Jeremiah Part One Dive
THE CALL OF JEREMIAH
I love the fact that the Bible isn’t full of people that we can’t relate to, they are not people that respond in superhuman ways that I am simply never going to be able to imitate. But the Bible is filled with people that inspire and stir us to be more than we currently are. That is what happens to me when I read Jeremiah; I know that this man was a prophet and not just a ‘prophetic person’ but a prophet called by God to speak to his nation, to speak to Kings. But I love reading the calling of Jeremiah in the first chapter and taking time to study what it says not just about his reaction to the call of God but to God’s reaction to his doubts and fears.
The first thing to notice in the call of Jeremiah is who he is. We can read the first sentence to get an idea of his family, Jeremiah, son of Hilkiah, one of the priests of Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin. Now when you first read this, you can read it that Jeremiah is the priest in the territory of Benjamin, but that’s not right, read it again. Jeremiah is the son of the priest, so this young guy (he is about 20 at the time of his call) whose Dad is a priest gets a word from the Lord – and we can see from the next couple of verses that it came in the perfect timing of the Lord! When the Bible tells you the King in power in the time the prophet is prophesying it is your cue to get out your timeline of Kings and prophets and to find out what is happening because God had a specific time and place that Jeremiah needed to speak into.
But first God had to overcome the fears of the prophet. So we know that this is the priest's son and we know that this is a specific time that God has for Jeremiah to prophesy, now for the hard part – will Jeremiah take up the call that God is about to give him. The time is right; the time is now, will Jeremiah take his mission on?
Read Jeremiah 1:1-19 and let's have a look at some main points to help you step into all God has for you.
1. You are called before you were formed.
The calling of Jeremiah came to him in the womb, before he could earn it by his works, or before he could prove himself worthy, he was known by God, set apart and appointed by God to be a prophet to the nations. Know that you were formed in your mother’s womb to do something for God, you can’t earn it, you can’t make it happen, it is already done. All you have to do is wait for God’s timing and step in.
2. Alas Sovereign Lord – I think you have it wrong.
The first thing out of Jeremiah's mouth was – "Alas Sovereign Lord, I do not know how to speak, I am too young!" The first response from Jeremiah is – Lord I think you have it wrong. Jeremiah reminds God of the obstacles and weaknesses that he thinks will stop him from stepping into the call. Even though God just said he created him, called him from the womb, so he knows how old he is and he knows that he doesn’t speak well. You have to remember that your weaknesses are only an issue to you, they are not an issue to God! He created you and knows who you are, if the Word of the Lord comes to you, nothing is going to stop you except you. So see your weaknesses as strength and step in.
3. Do not say... you must go... do not be afraid.
God straight away corrects Jeremiah's mouth – don’t say you are too young. This is the best pep talk ever, and it is from God himself, stop letting your fears define what comes out of your mouth, you must do what God is calling you to do and don’t be afraid. I love this, change your mouth and step into what I am calling you to do. This is not an if you like – you must go. And he knows it’s not going to be easy, but he reminds him don’t be afraid. This journey is going to take faith, it is going to take courage, but God is with him, and Jeremiah is reminded of it from the beginning.
4. My words are in your mouth... I appoint you over nations.
I love that God calms Jeremiah’s fears, what is Jeremiah afraid of – “I do not know how to speak” – so what does God say to him? I have put my words in your mouth. He is saying all you have to do is stand up there and I will fill your mouth with words, I know you are worried that you can’t speak but these words will not be yours, they will be mine. In other words, as you step out, I will take care of your weaknesses and fill them with my strength. Then again he commissions Jeremiah, I appoint you over the nations – imagine this boy hearing those words, from someone who was scared of being too young and unable to speak to a prophet to the nations all he had to do was speak, and his voice would be heard not just to his family, not just to kings but to the nations!
5. Get yourself ready! Stand up and say...
Now God has told him what he is going to do, it’s time for Jeremiah’s response. Everything before this was instructive now God is prompting action – Get yourself ready, stand up and say. This is Jeremiah’s time to act and respond to the call of God. In each of us we have been given that moment when we hear God telling us our calling, what we are called to do and within that moment, there is a moment for us to respond, time for us to take up that call. We can’t just be hearers of the Word of God but doers – we need to act on the call of God. And here is Jeremiah's moment – stand up and say...
6. Today I have made you...
I love this final statement of God – 'today I have made you', and then he spends the next couple of verses re-writing Jeremiah's identity. God is saying from this moment you are different, from this moment you are now ... a fortified city, an iron pillar, a bronze wall. This boy that couldn’t speak and thought he was too young is about to become the voice of God to kings, Judah, its officials and priests. Wait a minute isn’t his Dad, a priest – yep this young boy is about to become a voice of God to his own Dad, and he is going to need to step into the calling and prophesy with confidence. His time is now.
As you read Jeremiah, remember this young guy when you read all he is about to do. Remember the calling of Jeremiah when he is prophesying over kings and priests, God is faithful, and it took this one guy overcoming his so-called weaknesses and allowing God to use him to become all God was calling him to be. So today, what is God calling you to overcome to step into all God is calling you to be? What weaknesses are you reminding God that you have, and he is saying I formed you, I know but know today I have made you…