God’s Word of Spiritual Renewal
Jeremiah 1:1-19: The prophet Jeremiah lived during the latter part of the seventh century and the first part of the sixth century B.C. During his long ministry he warned God’s people of the catastrophe that was to fall upon the nation because of their idolatry and sin. In today’s reading, Jeremiah is chosen by the LORD to be a prophet. Two visions are described – one of a ripening almond tree branch to indicate that what Jeremiah is told will actually happen, and another of a pot of boiling water to indicate invading armies that will attack the land from the north. The reading concludes with Jeremiah’s assurance of the LORD’s protection.
The LORD said to me, “I chose you before I gave you life, and before you were born I selected you to be a prophet to the nations.”
1This book is the account of what was said by Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the priests of the town of Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin. 2 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah in the thirteenth year that Josiah son of Amon was king of Judah, 3 and he spoke to him again when Josiah's son Jehoiakim was king. After that, the Lord spoke to him many times, until the eleventh year of the reign of Zedekiah son of Josiah. In the fifth month of that year the people of Jerusalem were taken into exile.
The Call of Jeremiah
4The Lord said to me, 5“I chose you before I gave you life, and before you were born I selected you to be a prophet to the nations.”
6I answered, “Sovereign Lord, I don't know how to speak; I am too young.”
7But the Lord said to me, “Do not say that you are too young, but go to the people I send you to, and tell them everything I command you to say. 8Do not be afraid of them, for I will be with you to protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!”
9Then the Lord reached out, touched my lips, and said to me, “Listen, I am giving you the words you must speak. 10Today I give you authority over nations and kingdoms to uproot and to pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”
11The Lord asked me, “Jeremiah, what do you see?”
I answered, “A branch of an almond tree.”
12“You are right,” the Lord said, “and I am watching to see that my words come true.”
13Then the Lord spoke to me again. “What else do you see?” he asked.
I answered, “I see a pot boiling in the north, and it is about to tip over this way.”
14He said to me, “Destruction will boil over from the north on all who live in this land, 15because I am calling all the nations in the north to come. Their kings will set up their thrones at the gates of Jerusalem and around its walls and also around the other cities of Judah. 16I will punish my people because they have sinned; they have abandoned me, have offered sacrifices to other gods, and have made idols and worshiped them. 17Get ready, Jeremiah; go and tell them everything I command you to say. Do not be afraid of them now, or I will make you even more afraid when you are with them. 18-19Listen, Jeremiah! Everyone in this land—the kings of Judah, the officials, the priests, and the people—will be against you. But today I am giving you the strength to resist them; you will be like a fortified city, an iron pillar, and a bronze wall. They will not defeat you, for I will be with you to protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken.”
What did the LORD say to Jeremiah (verses 4, 5)? What was Jeremiah’s response (verse 6)? What assurance did the LORD give (verses 7, 8)? What does today’s reading teach you about being chosen to speak about your faith to others? You may wish to compare the call of Jeremiah with the call of Moses (Exodus 3, 4) and Isaiah (Isaiah 6) and note their similarities and differences.
Lord God, teach me to listen to your voice and heed your call. You are always with me. Fill me with your Holy Spirit and empower me with words you would have me speak for the sake of building up your kingdom and being an instrument of your love. Amen.
Jeremiah 7:1-15: The prophet Jeremiah preaches in the Temple.