(Today's post by Adam Cooper)
Jeremiah receives the call from God to do His will and to take His word to everyone. Jeremiah is told that he was chosen and set apart by God before he was ever conceived in his mother’s womb. Jeremiah’s first response is humility. He tells God that he is “but a child” indicating that he was in no way wise enough to speak about God to others. God quickly tells Jeremiah that He will put the words in his mouth and through Jeremiah God plans to speak destruction. However, as almost an aside there is a small part of verse 10 in which God indicates that He will also renew (plant) through Jeremiah.
The next part is interesting because it is almost like God is testing the connection with Jeremiah because He asks Jeremiah what he sees. I can’t help but flash to Sunday morning worship team rehearsal where the audio technician speaks into the in-ear monitor to make sure the musician can hear him. It is almost like some glorious tap on the microphone followed by “is this thing on?”
Jeremiah sees an almond tree and a pot of boiling water. The correct usage would be a pot of stirring water but I believe the translators of the NIV probably thought boiling was much more effective. God acknowledges that Jeremiah has seen correctly and then translates what Jeremiah has seen as meaning God was about to send destruction through the kingdoms of the north. The almond tree is significant because it is one of the earliest bloomers in spring and signifies here the rapidly approaching judgment/destruction which Jeremiah is to prophesy about. Yet another point in the history of Israel that the people have turned to idols and wickedness and other gods and for their behavior they will be judged yet again.
In the last three verses of Chapter 1 God is the great motivator telling Jeremiah to get up and do as He says and to not be afraid. God tells Jeremiah that he has been fortified and uses words like iron and bronze to signify the strength that God has given Jeremiah as He sends him out.
It is great to read about the provision that God makes for Jeremiah here as He sends him out but what can we gain from this scripture? We don’t have kingdoms from the north that are about to attack and destroy our homeland…or do we…metaphorically?
I believe we can take heart from Jeremiah in a couple of ways. The first of which is in God’s command to Jeremiah to “go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you (v.7 – NIV).” I believe that this can bolster the command in Matthew 28:19 when Jesus tells us to “Go and make disciples.” In so many instances we read Matthew 28:19 and say the same thing Jeremiah said, “I do not know how to speak, I am only a child (v.6 – NIV).”
But if we look at other areas in the Bible where God commanded people to go we see a better picture of the provision God makes for those that “GO”. God clearly indicates that the words do not come from us but instead come from Him and that He will fortify us from the attacks of those against us. In Jeremiah’s time the attacks were to come from those around him as he tried to speak some sense into them; in our time the attacks come from society and the enemy…and sometimes even ourselves as we try to do what “we” want and not what HE wants.
Another way we can take heart from Jeremiah is in the fact that God can use the least to speak His word. Jeremiah was from the tribe of Benjamin, the smallest of the Jewish tribes, and he was not the only Benjamite to be tasked by God in scripture. The reference Jeremiah makes of himself as a child further emphasized this use of the least to speak His word. To connect this with today it is important to understand that when we humble ourselves and accept Christ we are indicating that we have shed our devotion to this world and have shifted our devotion to a new Master. Compared to the fact that Jesus took our sin upon Himself we have become nothing except His humble follower, a saint forgiven, and a slave to the duty that He has set before us.
It is my prayer today that we all begin to realize the strength that we have all been fortified with through our relationship with Christ. We have been given great power through His word to affect change in the world around us and we must understand and follow God’s command, “Go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you (v.7 – NIV).” It doesn’t matter that “we” don’t know what to say: He will give us the words. The “we” we used to be has no part in this; when we choose Christ we choose to live set apart and in His service.