you were born I consecrated you…”
was a prophet who began his work in 627 B.C. and continued until he was taken
to Egypt in about 587 B.C. During his lifetime he saw the Assyrians, once the
powerful and dreaded enemies of Israel and Judah, crumble and fall. He warned
of coming disaster due to the unfaithfulness of the people of Judah. He would
live to see his prophecies fulfilled with the destruction of Jerusalem by the
invading armies of Babylon.
his service as God’s prophet, he pled with the people to repent and warned of
the consequences of failure. He was branded as a traitor by ungodly kings. He
precisely foretold that captivity in Babylon would last for seventy years. It
would be decades after his death that the seventy years would be fulfilled and
that, as yet unborn foreign kings would allow a remnant to return and rebuild
Jerusalem, just as Jeremiah had said.
did not want to be a prophet. He was not seeking to become a prophet when God
called him. So why did God choose Jeremiah?
word of the LORD came to me saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew
you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a
prophet to the nations." (Jeremiah 1:4-5). There are several things here that
are wonderfully awe-inspiring if we reflect upon them. It says something about
the omniscience of God. Jehovah God told Jeremiah that He “knew” him before
Jeremiah had been formed in the womb. He already knew of Jeremiah’s strengths
and weaknesses. He knew that Jeremiah possessed something that God desired to
use during a particularly trying time in Judah’s history. God had appointed a
special task for Jeremiah before Jeremiah was born, but Jeremiah would not
know of it until he had grown to be a young man.
this mean to us? After all, we are not prophets like Jeremiah was. No, we are
not. But we are human beings created in God’s image. We each have strengths
and weaknesses; abilities and limitations. We also have opportunities to do
what God has appointed for us to do. What is that? It is to become like Jesus;
“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of
His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:29).
It is up to each of us as to whether we will accept God’s appointment or not,
just as it was to Jeremiah.
Will Not Do
said, "Alas, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, Because I am a
youth." (Jeremiah 1:4-5). Perhaps Jeremiah was overwhelmed by the task as
hand, but he was dealing with One who knew him better than he even knew
himself! Jeremiah thought that perhaps he lacked the ability to do the job.
But God knew that he could, and had even known this before Jeremiah had been
remember that whenever we are facing challenging times or tasks. There is
confidence and strength to be found in knowing that God says we can do it, and
He has always known that. We can succeed. We can serve Him acceptably. If we
falter, we can get back up. As we sometimes sing, we have “blessed assurance”.
God and His Word
LORD said to me, "Do not say, "I am a youth,' Because everywhere I send you,
you shall go, And all that I command you, you shall speak.” (Jeremiah 1:7).
Jeremiah may have been quite young, but Almighty God is eternal! Jeremiah’s
duty, young or old, is to obey the voice of God. The word and the power is
God’s. The words Jeremiah delivered would not be the words of a youth, but the
words of God.
with us as we speak the truth. We must never set aside God’s mission to us!
Our first priority must be to obey God in everything. Let us not doubt His
eternal wisdom. Let us not alter His message found in the Scripture. Let us be
true to Him!
be afraid of them, For I am with you to deliver you," declares the LORD.”
(Jeremiah 1:8). This world has never given a warm welcome to those who would
dare speak God’s truth. It much prefers those who would bow to worldly
pressures to conform to it. Jesus said to His disciples, “And you will be
hated of all on account of My name, but it is the one who endures to the end
that will be saved.” (Matthew 10:22). Later, as Jesus was speaking to His
apostles shortly before His arrest, He said, “These things I have spoken to
you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but
take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).
Has Been Delivered
LORD stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me,
"Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.” (Jeremiah 1:9).
preach and teach and live what the Bible says, then we do not need to be
wondering whether we are right or not. The Scriptures come to us from the mind
of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and God is right. Truth has already been settled;
not in a human court or counsel, but in heaven at God’s throne.
Jeremiah spoke by the inspiration of God, the Spirit guided him. Today, God’s
will has been revealed to us through the writings of those individuals God
selected for the task. Jeremiah was not the only one. The Lord “stretched out
His hand” and touched the mouths of Matthew, John, Paul , Peter, James and
many others. When we, in turn, speak these things, we are speaking as “the
utterances of God” (2 Peter 1:20,21; 1 Peter 4:11).
Which We Must Do
have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms, To pluck
up and to break down, To destroy and to overthrow, To build and to plant."
(Jeremiah 1:10). This also well summarizes our mission today as those who
proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sometimes, when confronted by doctrines
contrary to those which the Lord has spoken we must “pluck up” and “break
down”. Also, we are tasked with “building up” and “planting” with the gospel
of truth. Our work is incomplete if it is all “breaking down” or if it is all
“building up”. Suffice it to say there must be both aspects and there are
plenty of opportunities for both. Our mission is to make known the will of our
Lord Jesus Christ. For this we have been appointed and the Lord has said that
we are adequately equipped for the task. He will help us as well. Let us then,
like Jeremiah, get along with the purpose God has given us to fulfill.
By Jon W. Quinn
From Expository Files 21.2; February 2014