Today: [Jeremiah 1] The Call of Jeremiah. In chapter 1 of Jeremiah we see the Father calling him as a very young man to stand before kings and potentates. Jeremiah’s message was not one the people were ready to receive but God promises Jeremiah that He will be with him and enable him to fulfill his call. As Jeremiah was called, so you also are called. As you study the calling and the beginning of Jeremiah’s life you will find much encouragement for the things God has called you to do.
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[Jer 1:1-19 KJV] 1 The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that [were] in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin: 2 To whom the word of the LORD came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign. 3 It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month. 4 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, [and] I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. 6 Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I [am] a child. 7 But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I [am] a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. 8 Be not afraid of their faces: for I [am] with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD. 9 Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. 10 See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.
In today’s study, we are introduced to the prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah served under the last four kings of the line of David (before Jesus). He lived to see the destruction of the temple and the sacking of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. He was the eyewitness to many of the judgments Isaiah spoke over the city and the southern kingdom. He is most well known as “the weeping prophet”. Jeremiah’s name was a common one at the time, meaning “Jehovah throws down”. It was a name appropriate to his calling and the assignments given to him by the Father during his lifetime. He was born into a priestly family and lived in Anathoth, just over 2 miles from the city of Jerusalem. Anathoth is located in the land apportioned to Benjamin and was one of the 12 cities given to the Levites by the word of the Lord. His ministry spanned 40 years until the fall of Judah after which Jeremiah accompanied a group of Judeans who rebelled against Babylon into Egypt. There, traditions tell us Jeremiah was stoned, albeit minor traditions suggest he was sawn asunder as was Isaiah.
The background history of Jeremiah’s time was the conquest of the Babylonians. As Assyria was the background of Isaiah’s prophesying so Judah’s great nemesis in Jeremiah’s day was the kingdom of Babylon and the puppet king they installed after Zedekiah by the name of Gedaliah. In Jeremiah’s day, the northern kingdom and their 10 tribes are long gone and Jerusalem stands alone to face the full fury of Babylon just as Isaiah had prophesied long before. As the people ignored Isaiah’s message and continued to live lives steeped in idolatry so it was in Jeremiah’s day, the people worshipped their strange God’s and polluted the altars of Jehovah right up to the hour that the Babylonians were at the gate and the city of Jerusalem faced her awful doom – just as Isaiah had declared. The message of Jeremiah is:
1. The Babylonians will be victorious over the southern kingdom and destroy it and the temple.
2. If Judah will repent, God will save her as a nation from impending invasion (which they didn’t so the nation did fall).
3. Later when the nation was facing captivity, Jeremiah declares the nation must humble itself to their conquerors if she hopes to be spared.
4. Judah will be destroyed but later restored by God’s hand to world dominance (fulfilled in Christ).
5. Babylon will ultimately and finally be completely destroyed and removed from the earth.
In chapter 1 we focus on the calling of Jeremiah. We actually know more about Jeremiah personally than we do any of the other prophets. He was 20 years old when he began to minister, called out by God verse 5 tells us – from his mother’s womb. Is this calling unique to Jeremiah? Paul declares in Ephesians chapter 1 that there is a predestined call upon every one of our lives:
[Eph 1:4-6 KJV] 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
Jeremiah did not feel qualified for the task but God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the call. You may feel completely unable to fulfill what God has put in front of you and everyone around you may fail to discern who you are in God but that does not change the reality of the call of God upon your life. You may feel that you in fact are not called or are not a leader but bear this in mind: In Christ, every believer is a king and a priest, so says Rev. 1:5; Rev. 5:10 and 1 Peter 2:9. Your calling is unquestionable, it is your responsibility according to 2 Peter 1:10 to discern that calling and make your calling and election sure. If you do these things, Peter assures us you will never fall.
11 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond tree. 12 Then said the LORD unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it. 13 And the word of the LORD came unto me the second time, saying, What seest thou? And I said, I see a seething pot; and the face thereof [is] toward the north. 14 Then the LORD said unto me, Out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land. 15 For, lo, I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north, saith the LORD; and they shall come, and they shall set every one his throne at the entering of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all the walls thereof round about, and against all the cities of Judah. 16 And I will utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands. 17 Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them. 18 For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land. 19 And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I [am] with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee.
In verse 11 we find the inaugural vision of Jeremiah. He sees a rod made from the branch of an almond tree. In v. 12 the Father explains this vision saying it means that He will hasten His word to perform it. What does an almond branch have to do with God’s timing? Almond trees came into fruitfulness very early in the growing season. Therefore the almond tree, blossom or fruit used throughout the Old Testament in type and shadow always speaks to us of the quick work that God is going to do. From this we can conclude that God is not reticent to speak to us about His timing. Modern day prophetic teaching discourages any reference or seeking to discern the “when” of what God is doing, but it is the very first thing that God brings up to Jeremiah, as a young and very inexperienced prophet. Modern teachers today and so-called authorities say only the very most mature, seasoned and experienced prophetic voices should attempt to discern such timings but to the law and to the testimony – if God’s word says differently then we may safely ignore the pontifications of the assembly of the uninformed no matter how lofty their so-called degree might be in the opinions of men and the religious world.
The second vision of Jeremiah is that of a seething pot. We can now discern that there is a seer anointing in Jeremiah. We look to see, listen to hear and sense to feel what God may be saying, and one of those modalities will be stronger than the other in our lives. These of course are not giftings only for those called to the office of a prophet. As 1 Corinthians tells us we may all prophesy whether or not you are under the mantle of prophetic office or no.
The seething pot is a picture of a boiling over of evil from the north (speaking of the Babylonians) who will boil over and come down and v. 14 describes “break forth” upon all the inhabitants of the southern kingdom. In fact v. 15 tells us that God will set all the nations of the earth at the siege gates of Jerusalem and around all the walls and cities of Judah. This was true in Jeremiah’s day and has been true for 2700 years of history since then. Why does the city of Jerusalem and its surroundings suffer such international meddling, wars and difficulties? Because God has caused the world and its history to pivot as on a hinge on this city that He has chosen as His capital upon the earth.
Because God will use Jeremiah (v. 16) to utter judgments against the people touching their wickedness and the fact that they have forsaken Him, God tells Jeremiah to gird up loins (his mind) and not be dismayed at the faces of the rebellious, lest God would confound Jeremiah before them. He goes on to tell Jeremiah that God made him like a defensed city and an iron pillar to speak boldly to kings, princes and priests and against the people themselves because of the choices they are making, and have made and will continue to make until the entire city, the temple and the people are totally extinguished and taken into captivity. Though people will fight against Jeremiah, the Father says that they will not prevail against him for one reason and one reason only: “I will” the Father promises “be with you…”
In your own life, you may have very few that actually encourage and support your call. You may find yourself in a very spiritually dead and dry environment without any light or hope to be found in your midst. You may face opposition and struggle with fear of man. God’s promise is that if you will not waver or be dismayed at the mistreatment or misunderstanding you may experience at the hands of others that you will not be confounded, and will fulfill your call and see the deliverance of God over your life in the midst of your enemies and detractors. This is the promise of God to Jeremiah and the promise of God to you as you choose to make as Paul exhorted us your calling and election sure.
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