The Lord gave me this message:
“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”
“O Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!”
The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” Jeremiah 1:4-8
Today’s notes that go along with these verses are good so I’ll type them in too.
Note on verse 5
God knew you, as he knew Jeremiah, long before you were born or even conceived. HE thought about you and planned for you. When you feel discouraged or inadequate, remember that God has always thought of you as valuable and that he has a purpose in mind for you.
Jeremiah was “appointed” by God as “spokesman to the world.” God has a purpose for each Christian, but some people are appointed by God for specific kinds of work. Samson (Judges 13:3-5), David (1 Samuel 16:12, 13), John the Baptist (Luke 1:13-17), and Paul (Galatians 1:15, 16) were also called to do particular jobs for God. Whatever work you do should be done for the glory of God (Philippians 1:11). If God gives you a specific task, accept it cheerfully and do it with diligence. If God has not given you a specific call or assignment, then seek to fulfill the mission common to all believers – to love, obey, and serve God – until his guidance becomes more clear.
Note on verses 6-8
Often people struggle with new challenges because they lack self-confidence, feeling that they have inadequate ability, training, or experience. Jeremiah thought he was “too young” and inexperienced to be God’s spokesman to the world. But God promised to be with him. We should not allow feelings of inadequacy to keep us from obeying God. He will always be with us. If God gives you a job to do, he will provide all you need to do it.
Note on verse 8
God promised to be with Jeremiah and take care of him, but not to keep trouble from coming. God did not insulate him from jailings, deportation, or insults. God does not keep us from encountering life’s storms, but he will see us through them. In fact, God walks through these storms with us and rescues us.
Jeremiah makes me think of Moses. Moses also argued that he wasn’t good enough for God’s purpose. Yet, Moses was pliable in God’s hand, a willing servant, one that would do whatever God commanded. Maybe he felt incapable of speaking before Pharaoh and his court, but God knew his heart. The same was true with Jeremiah. Both men felt inadequate for whatever reason, yet both men submitted to God’s will and look what we have because of it, astounding examples of faith and relying on God through all the trials and hardships. Moses would intercede for the children of Israel or curse them, yet he remained faithful to God and God to him. Jeremiah would intercede for the children of Israel, often so sorrowfully that he is called the “weeping prophet,” yet even in his deepest discouraged state of mind, he remained faithful to God and God to him.
Before I go one, I want to type in Jeremiah’s profile from my study bible…I think it just says things so clearly.
Endurance is not a common quality. Many people lack the long-term commitment, caring, and willingness that are vital to sticking with a task against all odds. But Jeremiah was a prophet who endured.
Jeremiah’s call by God teaches how intimately God know us. He valued us before anyone else knew we would exist. He cared for us while we were in our mother’s womb. He planned our life while our body was still being formed. He values us more highly than we value ourselves.
Jeremiah had to depend on God’s love as he developed endurance. His audiences were usually antagonistic or apathetic to his messages. He was ignored; his life was often threatened. He saw both the excitement of a spiritual awakening and the sorrow of a national return to idolatry. With the exception of the good king Josiah, Jeremiah watched king after king ignore his warnings and lead the people away from God. He saw fellow prophets murdered. He himself was severely persecuted. Finally, he watched Judah’s defeat at the hands of the Babylonians.
Jeremiah responded to all this with God’s message and human tears. He felt firsthand God’s love for his people and the people’s rejection of that love. But even when he was angry with God and tempted to give up, Jeremiah knew he had to keep going. God had called him to endure. He expressed intense feelings but saw beyond the feelings to the God who was soon to execute justice but who afterward would show mercy.
It may be easy for us to identify with Jeremiah’s frustrations and discouragement, but we need to realize that this prophet’s life is also an encouragement to faithfulness.
Strengths and accomplishments
- Wrote two Old Testament books, Jeremiah and Lamentations
- Ministered during the reigns of the last five kings of Judah
- Was a catalyst for the great spiritual reformation under King Josiah
- Acted as God’s faithful messenger in spite of many attempts on his life
- Was so deeply sorrowful for the fallen condition of Judah that he earned the title “Weeping Prophet”
Lessons from his life
- The majority opinion is not necessarily God’s will
- Although punishment for sin is severe, there is hope in God’s mercy
- God will not accept empty or insincere worship
- Serving God does not guarantee earthly security
- Where: Anathoth
- Occupation: Prophet
- Relative: Father: Hilkiah
- Contemporaries: Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, Zedekiah, Baruch
“‘O seoverign Lord,’ I said, ‘I can’t speak for you! I’m too youn!’
‘Don’t say that,’ the Lord replied, ‘for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and take care of you. I, the Lord, have spoken!’” (Jeremiah 1:6-8)
Jeremiah’s story is told in the book of Jeremiah. He is also mentioned in Ezra 1:1: Daniel 9:2; Matthew 2:17; 16:14; 27:9. See also 2 Chronicles 34-35 for the story of the spiritual revival under Josiah.
So, after reading all this, what am I called to do? I am called through the love that I have for God to endure. It will be His strength that upholds me, it will be His mercy that will sustain me and His grace that will cover me. Jeremiah was often mocked by the king, his court and the people in general. No one would listen to his warnings, yet he endured because his faith was firmly rooted in God. Even when he was discouraged and downtrodden, Jeremiah’s heart for God overcame his strong negative emotions.
It is like this for me too. Reason, based on and grown out of my faith, dictates my ultimate outcome when my emotions are unreasonable. As you know, I have been battling a rather discouraging despair, yet, my mind says that I simply have to endure and God will shine His light on me once again. That is my faith overcoming my emotions. To be completely honest, I feel no hope for my marriage, yet my faith says to simply hold on and hold out, not because me or my husband are perfectly righteous nor because we will be once we get past this slump, but because God is perfectly righteous.
It is amazing to me, things that I have always “just known” about my life and how it ‘would be’ are falling into place right now at this time of my life and I am perfectly unhappy. Thinking about it makes me laugh! We humans are never happy because the grass is always greener on the other side.
Anyway, even though I have seemingly, even to me, given up hope on my marriage, I know deep down that I will endure. I may not be some great prophet like Moses or Jeremiah, but God has a plan for me too. As I’ve mentioned enough in the past for you to know, Psalm 139 is my favorite passage in the entire bible, I think – or at least it is for today! And though, God is speaking directly to Jeremiah, the concept is the same, “God loves me so much that He has all the details of my life worked out before I was ever conceived. He knew what I would do for Him and through Him and I can rest assured in the knowledge that my marriage is already “taken care of” by God, well before I was ever conceived. My husband may not put stock into anything I say, but like Jeremiah, I am called to endure.
My marriage is only one area that God has called me to endure for His sake, there are many others. Where has He called you to endure. I think it is this kind of “against-all-odds” endurance that sets Christ’s followers apart from the rest of “the world.” It helps to clearly identify us because we do those things that are “against -all-odds,” and the glory that the Lord receives through this is immeasurable because it is obviously His strength that helps us through. Is your call to endurance at work, at home, with family, friends or relatives, or maybe it is socially or in your church even? Wherever you are called to endurance, rest in the knowledge that your reason, based on and grown out of your faith, dictates your ultimate outcome when your emotions are being unreasonable. Believe me, God will be glorified.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalm 139:23-24
May God provide the increase.