Jeremiah’s Call and First Visions (Day 1)

Read Jeremiah 1:1-19
   After King Solomon’s death, the united kingdom of Israel had split into rival northern and southern kingdoms. The northern kingdom, called Israel; the southern kingdom, Judah. Jeremiah was from Anathoth, four miles north of Jerusalem in the southern kingdom. He lived and prophesied during the reigns of the last five kings of Judah. This was a chaotic time politically, morally, and spiritually. As Babylon, Egypt, and Assyria battled for world supremacy, Judah found itself caught in the middle of the triangle. Although Jeremiah prophesied for 40 years, he never saw his people heed his words and turn from their sins. 
   Jeremiah was appointed by God as spokesman to the world. God has a purpose for each Christian, but some people are appointed by God for specific kinds of work. Samson (Judges 13), David (1 Samuel 16), John the Baptist (Luke 1), and Paul (Galatians 1) were also called to do particular jobs for God. Whatever work you do should be done for the glory of God (Philippians 1). If God gives you a specific task, accept it cheerfully and do it with diligence. If God has not given you a specific call or assignment, then seek to fulfill the mission common to all believers: to love, obey, and serve God until His guidance becomes more clear. 
   God knew you, as He knew Jeremiah, long before you were born or even conceived. He thought bout you and planned for you. When you feel discouraged or inadequate, remember that God has always thought of you as valuable and that He has a purpose in mind for you. 
   God promised to be with Jeremiah and take care of him, but not to keep trouble from coming. God did not insulate him from jailings, deportation, or insults. God does not keep us from encountering life’s storms, but He will see us through them. In fact, God walks through these storms with us and rescues us. 
   Often people struggle with new challenges because they lack self-confidence, feeling that they have inadequate ability, training, or experience. Jeremiah thought he was too young and inexperienced to be God’s spokesman to the world. But God promised to be with him. We should not allow feelings of inadequacy to keep us from obeying God. He will always be with us. If God gives you a job to do, He will provide all you need to do it. 
   God appointed Jeremiah to bring His word to nations and kingdoms. Jeremiah’s work was to warn not only the Jews but all the nations of the world about God’s judgment for sin. Don’t forget in reading the Old Testament that, while God was consistently working through the people of Judah and Israel, His plan was to communicate to every nation and person. We are included in Jeremiah’s message of judgement and hope, and as believers we are to share God’s desire to reach the whole world for Him. 
   The vision of the branch of an almond tree revealed the beginning of God’s judgment because the almond tree is among the first to blossom in the spring. God saw the sins of Judah and the nations, and He would carry out swift and certain judgment. The boiling pot tipping from the north and spilling over Judah pictured Babylon delivering God’s scalding judgment against Jeremiah’s people. 
   The people of Judah sinned greatly by continuing to worship other gods. God had commanded them specifically against this (Exodus 20) because idolatry places trust in created things rather than the Creator. Although these people belonged to God, they chose to follow false gods. Many gods entice us to turn away from God. Material possessions, dreams for the future, approval of others, and vocational goals compete for our total commitment. Striving after these at the expense of our commitment to God puts our heart where Judah’s was; and God severely punished Judah. 
   The problems we face may not seem as ominous as Jeremiah’s, but they are critical to us and may overwhelm us. God’s promise to Jeremiah and to us is that nothing will defeat us completely; He will help us through the most agonizing problems. Face each day with the assurance that God will be with you and see you through.