11 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond tree.
12 Then said the LORD unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it. Jer. 1:11-12
In this scripture, the rod of almond tree stands for chastisement. In other words, God was telling Jeremiah, “I will chastise you.”
The rod stands for chastisement.
But it is God’s last words to Jeremiah that are of interest to us here. God tells Jeremiah,
“Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it.”
In other words, God was telling Jeremiah, “I will chasten you all right. But it is not the chastening that I will be considering, It is not the pain that you will experience that is of importance to me. What is important to me is my purpose.”
God’s purpose and plan supersedes our lives, much less our comfort, or our comfortable lifestyle. The Psalmist said,
“Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights.” (Ps. 119:143)
We are mere vessels – albeit living ones – in the house of the Lord. Vessels are made by men. In the same manner, God moulds and shapes us to fit his purpose and plan. It is the height of presumption for a man to think that he knows the ways of God. But God has His ways, which He desires to teach us.
To carry God’s purpose in our hearts, the flesh in us must be crucified. We must die to our ways of sin. That is why if someone desires to carry God’s plan and purpose in his life, he must be willing to suffer much. God told Ananias concerning Paul,
“15 Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.” (Acts 9:15-16)
In our human weakness, we are very concerned with our suffering. When God started dealing with Saul (who would later be called Paul), Saul “kicked against the pricks” (Acts 9:5).
But a time came when Paul lived only for God’s purpose and plan. Then, he realized the wisdom in God’s chastisement of him. He writes:
“9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Cor. 12:9-10)
Paul gave himself completely to be destructed for God’s plan and purpose to be fulfilled in his life.
The Bible also says of our Lord Jesus Christ:
“8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; 10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec” (Heb. 5:8-10).
We will never amount to much in the Spirit if we are not willing to be chastised by the Lord. The Lord has only one instrument to shape us with: the rod, the cross. If we are to become true vessels in the house of the Lord, if we are to accomplish anything in the Kingdom of God, we must stop moaning and complaining when God applies the rod to us. We must see in the Spirit and see God’s hand of chastisement upon us, moulding and shaping us to fit His plan and purpose.
For, ultimately, our lives are of no value if they are not fitted into God’s divine plan and purpose.
At the end of the day, we are carriers of God’s plan and purpose. It is only be God’s grace that God esteems us so much higher than the donkey that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on.
[The MV Sengerema, one of two ferries that ply the Mwanza-Sengerema channel on Lake Victoria. Nowadays, these ferries operate 24/7]