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The Call of Jeremiah January 29, 2017

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Jeremiah 1:4-19.

Summary: In this passage, God speaks to Jeremiah on three occasions:

  • first, He states that He had predestined him to serve as His prophet to the nations; although Jeremiah attempts to resist that calling, God declares that He will empower him to fulfill it
  • later, Jeremiah has a vision of an almond tree; God uses that vision to reinforce the point that He will actively work through him
  • finally, Jeremiah has a vision of a boiling pot; God uses that vision to reinforce the point that He will work through the peoples of the north to punish his compatriots.

God asserts that his compatriots have committed the following sins:

  • forsaking Him
  • worshiping other gods.

He then reiterates that He will empower him to condemn their sins – through his prophecies.

Thoughts: In verse 6, we see that Jeremiah attempts to resist his prophetic calling. I was struck by the fact that Jeremiah acknowledges God as the “Sovereign Lord” – yet immediately resists his calling. If Jeremiah accepted the sovereignty of God, then why would he attempt to resist His will for his life? Perhaps this verse highlights the cognitive dissonance that plagues many Christians – including me. On one hand, we readily acknowledge the sovereignty of God through various praise songs and (public) prayers. On the other hand, our actions reveal our trust in our own abilities; we do not genuinely believe that God is sovereign in our lives. This indicates that we need the assistance of the Holy Spirit in overcoming our crippling doubts and leading lives that reflect our trust in His sovereignty.

In verses 18 and 19, we see that God assures Jeremiah that He will empower him to fulfill his calling – despite the opposition of the kings of Judah. Calvin offers some thoughts on this point in his commentary on verse 18:

God encourages this prophet to be firm and to persevere, as though the battle would be long, so that he would not faint from being tired. The prophet would not have to contend with one king only, but as soon as one died, another would rise up and replace him. From this Jeremiah saw there would be no hope of rest until the time that God had appointed arrived.

This caused me to ponder the fact that God wanted Jeremiah to proclaim His message of judgment to all of his compatriots – even if it elicited an angry response. I often have difficulty saying what people need to hear, as my instinct is to say what people want to hear. This tendency may have hampered my effectiveness in my previous ministry roles as a Sunday School teacher and a youth counselor, where I had great difficulty rebuking students for their misbehavior. As my Christian walk progresses, I need to trust that if I say what is right, then God will be pleased with me – regardless of human opinions. It is difficult to discount human feedback, yet we need to be more attuned to God’s feedback – with the assistance of the Holy Spirit.

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