Today we begin reading the prophet Jeremiah. There is more known about Jeremiah than any other prophet. His prophetic book is arguably the longest in the Bible. His life was the most hated. His words were all but completely ignored or rejected by the people of Judah, although one king appreciated his words, Josiah. However, his words would fall on deaf ears as the people were beyond the spiritual help they desperately needed. His words were not well received for one other reason: he called for complete surrender to Babylon who would eventually destroy Jerusalem. Not only did his words call for spiritual repentance, they also would have been considered treacherous. He was hated for spiritual reasons as well as political reasons. This is the life of Jeremiah, a priest & prophet who was called of God to speak God’s word to an ungodly, rebellious generation.
1. God’s Has a Plan for Your Life (Jeremiah 1:1-10)
We are introduced in relative detail to Jeremiah. From the priestly line, from the area of Benjamin, called in the time of the godly king, Josiah, and finished his ministry after the overthrow of Zedekiah’s reign when Babylon was victorious over the southern kingdom of Judah. It was then that the people of Judah were sent into Babylonian exile.
God’s call to Jeremiah was made known to him in vv. 4 & 5. Jeremiah found out about how God worked outside of time to accomplish His will. “I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born. I appointed you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). Jeremiah’s calls began before His conception. That’s God. He is a forward thinking, superintending God who knows not only what He wants to do, but also whom He will use to accomplish His will.
Some use this verse to prove that God has been with us since birth, but it is even more profound. God’s decreed will begins before human life was given by Him at conception. God’s choice for a life is planned before you or I were in existence at any stage of pregnancy. Actually, even with all the birth control and medical fertilization available to us today, God has made a plan your life before you were conceived! God intended for you to be who you are, born in your family, and has a plan for your life. Never forget that. Your life is important to the Lord and His work on this earth. We tend to be like Jeremiah who protested God’s call on his life. These words sound familiar to anyone God has called, “But I protested, ‘Oh no, Lord, GOD! Look, I don’t know how to speak since I am only a youth’” (v. 6). God has no patience for that kind of thinking. The Lord replied, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth,’ for you will go to everyone I send you to and speak whatever I tell you” (v. 7). When God calls, we say yes. But the Lord doesn’t stop there, He also gives you whatever you need to accomplish His will, “the LORD reached out His hand, touched my mouth, and told me: I have now filled your mouth with My words” (v. 9). When our Lord calls, He provides whatever we need to fulfill His will. His plan will not be stopped, “I know that You can do anything and no plan of Yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2).
2. God Has a Message for You to Share (Jeremiah 1:11-19)
And so, God fills Jeremiah’s mouth with words. But, the words God gave to him are not comforting words: “Disaster will be poured out from the north on all who live in the land” (v. 14). Think for a moment what kind of message he could have been given. For instance, it could have been about restoration and wonders like Isaiah 61:1-3 detailed:
“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is on Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of our God’s vengeance; to comfort all who mourn, to provide for those who mourn in Zion; to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, festive oil instead of mourning, and splendid clothes instead of despair. And they will be called righteous trees, planted by the LORD to glorify Him.”
But that was not to be the message of Jeremiah. He was called of God to proclaim that judgment was imminent and the people of God should give up.
In the same way, we don’t get to choose what God wants us to say. We are called to share God’s message as well. It is also a message of judgment. But the judgment of God fell on His only begotten son, Jesus Christ. We are called to share with those we know and love that we too are deserving of judgment because we sinned, but God took that judgment upon Himself on the Cross. And we must ask, what will you do with Jesus? I like to talk about how wonderful God’s love is. I like to share all the good things He does for me. I like to let them know that there is a wonderful Heaven that we can go to if we will but trust Him. But if there is a Heaven to gain, there is a hell to avoid. If there is a loving God, He must also be just. If life can be good, it can also be hard. Once again, Job asked, “Should we accept only good from God and not adversity?” (Job 2:10). When we speak, we speak the whole message of God. Not only do we share how much God loves, but also the consequences of sin. That is what makes the Gospel so powerful: we messed up; God took our judgment; but only to those who believe. That is why we share that message, to get people in touch with their evil so they may experience God’s forgiveness if they repent and believe.
3. God Has a Way He Wants You to Live (Jeremiah 2:1-12)
God’s specific message began with a longing for who Israel was when they first followed Him, “I remember…” (v. 2). God declared that Israel was, “the firstfruits of His (the LORD’s) harvest” (v. 3). Then the Lord asked the question, “This is what the LORD says: What fault did your fathers find in Me that they went so far from Me, followed worthless idols, and became worthless themselves?” (v. 5). God had remained faithful, but the people were spiritual adulterers as they worshiped worthless idols. You see, they became what they worshiped. The worship of worthless idols directly affected the outcome of their lives. God had such great plans for them, but their lives became worthless.
God calls those who follow Him to worship Him as well. Jesus told the woman at the well that, “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). It has been said that worship is not something we do on Sundays, but how we live daily. It is our everyday lives that demonstrate to a watching world what we really worship. We want them to see Jesus in us. Every. Single. Day.