The Call, part one

I’m moving into a study of the book of Jeremiah and already there are some major things about this book that have really jumped out at me. So we’re going to just jump right in!

Early on in the book, Jeremiah hears directly from the Lord. God tells him that he’s going to be a prophet, and Jeremiah has a few concerns about this.

Jeremiah 1:6 Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.”

As I studied this I found it difficult to pin down Jeremiah’s exact age. Some people seemed to say it was around the age of 20, which when you consider the heavy call of being a prophet and delivering the Lord’s messages to the nations, yeah, that’s pretty young! Some weathered, wise and respected old guy coming and delivering a message holds a certain level of weight, but some fresh-faced young guy is going to have a tougher time being taken seriously.

I love how God responds to Jeremiah’s concerns.

Jeremiah 1:7-10 But the Lord said to me,

Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’;
for to all to whom I send you, you shall go,
and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
8 Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
declares the Lord.”

9 Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me,

Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.
10 See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms,
to pluck up and to break down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant.”

God didn’t just have words of encouragement, He actually reached out and touched Jeremiah and put the words in his mouth. That’s crazy! It’s also a great way to put to rest Jeremiah’s concerns.

Now, God starts to clue Jeremiah in on what he’s actually going to be doing, and it isn’t pretty work. He’s going to go and tell the nation that God’s bringing disaster upon them. Add on this sort of ominous warning and I’d think if it was me I’d be feeling pretty nervous!

Jeremiah 1:17 But you, dress yourself for work; arise, and say to them everything that I command you. Do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them.

Here’s that same verse in the Amplified Bible.

Jeremiah 1:17 (AMP) “But you [Jeremiah], gird up your loins [in preparation]! Get up and tell them all which I command you. Do not be distraught and break down at the sight of their [hostile] faces, or I will bewilder you before them and allow you to be overcome.

So, at this point, God’s called a young guy who’s not at all confident about being a prophet to be a prophet, and then He’s also given him a pretty big task, which is to deliver some heavy messages of impending doom to people who aren’t going to take it well. And then God gives him a bit of a warning here, telling him that if he falters and breaks down in front of these people God’s gonna allow them to overtake him. When I first read that I thought it was just a tiny bit mean, to be honest with you. But then I kept reading, and look at what God says next.

Jeremiah 1:18-19 And I, behold, I make you this day a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls, against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests, and the people of the land. 19 They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, declares the Lord, to deliver you.”

So there’s the motivation not to break in front of these people, to not let them get you down. God tells Jeremiah that He’s made him into a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls. And He also tells him that God’s on your side, so they will not prevail against you.

I’m so moved by this because it’s an example of one of my favorite truths in the Bible. God will never, never ever, call you to do something and not equip you for success. His tasks or missions or calls in your life might sound insane, and you can probably come up with a whole list full of reasons why you’re not the right person for the job. God says different, and He loves using unqualified people, because it gives Him maximum glory. He’ll use shy people for public speaking, weak people to wage war, young people to challenge the established ways.

I just feel moved to speak something over anyone reading this who maybe has a call on their life that they feel ill-equipped to handle. Maybe it’s as simple as being called to be patient in a situation when you want to sprint, or maybe it’s as large as being called to give up something dear to you and move to something new. Could be something else entirely, but for all of you I say this, if God gave the mission, if He made the call, then He’s also given exactly what you need to carry it out. And just as He was with Jeremiah, He is with you, and anything that comes against you and between you and your mission will not prevail.

God’s displayed this in my own life time and time again. He took a guy who was so introverted and closed off that he despised leaving his house and has time and again set me before people. He’s turned me into a worship leader, had me preach a sermon, has now moved me into the role of a teacher. The guy who ignored the Bible for 98% of his life is now teaching a class that delves deep into the Bible. The guy who was in a hospital 8 months ago and could barely get around with a walker has been called into the wilderness, hiking and exploring, about to go hike up a mountain. He’s taken me from fearful to fearless, He’s done so much more.

You can succeed in your mission. You will succeed in your mission. When you feel as if you lack what it takes, tell God, and open yourself up to receiving that very thing you lack. He will give you patience, and strength, and confidence. He will make you a fortified city, and He will be with you.

PRAYER AND CLOSING

Father God, thank you so much for the call you put on our lives.  It’s not always what we would’ve chosen for ourselves, but your ways are perfect, so I know that wherever and whatever you’re calling us to is the exact perfect thing for us.  Sometimes it’s uncomfortable or scary, so I thank you for reminders like the one here in the book of Jeremiah.  If you’re calling us to it, you’re equipping us to do it.  Thank you that you equip us for total victory, Lord.  On the days when we falter or hesitate, remind us of just how unstoppable we are when we’re living in your will.  In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

I love you guys.  Sorry this one’s going up so late, ended up having a full and wonderful day.  I hope your week’s are off to a great start.  Look for chances to share God’s love this week, I feel like He’s really wanting to put people in our path this week that we can encourage.

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