Jeremiah is one of my personal heroes in the Bible. He was just a youth when the LORD called him to his lifelong task of prophesying to disobedient Judah and he fulfilled that task, despite constant opposition. Jeremiah was given the command to declare the LORD’s judgments against Judah because they had forsaken the Lord. They had made offerings to other gods and had worshiped the works of their own hands (1:16) and the LORD’s patience had run out. Now the LORD had appointed Jeremiah to recite to Judah all their evils and to announce the coming disasters. As we read the prophecy of Jeremiah, it seems that the prophet almost stood alone against the people and against the king. Friends were few. His was a solitary assignment of harsh prophecies of disaster and Jeremiah faithfully discharged his duties for more than forty years against constant and often angry opposition. He was a man to be admired and emulated.
What I want to look at in this article is the calling of the prophet and see what we can learn from this episode. As we examine this, I think that we will see several points that will give us reason to be encouraged.
“Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying . . .” (1:4)
This is how Jeremiah begins the description of the LORD’s calling on his life. We may think, “Well, Jeremiah may have heard the word of the LORD, but I know I never have. These things don’t happen anymore.” But let’s think about that.
Was the LORD’s call NECESSARILY audible? No, I don’t think so. The LORD is able to communicate with His people in many ways, not just through audible words. The LORD could have spoken to Jeremiah in his spirit.
Was the call audible? Don’t know. Maybe. The point is, the LORD communicated to Jeremiah and Jeremiah was sure that it was the LORD who was talking, and he knew what the LORD was saying. And we, too, can have this same experience.
Note what is said in verse 5:
- Jeremiah was formed by the LORD in his mother’s womb (universal);
- The LORD knew Jeremiah before he was conceived (universal, esp. believers)
- The LORD consecrated the prophet before he was born (universal)
- Jeremiah was appointed as a prophet to the nations (unique).
What can we learn from this calling of Jeremiah that we can apply to our own walk with the LORD?
- As the LORD formed Jeremiah in his mother’s womb, so all believers can likewise be confident that the LORD has left nothing to chance in our lives. The LORD Himself has formed you and has made you exactly as you are. Therefore, we should accept ourselves as we are, because it is the LORD who has formed us. (NOTE: The same Hebrew word used in Jeremiah 1:5 is used in Genesis 2:7, when the LORD forms the man out of the ground. It is also this same word that is used in Isaiah 49:5 to describe the forming of the Incarnate Son of God, Jesus Christ, as He was being formed for His earthly ministry. As the LORD carefully and lovingly formed Adam and formed the Lord Jesus, the Second Adam, so the LORD has lovingly formed you.)
- As the LORD knew Jeremiah before he was conceived, so the LORD knew you before you were conceived. While your physical existence began at your conception, the Bible teaches that the LORD has always known you and, if you are a follower of Jesus, the Lord of this universe chose you to be His special possession before He formed tou in the womb. You have always been the object of His love, so be encouraged!
- As the LORD consecrated Jeremiah and set him apart for a specific purpose, so the LORD has brought you to salvation and consecrated you for a specific purpose. Each member of God’s people has been chosen and consecrated for a unique role, a unique task. The Lord fits us together in His body as each member fulfills his own role (Ephesians 4:16, Romans 12:6). The key is to discern how God has created you, and where and how He wants to use you for His glory. Our joy is greatest when we are fulfilling the role for which God consecrated us.
SDG rmb 11/20/2019