As you have probably noticed by now Jeremiah 33:3 is one of my favorite verses. God is inviting us to call to Him, and then He promises that He will answer us and if that isn't enough the God of all creation says He will show us great and mighty things in His Word.
I deliberately put the Amplified Bible version in the title section today because it reads in part "fenced in and hidden, which you do not know" I have been studying the Bible for years and years and one of a thousand reasons that I love it is that there are wonderful, beautiful, treasures hidden in plain sight all over the scriptures!! And they stay hidden until God chooses to reveal them to us in His timing or when we are ready or when we really need to know them.
I want to share one of those treasures with you today. This is for every believer that has ever messed up big time which is a kind way of saying I sinned and it was so big in my eyes that for awhile I believed the lie that God might never ever forgive me, or He might forgive me but He could never trust me or use me again in His kingdom work. If you have never experienced anything like that then you can just skip today's post, but if you can relate, boy do I have good news for you!
"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers. But he said to Him, "Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death! And He said, "I say to you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me." Luke 22:31-34 NASB
There are three treasures hidden here that still bring tears to my eyes.
1. Jesus knows everything, He is omniscient, He knew Peter would deny Him three times, but notice what He says "I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail" Knowing ahead of time Peter's denial He didn't pray that he wouldn't sin, He prayed that his faith would not fail. He knew the shame Peter would feel for what he had done and in His mercy Jesus prays for His faith. Oh our compassionate, forgiving God!!! Jesus knows what we have done or what we will do and He is interceding for us that our faith may not fail.
2. "when once you have turned again" Turning in scripture is a another word for repentance. When we repent of our sin, we turn from it and confess it to God and He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9 NASB. Jesus is letting Peter know that He knows that Peter will repent and God is assuring Him that he will be forgiven and cleansed from all unrighteousness! This promise is to all who will turn from, and repent of their sin, yes you, forgiven and cleansed!!
3. "when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers" Wow, don't miss this, Jesus isn't forgiving Peter, but kicking him out of ministry, He says strengthen your brothers. Jesus forgives and forgets and His plan for Peter hasn't changed, Peter has changed, where once he brashly proclaimed that he would die for Christ, now Peter has been humbled and he is now ready to lead!
"The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." Matthew 23:11-12 ESV
God wastes nothing in our lives, His plan for us doesn't change, He knew our lives from beginning to end, before we were ever born and He promises that He will cause everything to work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 ESV
Don't you love treasure hunts? Especially God's treasure hunts in Scripture!