Scripture: Jeremiah 1
The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the priests at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin. 2 The word of the Lord came to him in the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah, 3 and through the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, down to the fifth month of the eleventh year of Zedekiah son of Josiah king of Judah, when the people of Jerusalem went into exile.
The Call of Jeremiah
4 The word of the Lord came to me, saying,
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew[a] you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
6 “Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”
7 But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.
9 Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth. 10 See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”
11 The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you see, Jeremiah?”
“I see the branch of an almond tree,” I replied.
12 The Lord said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.”
13 The word of the Lord came to me again: “What do you see?”
“I see a pot that is boiling,” I answered. “It is tilting toward us from the north.”
14 The Lord said to me, “From the north disaster will be poured out on all who live in the land. 15 I am about to summon all the peoples of the northern kingdoms,” declares the Lord.
“Their kings will come and set up their thrones
in the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem;
they will come against all her surrounding walls
and against all the towns of Judah.
I will pronounce my judgments on my people
because of their wickedness in forsaking me,
in burning incense to other gods
and in worshiping what their hands have made.
17 “Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them. 18 Today I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand 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 will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.
Observation: God has just anointed Jeremiah as His prophet. And the news for the Isrealites is not good news. God is about to enter a time of judgement, the Jews are about to be attacked by the other kingdoms, and the other kingdoms will win. And this is all because of Isreal’s refusal to follow the Lord’s commands. I think this shows there is always consequences for sin, even for the chosen people of God. In this day, that means all of us. We may be under grace, but this does not mean we are exempt from consequences. But God promised Jeremiah protection, that he would not be harmed. For he would use Jeremiah to speak God’s truth and call for repentance, and reveal His plan of hope for them.
Application: to me, this story makes me think of the bondage we put ourselves in when we succumb to sin. We may not get defeated by northern kingdoms anymore, but don’t we become enslaved anyway? We miss the blessings of God so often because we are wrapped up in our own earthly desires. Sin has serious consequences, and living too close to the edge is a dangerous place to be. We need to daily keep focused on the Lord, on His word and in prayer.
Prayer: Lord, deliver me from where I may be still in bondage. Help me to make wise decisions, and keep me focused firmly on you. Help my eyes not wander and desire things not of you. Thank you for your grace, but thank you also for your consequences, as you grow us and prune us.
Lord, keep everyone safe today, as the roads are treacherous outside. Thank you for this day, another day of life. May we remember and recognize the blessings found in it today. In Jesus name, amen.