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Jeremiah 1:414, 1719comment (0)

June 2, 2011

By Douglas K. Wilson

Related Scripture: Jeremiah 1:414, 1719

Explore the Bible
Professor of Christian Studies, School of Christian Studies, University of Mobile

Jeremiah 1:4–14, 17–19

Imagine living among a people whose forefathers had a reverent fear of God, established civil government under His authority and regularly prayed for Him to be glorified by their nation. Imagine that same nation being dissatisfied with God’s laws and becoming more and more concerned with the laws, behaviors and faiths of surrounding nations and people groups. God sent spokesmen who called the nation to repent. Instead of turning back to God, however, it mocks the heralds for their naysaying. Some of these men are even executed for their focus on righteousness over patriotism.

Jeremiah was one of God’s chosen spokesmen to the people of Judah. God’s great nation had split, and Israel’s people had already been scattered among other nations. Judah remained, in large part because of the leadership of godly kings. The kingdom was in turmoil, however, because of a growing fascination with spiritual power apart from God’s demanding laws. It worshiped constellations, fertility gods and idols made by its own hands. It sacrificed its children to foreign deities in order to appease them or gain their favor.

Receive God’s Plan (4–6)
God spoke to Jeremiah and the young priest was terrified. God had work for him to do? God set him apart before he was born? God was calling him to be a missionary? Jeremiah did not want the job. He felt that he was unqualified. After all, priests served from age 30 to 50 (Num. 4:46–47). Jeremiah felt that he was far too young and inexperienced.

When God calls you to a task, your age is not an issue. Jeremiah was a young man, and Moses was a senior citizen (Ex. 3). Neither of them wanted to obey, yet God used both of them for His purposes. Neither man felt qualified yet God equipped him for the task. As you respond in obedience to God’s call, He will equip you. What if you are unsure that God is calling you to the task? “Experiencing God” author Henry Blackaby said, “When God speaks, you know it is God and you know what He says.”  

Receive God’s Power (7–10)
God responded to Jeremiah’s protest with two negative commands and a twofold commission. Do not make that excuse about your age, and do not be afraid of anyone. Like Isaiah’s calling (Isa. 6), Jeremiah’s mouth was touched and prepared for service.

In a similar way, God is preparing and empowering you for the work to which He is calling you. To quote the founder of China Inland Mission, Hudson Taylor, “God’s work done God’s way will never lack God’s supply.”

Receive God’s Revelation (11–14)
Jeremiah received two directive visions from God. The almond branch seems to test the prophet’s ability to see clearly what God was revealing. The second vision, a boiling pot, indicates the bubbling, smoldering, caustic and immediate judgment that the nation is facing for its rebellion against God.

Such a vision is applicable for our time. Christians and the church must recognize that while there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ, there are serious consequences for unrepentant sin. Ignoring God’s call in order to pursue our own agenda is an invitation to immediate chastisement by the Lord.

Receive God’s Resources (17–19)
The intervening verses record God’s revelation of judgment upon Judah. God would employ peoples from the north to discipline His wayward kingdom. It desired to be like its neighbors, rather than reflecting God’s holiness.

God announced to Jeremiah that there was no need to fear. Though his message would be unpopular and rejected even by Judah’s leaders, he was to remain faithful to the calling. God would deliver him from anyone who dared to harm him.

Jesus taught His disciples to be concerned about God, rather than fear men (Matt. 10:28). As you recognize God’s calling in your life, use the resources He has given you. Rely upon His strength. Listen for His direction. Go about the task He has given you. Discover your task and do it.

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