The Almond Tree Challenge–God is Asking: “WHAT DO YOU SEE?”
I have a question for you today–I believe it’s a question God is asking you. God actually asked Jeremiah this same question I am going to ask you. Ready?
First, a little background. Remember that at the beginning of Jeremiah’s ministry, he didn’t exactly have a great established ministry. I mean, he wasn’t running around Israel speaking at big conferences and doing seminars. He was a kid, really. Well, a teenager, anyway.
When God first talked to Jeremiah about his calling to preach, He said, “Jeremiah, you know I called you before you were born and ordained you to be a prophet to the nations.” Well, Jeremiah freaked out. He heard this before–after all, his dad was a preacher. But, you know, in your mind it’s always, “Sometime down the road, when I am more mature.”
Jeremiah answered the Lord and said, “You’ve got to be kidding. I’m just a kid, don’t ask me. I can’t do anything.” Now, I know this is the Walters Translation, but go read it–that’s what it says. If you want the King James Version, Jeremiah said, “Then said I, ‘Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child'” (Jeremiah 1:6). But, you know people didn’t speak in King James English then, just like we don’t do that today.
God ignored Jeremiah’s vision of himself as a useless kid. He said, “Don’t say that, because I have put My word in your mouth.” Then God gave him a pretty heavy-duty commission right there. Did He say, “Now, Jeremiah, go off to Bible school and study hard. One day you will mature enough to qualify to be used in the ministry”? No, no! Out of the blue, God said to the teenager, “Oh yes, I’ve called you to go to the nations; in fact, I’ve set you OVER nations and OVER kingdoms” (kingdoms usually include several or many countries). “You can pull down and uproot stuff and all kinds of powerful things.” He told Jeremiah not to be afraid of their faces; He said, “I’ll be there for you.” When it says the face (or eyes) are a mirror of the soul, let me tell you, it really is.
Without even stopping to ask if Jeremiah was okay about it all, God suddenly said, “Well, what do you see, Jeremiah?” Jeremiah’s dad was a priest, so he was used to God stuff–but not at that moment. God said, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” Jeremiah had to get into faith, quick. That is, you have to see by faith. Young Jeremiah had a vision, “I see a rod of an almond tree.”
Aaron’s rod was made from the branch of an almond tree, and in Hebrew it means “an awakening one.” Jeremiah was seeing his destiny in his faith (but he didn’t realize it yet). He was called to be an “awakening one.” God told him to prophesy and challenge the people of Israel about their calling and destiny. God told him to go and wake them up. Personally, I would have asked God to send someone else and pleaded ignorance. Well, he tried that anyway–but it didn’t work.
You know what? Often people don’t like to be woken up. Not too many people are woken out of a slumber and get up in a good mood. You are mostly unhappy with the cause of the “awakening.” “An Awakening One” was a good name for Jeremiah. “Mr. Popularity” wasn’t exactly a good description of him.
So then…this is my question from the Lord to you: “What do you see?” I am not talking about the natural realm.
Take some time to chill out–take a break, go out for a nice meal, relax, take a couple of days–then go sit at the feet of Jesus. “Snuggle, don’t struggle,” is one of my favorite sayings, or, “Nestle, don’t wrestle.” Then get into rest and ask the Holy Spirit to show you what He sees for YOU. Not for your town. Not for your church. Not even for your husband or wife right now–but for you personally. Your vision has to start with you, doesn’t it? If you don’t have a real vision for yourself, then you won’t be able to believe with someone else for their vision.
The Thing About Vision
Do you remember those old TV sets? They had a tube, and when they got old, the tube would start to go. Do you remember what happened when the tube was going out? The picture would gradually get smaller and smaller. No one wanted to buy a new tube because it was expensive, so you waited until the last minute. You were leaning over sideways to see the wide but shrunken picture.
So what are you seeing? Most people are seeing a shrunken picture. My husband, David, says, “Most Christians aim at nothing and hit it.” You can only aim at what you see. If you see a small call or a small destiny or a small vision, that’s all you will aim for.
My challenge for you is this: See what God sees for YOU. He has a great vision–He has a big vision! We see our town, our family, our little place in the grand scheme of things. But God sees nations, God sees a place without walls. God has no limitations in His vision. He sees no limits for you–you can have what you believe and you can believe what you see–IF you can see by faith. You have God’s faith in you–believe it! Because “…to every man is given the measure of faith” (Romans 12:3).
What Is Your Adventure?
The Bible says that the will of God is delightful, “I delight to do Thy will, Oh my God” (Psalm 40:8).
God puts His desires in your heart. In other words, He puts His desires in your heart so that when you do according to your heart, it’s delightful, it’s wonderful, it’s full of adventure and it’s full of God. All you have to do is allow the Holy Spirit to show you what He sees for YOU. You have a wonderful, awesome, big and great destiny to fulfill.
If you are doing something tonight in the way of serving God and it’s not delightful, forget it–it’s just works. And, sorry to say, God is not interested in your works, He’s interested in His works. He is not going to anoint your works, He anoints His works. The glory of God will never come on what you do–the glory comes on what He does. It’s not trying, it’s yielding to the anointing.
Isn’t it easier to yield rather than to try and strive and work at it? Trying can be very trying. God is not running around your city trying to recruit workers for the Kingdom, He is just wanting His sons and daughters to rise up and be who He called them to be. You’re not a sinner saved by grace–you were a sinner saved by grace, but now you are a son or a daughter of Almighty God. You are royalty of the Royalty, an heir of righteousness and an heir of the Kingdom. You don’t have to earn it, you can’t qualify for it–Jesus gave you this inheritance, freely. He paid for it 100% when He died and rose again.
But First, Enjoy Him
I nearly forgot to remind you–your first calling is to enjoy God. He called you to first enjoy Him. Don’t go out and serve Him unless you enjoy Him. Do you know Jesus is in love with you? He totally adores you–He doesn’t just tolerate you. He made you of His divine nature–eternity is in you. He has given you His power and righteousness and clothed you with the beautiful garments of Salvation.
This is a new and living way–walk in it and begin to see what HE sees for YOU.