare."
This is what the Lord says: "You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you," says the Lord. "I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land." – Jeremiah 29:4-7, 10-14
Jeremiah wanted to encourage the people in their captivity to cooperate with their captors. Settle in! The Lord will give hope.
Like Jeremiah, Mr. Guerra also wanted to give encouragement. "God dwells in His word. God is in this for His people. He is the 'way maker,' He is working even when we can't see it."
"This unsettled time is our 'new normal'," Mr. Guerra said in conclusion. "Embrace this time. We will get through this together. Jesus is here working."