Lord, even when I lack physical vitality, I long for spiritual vitality. Keep my spirit strong and eager, flexible and teachable.
Read JEREMIAH 1
1 The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the priests at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin. 2 The word of the Lord came to him in the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah, 3 and through the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, down to the fifth month of the eleventh year of Zedekiah son of Josiah king of Judah, when the people of Jerusalem went into exile.
The Call of Jeremiah
4 The word of the Lord came to me, saying,
5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew[a] you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
6 “Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”
7 But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.
9 Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth. 10 See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”
11 The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you see, Jeremiah?”
“I see the branch of an almond tree,” I replied.
12 The Lord said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching[b] to see that my word is fulfilled.”
13 The word of the Lord came to me again: “What do you see?”
“I see a pot that is boiling,” I answered. “It is tilting toward us from the north.”
14 The Lord said to me, “From the north disaster will be poured out on all who live in the land. 15 I am about to summon all the peoples of the northern kingdoms,” declares the Lord.
“Their kings will come and set up their thrones
in the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem;
they will come against all her surrounding walls
and against all the towns of Judah.
16 I will pronounce my judgments on my people
because of their wickedness in forsaking me,
in burning incense to other gods
and in worshiping what their hands have made.
17 “Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them. 18 Today I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land—against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests and the people of the land. 19 They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.
- Jeremiah 1:5 Or chose
- Jeremiah 1:12 The Hebrew for watching sounds like the Hebrew for almond tree.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHave you ever been asked to do something that you did not feel qualified for, or that you did not want to do? How did it feel?
God has a job for Jeremiah. Great, we might think. But that isn’t Jeremiah’s reaction. What God goes on to say doesn’t sound too reassuring. Jeremiah has a hard message to bring: there will be uprooting and tearing down before any restoration can take place (v 10). The words will be Jeremiah’s, reflecting his personality, experience and situation, but more importantly they will be words given to him by God.
God gives Jeremiah two pictures. An almond tree – the point being that God is watching (the Hebrew word for watching sounds like the Hebrew word for almond). God is in control and speaks into the situation. The boiling pot that speaks of an enemy coming from the north – geography meaning that Israel’s enemies often did. The hard thing to take is that this is God’s doing (v 15), a frequent theme in Jeremiah.
We are called to live and witness as God’s people in a world that has turned its back on God. Our situation and our challenges are similar, but not identical. People did not and do not listen. Like Jeremiah, we may face opposition and apathy, but we can be sure that God will do what he sets out to do.
What challenges are you facing as you live in a hostile world? Remember that God is watching and commit them to him.
Merciful Lord, my natural inclination is to be served, rather than to serve. Help me to embrace the reverse, and to be your faithful servant as Jeremiah was.
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