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September 28, 2014
PDF Lesson Print Out is now Located at the Bottom of the Lesson. Please Scroll Down, Click and Enjoy! Blessings.
(Please Note: All lesson verses and titles are based on International Sunday School Lesson/Uniform Series ©2010 by the Lesson Committee, but all content/commentary written within is original to wordforlifesays.com unless properly quoted/cited)
One of my favorite praise and worship songs are performed by the Clark Sisters and it’s titled: “I’m Looking for a Miracle.” The lyrics from just this first clause ring out with this truth, declaring:
“I’m looking for a miracle
I expect the impossible
I feel the intangible &
I see the invisible” (Lyrics found on MetroLyrics/Visit site by clicking on link).
And, when we are talking about “Improbable Possibilities” we are singing the same song as the Clark Sisters. We are looking for something great out of the things we can’t see or feel now. That’s what makes it a miracle.
Let’s think about those two words: improbable and possibilities. These words are actually opposites of one another. One, “improbable” means can’t. And the other, “possibilities” means can. Together, in this lesson, they are forming the idea that even if it looks like the future is a “can’t”; with God as our source of hope, He can turn it to a “can.” Isn’t that awesome?!
Let’s get into it and learn more of this “Improbable Possibilities.”
Jeremiah 33:2-3 “Thus saith the LORD maker therof, the LORD that formed it, to establish it; the LORD is his name; Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”
I love this portion of Scripture because it reiterates who God is and all of His glory and when anyone is looking beyond the “can’t” to see the “can”, this is whom they need to believe in and rely on.
Jeremiah 33:1 (not in today’s lesson) reads, “Moreover the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison, saying.” Here, we see this as an extension off of last week’s lesson and Jeremiah is still in the “court of the prison” receiving a “second” word from “the LORD.”
God is the author of this message; “the LORD is his name.” The words that Jeremiah will pass on are not his own concoction of ideas, rather a fulfilling of hope that lay up ahead for His people.
He is “maker” and He is He that “formed” and “established it.” All three of these speak and testify of God as Creator. To believe in the possibilities of what can be one needs to judge the source as reliable or not. A lot of people put a lot of dependence on that which is unreliable and untested. But God, and all that He does is sure. He is the source of all possibilities.
He is Creator. Before He spoke anything into existence He already knew the potential of everything He would create. For Him to reaffirm this to Jeremiah pictures Him as bringing back proof, if you will, of what He can do. He recalls to his mind His ability to speak something out of nothing. And that, my friends, is the epitome of “Improbable Possibilities.”
Think of it like this, the Bible tells us, “In the beginning God created the heaven and earth. And the earth was without form, and void; . . .” (Genesis 1:1-2a). But, as “maker;” as He “that formed it;” as He who was able to “establish it,” He saw what it could be. How awesome is that?!
He, “the LORD is his name,” did that.
“Call unto me, and I will answer thee.” When texting, some smart phones have the ability to let you know if your text has been read yet or not. If it shows that your text has been read but you have never received a response, one of two things are occurring: 1) The individual will get back to you later because they are unable to answer you at this time (and sometimes forget J ), or 2) You are being flat out ignored. Your text is not important enough for a response from them.
God doesn’t do that! When one calls He not only hears but He said, “I will answer thee.” Your cries of the heart; your prayers are important to God. When one is pouring out their soul in anguish before Him, He is paying attention.
The people knew a time of not having prayers heard. In Isaiah 1:15 God said, “And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.” Sin disrupted communication with God. Jeremiah 11:11 also spoke of a time when God said, “I will not hearken unto them.”
Now, God said His ears are open to their cries. The psalmist once said, “O LORD my God, I cried unto thee, and thou has healed me,” (Psalm 30:2). God responds to honest prayer. “Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me,” (Psalm 50:15).
Furthermore, He said that He will “shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” The words “knowest not” give the impression of something that has not been seen or experienced before. It’s something new and mysterious, if you will. There is no previous point of reference for which to compare it. Daniel was proclaimed, “There is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets . . .,” (Daniel 2:28).
When God opens up the realm of possibilities it has the capacity to blow one’s mind. The Bible declares, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him,” (1 Corinthians 2:9; compare Isaiah 64:4).
The eyes focus on what can be seen making things and situations seem “improbable.” What the eyes see doesn’t seem to match up with the dream of what one believes God for. For example, if Joseph had focused on all of his current situations that didn’t match up with his dreams, he would have never made it to second in command over Egypt.
This is why we are called to “walk by faith and not by sight,” (2 Corinthians 5:7). Focusing on what is seen can mess you up from receiving what is possible: the “great and mighty things” God has in store for you, as He told Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 33:4-5 “For thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city, and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, which are thrown down by the mounts, and by the sword; They come to fight with the Chaldeans, but it is to fill them with the dead bodies of men, whom I have slain in my anger and in my fury, and for all whose wickedness I have hid my face from this city.”
The Bible tells us, “Surely the LORD GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servant the prophets,” (Amos 3:7). God warned over and over again what would happen if the people continued on the path of unrepentance. When those attempts fell on deaf ears, God then told through His prophets that they would not escape captivity. Last week’s lesson reveals God telling them that “though ye fight with the Chaldeans, ye shall not prosper,” (Jeremiah 32:5).
God fulfilled what He warned of. The people suffered destruction and devastation as their houses crumbled to ruin by the effects of war and “dead bodies of men” were strewn throughout. Justice had to be satisfied. Consequences were doled out.
It didn’t have to come to this. If only the people had obeyed and turned back to God, He would have healed. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land,” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Alas, they didn’t so God said, “I have hid my face from this city.” This is something that no one should ever want to experience. That’s why David prayed, “Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation,” (Psalm 27:9). Sin will cause God’s presence to be concealed from the offender if they remain unrepentant (see also Deut. 31:17-18; Ezek. 39:23-24 and Hos. 5:6).
That was then, but now God looks to their future. He is ready to make the possible out of the improbable.
Jeremiah 33:6 “Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.”
Let’s look at that word “health.” When something is really healthy it means it can operate at the fullest capacity of what God designed for it. It means there are no hindrances; no diseases or afflictions that can thwart the steps to total optimization.
Next, we have to deal with the word “cure,” which means to be healed. Ask anyone who has been afflicted with an issue only to have God come in and miraculously deem that issue no longer effective in your life, ask them what a relief it was to be cured.
Being or witnessing someone being cured brings:
- Belief (John 4:46-54)
- Service (Luke 4:38-39)
- Glorifying God (Luke 5:25-26)
- Witnessing (Matthew 9:31)
Being cured means problem solved.
Both of these together “health” and “cure” give the impression of being rejuvenated back to a time before the issue arose (see verses 7 and 11 of our lesson, “at first” later discussed).
This goes back to a time before there was any interruption in their relationship with God and the initiator of this is God. He said, “I will.” Though He maintained His faithfulness, He still seeks to heal the offenders.
“And I will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.” In this fallen, destructive world we live in is there any more a precious gift to give someone, especially someone who has suffered from wrong choices, than an “abundance of peace and truth.”
Peace brings calm in the midst of life’s storms (Mark 4:35-41). Peace also settles troubled hearts (John 14:27). Whereas, truth works to open one’s eye to the possibilities down the road. Truth makes your hope tangible because it gives it a solid Word to build on. Truth exposes the false that seeks to hinder the possibilities. Truth let you see you as God sees you and hold you up when the rest of the world is falling apart.
God said He would give these in “abundance.” The word “abundance” reminds me of something bountiful such as harvest time. During a harvest it is a time of more than enough. Everything is fresh. Stores and stores are laid up in preservation for a later day because it’s too much to be consumed now. It’s plenteous. It’s one’s cup overflowing.
Jeremiah 33:7-9 “And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first. And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me. And it shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honour before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it.”
“Their situation was not permanent. Though both “Israel and Judah” suffered and will suffer the consequences of disobeying God, God had not totally written them off, so to speak. He had something better on the horizon for their future.
This really speaks to the longsuffering of the Lord to bear with people and their faults. Though we must never take His grace for granted, we see over and over again His love in action in refusing to break a covenant He made with them centuries before (see Genesis 15:18).”
Here, in today’s lesson is a reiteration of God to see this promise come to pass.
Not only that, the people will experience something that any who are found guilty would want: “pardon.” Previously in Jeremiah 31:34 He promised, “I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Pardon brings release where there should be done. It exposes God’s mercy and frees them that are bound.
“Despite popular belief, there are not many roads to heaven. Jesus very clearly stated, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me,” John 14:6. I cannot over emphasize those two words NO ONE. That means no exceptions. That means no matter how good one thinks they are if they have not gone through Jesus, if He has not cleansed them from their sins, they will not walk those dirty feet on His heavenly streets.
Wash me, Jesus! If there is any impurities, any sin, anything that keeps me from You, cleanse me and make me whole. “Lord, not my feet only, but my hands and my head!” John 13:9. From the top of me to the bottom, from the inside out, wash me and fit me to live with thee there!”
And, so God, in His plan of possibility to bring them a better future, cleaned them up. He reversed their defiled state to make them whole again.
When God turns their situation around, they “shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honour before all nations of the earth.” What God does for them will be a testament to His grace and power at work on behalf of His people. And what He does for them is going to freak other people out.
“They shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it.” Others were used to seeing them and defining them by their fallen circumstance. Other nations were used to calling them by their mistakes and mess-ups. But when God reverses their condition, He also reverses how others will view them. It’s going to be so amazing when the possibility becomes reality that it will flip the lids of those around. Don’t worry so much about where you are, look to where God is trying to take you to: a place of possibilities.
Jeremiah 33:10-11 “Thus saith the LORD; Again there shall be heard in this place, which ye say shall be desolate without man and without beast, even in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, that are desolate, without man, and without inhabitant, and without beast, The voice of joy, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the voice of them that shall say, Praise the LORD of hosts: for the LORD is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: and of them that shall bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD. For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the LORD.”
To the naysayers there appears to be no future here. To the ones who had written them of; this city piled with rubble of war, uninhabitable by man or beast, will never rise again. To the unbelieving spectators who just knew the fruit of joy and gladness will never be produced here in this place again; God said, “Again.”
God is a God of second and more chances, and here He declares, “Again;” one more time, He is going to restore the health of this place.
“Again there shall be heard in this place . . . the voice of joy, and the voice of gladness.” There wasn’t a reason to smile and laugh during war and captivity. Have you ever read accounts of those in concentration camps during the time of the Holocaust? The pain and suffering made one’s outlook on life seem dismal and at a loss. But, when God restores His people; when He brings them back home sheer happiness overshadows everything.
They are home. People can live their lives as once before. Healing has taken place and people can thrive in the newness that God has afforded to them. This comfort; this feeling of ahhhh, springs out of them, producing audible elation in the form of “joy” and “gladness.” When you are happy everyone else will know that you’re happy. It will show in your demeanor and in your “voice;” in the things you say.
And, one of the things they will say is, “Praise the LORD of hosts: for the LORD is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.” Praise and testimony service breaks out for all that He has done: “When I think on the goodness of Jesus, and all that He has done for me, My soul cries out, Hallelujah! I praise God for saving me, (the closest reference I could find to this is song lyrics by GMWA Youth Mass Choir).
It’s over! They are restored! They are happy! Praise Him! It was by His goodness. It was by His mercy that they are going to walk into this new possibility – and, they praise Him!
“For I will cause to return the captivity of the land, as at the first, saith the LORD.” “It’s over now” is the relief they can feel when God brings them to that point in time. While they were in captivity did they sing songs of a longing heart similar to our songs in this day? Songs that may say as Andrae Crouch put it,
“Take me back, take me back dear Lord
To the place where I first recieved you.
Take me back, take me back dear Lord where I
First believed” (Lyrics found on Lyricsmode.com).
God was taking them back. Not to hash out their sins with them anymore for He said in verse 8 they were cleansed and pardoned. He would allow them to experience total restoration.
Very simply, God can take what seems to be a “can’t” and make it a “can.” Improbable? I don’t think so. “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27).
(Click here for PDF: Improbable Possibilities Sunday School Lesson, or simply click the print button below. Enjoy!)
Below are activities to support this week’s lesson. Enjoy!
Draw the Scene: PDF: Improbable Possibilities (Click PDF for accurate printing)
How Many Words PDF: Improbable Possibilities How Many Words (Click PDF for accurate printing)
“Call and Catch” (Bible game for memorizing Jeremiah 33:3. Enjoy!)
“Jeremiah 33:3 Printables” (Everyone loves printables. They make lesson preparations so easy and affordable. Enjoy!)
“Heart Laced Bookmark” (Can someone say, “Easy!” Yes, this is. Simply print out onto cardstock, have students decorate with a verse from today’s lesson and lace it up with yarn or ribbon. What a nice reminder for them to take home and use. Enjoy!)
In verse 11 of our lesson joy and gladness was heard and people were praising God for what He does. The resources below help to focus on praising God. When God returns them from captivity and the Improbable becomes Possible – there’s going to be a whole lot of praising going on 🙂
“A Heart of Worship” from Ministry to Children
“Let the World Praise the Lord” from Ministry to Children
“Praise the Lord” from Childrensministry.com
“Why Do We Praise God?” from Kidssundayschool.com
“Praising God with Your Hands” from Ezinearticles.com
“I Will Praise God” Coloring Page from Twistynoodle.com
“Sing Praise to the Lord” Coloring Page from Lessons4sundayschool.com
“Psalm 147:1″ Coloring Page from Ilovejesus.com
“O Sing to the Lord a New Song” Coloring Page from Karla Dornacher
“Make a Joyful Noise” Coloring Page from Karla Dornacher
“Sing Unto the Lord” Coloring Pages from Childrens Gems in MY Treasure Box
“Praise the Lord” Coloring Page from Church House Collection
“When We Praise God” Coloring Page from Hem of His Garment
In verse 3 of our lesson the promise of prayers being heard was the focus. Use resources below for this.
“Call and Catch” (Bible game for memorizing Jeremiah 33:3. Enjoy!)
“Jeremiah 33:3 Printables” (Everyone loves printables. They make lesson preparations so easy and affordable. Enjoy!)
“Prayer Chain Craft” (A simple, easy and affordable project to throw together for your students. A prayer chain becomes an easy, take home reminder of different request students can pray for one another about. Example below. Enjoy!)
“Prayer Pocket” from Ehow.com
“Prayer” from Msss (several options to choose from)
“Prayer” from Kids Sunday School (several options to choose from)
“My Prayer Book” from Toddleractivitiesathome.com (This cute prayer book is made in the shape of praying hands – wonderful idea!)
“Prayer Garden” from Two Shades of Pink (Very creative use of paper and popsicle sticks to make a prayer garden!) Mssscrafts also has a printable Flower and Vase that you can use for the same concept. Enjoy!
“The Jelly Bean Prayer” from Church House Collection (Very easy coloring page that also teaches colors. Extra bonus of a treat if you can find real jelly beans this time of year to go with it. Enjoy!)
“How 2 Pray” Coloring Page from Ministry to Children
“Connect the Dots Praying Hands” from Kids Sunday School
“The 5 Ws of Prayer” from Sermons4kids
“God’s Cell Phone” from Sermons4kids
“Prayer Pail” from Lubirdbaby.com (This is a wonderful and easy way to help kids to remember to pray for different family members and situations. Very creative!)
“Prayer Mats” (Students can make their own prayer mats with remnants if carpet or fabric and markers to decorate. Sometimes the local dollar store will have square patches/mats to use. Enjoy!)
“God Can Hear Me” (You’ve got a good, old fashioned game with prayer relevance for today’s lesson. Two cans or cups and long string and you have a wonderful way students can explore their prayer life with God. Enjoy!)
“Prayer Sticks” (Popsicle sticks become inspiration for prayers. Write different prayer request on each sticks and use them as prayer prompts. Visit site for more details. Enjoy!)
“Jesus Pillow Craft” (Decorate a bedtime pillow case in a way that will remind the students to pray for others. Sometimes cheap pillow cases can even be found at your local dollar store. Click here for more details. I would like to try this one with my class. Enjoy!)
“Why Pray?” Object lessons and activities.
“Prayer Jars” (Go to this site and click until you get to slide #4. There you will see this wonderful idea of creating prayers jars titled: “From Me to Jesus” and another one “From Jesus to Me.” I absolutely agree with the sentiments of this site host: how awesome it would be for every Sunday School class to have a row of prayer jars lined up in it. Enjoy!)