Accept Your Commission
Jer. 1:1-19 Jer. 1:4-14,17-19 June 5 2011
“The Word of the Lord” This and similar phrases are found thousands of times in the O.T. They identify a direct revelation of God to or through a person called to be His messenger to that generation.
“I formed you in the womb” The Scriptures here and in other passages view the fetus not only as a human person, but as the specific individual he or she will become when grown to adulthood ( Ex. 21:22-23 ; Ps. 51:5 ). No support for the purposefully deceptive claim that a fetus is a part of the mother’s body is found in either medical science or Scripture.
“I appointed you” . This verse was not, however, originally intended as ammunition in our time’s battle over abortion. It was intended to comfort Jeremiah. The prophet was deeply aware of his own sensitive nature, and felt totally inadequate for the task God assigned .
God’s reminder that “I formed you” and “I appointed you” speak to today. God not only knows us, He made us the way we are! Surely God has equipped us for whatever mission He had in mind.
1. Jeremiah’s call to the prophetic office. (Jeremiah 1:1-10)
Jeremiah 1:1 Words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, of the priests who are in Anathoth, in the land of Benjamin, 2 unto whom the word of Jehovah hath been in the days of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign, 3 and it is in the days of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah, till the completion of the eleventh year of Zedekiah son of Josiah, king of Judah, till the removal of Jerusalem in the fifth month.
4 And there is a word of Jehovah unto me, saying, 5 Before I form thee in the belly, I have known thee; and before thou comest forth from the womb I have separated thee, a prophet to nations I have made thee.’ 6 And I say, ‘Ah, Lord Jehovah! lo, I have not known—to speak, for I am a youth.’ 7 And Jehovah saith unto me, ‘Do not say, I am a youth, for to all to whom I send thee thou goest, and all that I command thee thou speakest. 8 Be not afraid of their faces, for with thee am I to deliver thee,—an affirmation of Jehovah.’9 And Jehovah putteth forth His hand, and striketh against my mouth, and Jehovah saith unto me, ‘Lo, I have put my words in thy mouth. 10 See, I have charged thee this day concerning the nations, and concerning the kingdoms, to pluck up, and to break down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.’
Jeremiah’s early call to the work and office of a prophet is stated. He was to be a prophet, not to the Jews only, but to the neighbouring nations. He is still a prophet to the whole world, and it would be well if they would attend to these warnings. The Lord who formed us, knows for what particular services and purposes he intended us. But unless he sanctify us by his new-creating Spirit, we shall neither be fit for his holy service on earth, nor his holy happiness in heaven. It becomes us to have low thoughts of ourselves. Those who are young, should consider that they are so, and not venture beyond their powers. But though a sense of our own weakness and insufficiency should make us go humbly about our work, it should not make us draw back when God calls us. Those who have messages to deliver from God, must not fear the face of man. The Lord, by a sign, gave Jeremiah such a gift as was necessary. God’s message should be delivered in his own words. Whatever wordly wise men or politicians may think, the safety of kingdoms is decided according to the purpose and word of God.
2. A vision of an almond-tree and of a seething-pot, Divine protection is promised. (Jeremiah 1:11-19)
Jeremiah 1:11 And there is a word of Jehovah unto me, saying, ‘What art thou seeing, Jeremiah?’ And I say, ‘A rod of an almond tree I am seeing.’ 12 And Jehovah saith unto me, ‘Thou hast well seen: for I am watching over My word to do it.’13 And there is a word of Jehovah unto me a second time, saying, ‘What art thou seeing?’ And I say, ‘A blown pot I am seeing, and its face is from the north.’ 14 And Jehovah saith unto me, ‘From the north is the evil loosed against all inhabitants of the land. 15 For, lo, I am calling for all families of the kingdoms of the north,—an affirmation of Jehovah—and they have come, and put each his throne at the opening of the gates of Jerusalem, and by its walls round about, and by all cities of Judah. 16 And I have spoken My judgments with them concerning all their evil, in that they have forsaken Me, and make perfume to other gods, and bow themselves to the works of their own hands.
17 ‘And thou, thou dost gird up thy loins, and hast arisen, and spoken unto them all that I command thee: be not affrighted because of them, lest I affright thee before them. 18 And I, lo, I have given thee this day for a fenced city, and for an iron pillar, and for brazen walls over all the land, to the kings of Judah, to its heads, to its priests, and to the people of the land; 19 and they have fought against thee, and they prevail not against thee; for with thee am I,—an affirmation of Jehovah—to deliver thee.
God gave Jeremiah a view of the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem by the Chaldeans. The almond-tree, which is more forward in the spring than any other, represented the speedy approach of judgments. God also showed whence the intended ruin should arise. Jeremiah saw a seething-pot boiling, representing Jerusalem and Judah in great commotion. The mouth or face of the furnace or hearth, was toward the north; from whence the fire and fuel were to come. The northern powers shall unite. The cause of these judgments was the sin of Judah. The whole counsel of God must be declared. The fear of God is the best remedy against the fear of man. Better to have all men our enemies than God our enemy; those who are sure they have God with them, need not, ought not to fear, whoever is against them. Let us pray that we may be willing to give up personal interests, and that nothing may move us from our duty.
Jeremiah identifies the setting for his ministry in Judah . The Southern Hebrew Kingdom has survived the Assyrian invasion which swept away the Northern Kingdom, Israel. But now the little land is threatened by Assyria’s successor as the North’s great power: Babylon. Some 40 years before Judah’s last, crushing defeat God calls Jeremiah to serve Him as a prophet and defines his ministry. Jeremiah will uproot and destroy kingdoms .
Two visions underline this grim description of the prophet’s mission. He sees an almond tree which, because it blooms late, serves as a prophetic symbol of judgment long delayed but now imminent . And Jeremiah sees a pot of boiling liquid, tipping from the North, its contents flooding toward Judah, symbolizing the armies about to crush the Jewish homeland . It’s Jeremiah’s mission to announce God’s intention to judge. And the prophet is warned, “They will fight against you” .
How strange and wonderful that this most sensitive of men has been sent on a mission that calls for the utmost strength and courage in the face of what will become intense adversity.