Jeremiah’s Call and Work
Jeremiah 1:4-5 “Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”
Jeremiah was called to be God’s prophet to Judah; and to those nations which would deal with Judah.
A prophet is one called of God, to tell His people what is on His mind, for them; for now and sometimes, for in the future.
Yet he was a young man. He thought he would not be able to speak such an important message to the elders and people, because of his age.
Jeremiah 1:6-7 “Then said I, Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.
But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.”
The Lord told him that his age would not matter, for he would help him go and speak as God wanted. It sounded like the Lord had a long work for him to do.
But then God dealt with the fear in Jeremiah’s heart.
Jeremiah 1:8-9 “Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord.
Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.”
God not only spoke, but acted. He touched his mouth, promising deliverance from the enemies that these words would bring.
(He does the same to us, when He places the Holy Spirit within us, giving us His life, and grace. His touch to us.)
When we speak for God; preach His word, or give out the gospel; then all those who fight against God, will “fight” against us.
Then Jeremiah, who was of the priestly tribe, was chosen by the Godly king Josiah to go to the villages around his home town and teach the law, so that God would be honored again in Judah.
But the men of his town, including those of his own household, tried to kill him. (Jeremiah 11:19, 21-23)
He was sent by God to go to Jerusalem, and this is where his real calling began.
There he dealt with the priesthood, to get them to honor the word the Lord was giving.
Jeremiah 4:5-6, 14, 18; “Declare ye in Judah, and publish in Jerusalem; and say, Blow ye the trumpet in the land; cry, gather together, and say, Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the defensed cities.
Set up the standard toward Zion: retire, stay not: for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction.
O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?
Thy way and thy doings have procured these things unto thee; this is thy wickedness, because it is bitter, because it reacheth unto thine heart.”
Jeremiah 5:1, “Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that execute the judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it.”
(God would have pardoned Jerusalem from much judgement, if there would have been “any” that would do His will. We, too, are the salt of the earth…are we preserving our church, family, etc, as we should?)
He dealt with the people, to simply honor God’s commandments. But everywhere his word went, it stirred up anger.
(We do not like to hear that we are not doing right. Some honor religion, and not God. Some honor God only if He does what they like.)
Then the rulers became aware of his message.
God was saying: to submit to God’s chastening through the king of Babylon.
If they would, God would let them remain in the city, and in the land.
They would be under the rule of a foreign nation; but in the land.
It would be humbling, but the only way to stay in the land; the only way to be blessed by God.
Jeremiah 5:5 “I will get me unto the great men, and will speak unto them; for they have known the way of the Lord, and the judgment of their God: but these have altogether broken the yoke, and burst the bonds.”
(In other words, they left the path of faithfulness, and went after “success”, and promotion)
(God had warned about this when Moses was warning the people before they came into Canaan: To obey God, or suffer under the dominion of other nations.
Deuteronomy 28:47-48 “Because thou servest not the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things;
Therefore thou shalt serve thine enemies, which the Lord shall send against thee, and in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in the want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck,……”)
But now the time had come to see the hand of God in all His dealings, and submit.
If they refused; they would be forced out of the land God had given them for their sin. (Yet, it would not be forever; but just seventy years.)
When Jeremiah told the people this; the princes and rulers tried to kill him.
Jeremiah 5:11-12 “For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have dealt very treacherously against me, saith the Lord.
They have belied the Lord, and said, It is not He; neither shall evil come upon us; neither shall we see sword nor famine:”
Hidden by friends( Jeremiah 36:16-19); then put in a deep pit with mire in it (Jeremiah 38:4-6); yet he proclaimed the truth.
Warning again and again, the king of Judah, and the princes to yield to the king of Babylon, because it was really yielding to God.
But they refused; and the whole city suffered under starvation, thirst, and finally the enemy breaking through, and death.
Thousands of men, women and children died because they refused to submit to God’s dealings with them. Thousands of others were taken away from the land as slaves.
How often are we dealt with by God? Things are happening, and we refuse to pray about them. When God is really trying to awaken us to what needs to be changed.
(Yes, I, too have been dealt with, and tried to excuse myself. Why won’t we just yield? How silly to be so stubborn….for what?)
Yes, our faith is tried; but when things come to us; we should seek the Lord’s face about them.
If we are being tried, He will increase our faith, by the trial.
If we are being corrected, He will let us know; and it will be our blessing to set it right, and submit to the correction.
But Jeremiah, too, was in the city. He was there when the city was taken, and the Temple destroyed.
But God saw to his servant; he was given bread and water through the siege, by the very king he tried to warn (though he refused the good warning).
When everything Jeremiah had warned them of, had come to pass; he walked out of the place the king had kept him, into a city destroyed and burning.
Still, when approached by the remaining people for good counsel, he prayed for them, to get it.
He never left off trying to help God’s people know, and do His Will.
(Tradition says Jeremiah was finally cut in half by those who kept refusing God’s Way.)
Often we are the same; we see the very thing God has warned us of, through preaching, teaching, and Bible study; yet we still do not heed God’s warning to us.
We think, God has to take care of us.
Yes, if saved, we can never be lost. But God can allow severe chastening in our lives, because we refuse His Word.
Which, when we yield to, life is given; His life and grace is given more abundantly. (Think of the prodigal.)
When Jeremiah first started to preach to the people; God told him:
Jeremiah 2:13 “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water.”
Cisterns are like a whole dug, and filled with rain water; like a reservoir. Cisterns are often dry, even when not broken.
To rely on anything other than our God, for our life, is to turn to cisterns.
But our God is like a fountain of living waters. Ever springing up, ever availing.
What will we do today, with God’s Word to us?
[I used to think that Jeremiah was the saddest man in the Old Testament. Many, so many refused God’s Word….but I have come to realize, that Jeremiah suffered often alone, and in terrible ways….yet he was always helped in abundant measure, inside. God was with him more abundantly.
The saddest people in the Old Testament, and any time are those who refuse God’s Word.
Listen to his cry’s:
Lamentations 3:18-19 “And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the Lord:
Remembering my afflictions and my misery, the wormwood and the gall.”
Here is depression…from anxiety, from troubles, from perceived failure…
But the very next verses:
Lamentations 3:20-26 “My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me.
Then I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.
It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning: Great is Thy faithfulness.
The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; Therefore will I hope in Him.
The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh Him.
It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.”
Jeremiah remembers God, Who He is, and what He has done before….how through all the years, He has been faithful to His People….and he trusts.
It does not take away the troubles….but rather redirects them to God….and He has broad enough shoulders to carry Jeremiah and all the troubles.]