Why did Susan Boyle’s story draw so much attention? We love the story of an underdog who everyone under-estimates but who then enjoys an unexpected triumph. As we’re going to see, Jeremiah is that same kind of underdog.
Jeremiah began his ministry as the dominant world power, the Assyrians, descended into civil war. As the Assyrians began to lose their power, Babylon and Egypt sought to occupy the power vacuum that the Assyrians would leave. In the midst of this political turmoil the Lord calls Jeremiah. His job is to predict and warn of the coming Babylonian invasion and the restoration that would follow the exile.
- Jeremiah’s story begins with the word of the Lord. The phrase occurs in almost 5% of the verses of Jeremiah.
- Calling begins with the Lord. He forms, creates, appoints and calls. We respond.
- God’s word came TO Jeremiah before it came THROUGH Jeremiah.
The 3 verbs in verse 5 are:
- “know (Strongs H3045)” – reaches beyond intellectual knowledge or acquaintance and includes an intimate personal commitment.
- “set apart/consecrate (Strongs H6942)” – At its root it has the idea of setting something apart from all others and dedicating it to a specific use.
- “appoint (Strongs H5414)” – refers to giving someone a particular task or assignment.
Is that true of everyone that God knows, sets apart and appoints?
Calling begins with God, develops through our relationship with God and that relationship leads us to others.
Recommended books on finding God’s calling for you:
- Finding the Will of God: A Pagan Notion? by Bruce K. Waltke
- Decision Making and the Will of God: by Garry Friesen (read the whole book; or just the second half)
- Jeremiah’s first objection concerns himself: He can’t speak well.
- Jeremiah’s second objections concerns others: People don’t listen to young prophets.
- Calling may begin looking like certain failure.
- In response to Jeremiah’s youth, God promises His presence.
- In response to Jeremiah’s lack of ability, God gives Jeremiah the words to speak.
- The 6 verbs in verse 10 anticipate the message of the book of Jeremiah: 4 relate to destruction; 2 to rebuilding.
- Just as the early first blooming almond tree heralds the arrival of springtime, so God will rapidly fulfill His spoken word.
- Just as the liquid is about to boil over, so disaster from the north is going to be let loose on Judah.
- In conclusion, Jeremiah is told 3 things: brace yourself; speak the Lord’s word and don’t be dismayed.
What does God want from us? God wants each of us to live in relationship with him so that we might bring life to others.
- Calling beings with God. God calls and we respond. We don’t find our calling by finding ourselves. We find our calling by finding the Lord.
- We are not alone, God is always with us. He gives us His presence and relationship with him.
- God will equip us for what He calls us to do.
- Calling will look like failure to us, but God is in the business of bringing using failures like us to bring about His glory and His kingdom.
- Success is humble faithfulness, not fame, fortune or impact. Success is doing that and only that which God has called you to do.
- It’s not going to be easy. Brace yourself by keeping your focus on God, not yourself. Then speak God’s word and don’t be dismayed.
For more detail and explanation, please listen to the podcast.
Next: 03 Jeremiah 2:1-13 Why is God so difficult to believe in?
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Series: Questions Jeremiah Answered
Study Resources: Jeremiah Resources
Scripture quotes are from the New American Standard Version of the Bible.
Photo used here under Flickr Creative Commons.