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The Call of Jeremiah

INTRODUCTION: Jeremiah served as a prophet for the Lord to Judah for over 40 years during the reigns of the last five kings of Judah. He wrote the 52 chapters of Jeremiah and the five chapters of Lamentations. He was attacked by his own people, even to the extent of being imprisoned and cast into a dungeon, because he prophesied that judgment was coming on Judah. He wrote with great emotion and is known as the weeping prophet.

In this chapter, we see the call of Jeremiah and two initial visions from the Lord. The Lord informed Jeremiah that he had been chosen for this work, not only before he was born, but before he was conceived in the womb. Jeremiah complained that he was just a child and, therefore, too young to do such a great work. The Lord declared that His calling was sufficient for the task at hand. Jeremiah was to go forth with courage and proclaim the word of the Lord. The Lord would be with him.

  1. INTRODUCTION TO THE MAN (Jeremiah 1:1-3)
    1. His Circumstances (Jeremiah 1:1)
      1. He was the son of Hilkiah.
      2. He was of the priests (compare Ezekiel 1:3).
      3. He was from Anathoth in the land of Benjamin.
        1. Given to the Levites out of Benjamin (Joshua 21:8, 17-18)
        2. The home of Abiathar the priest (1 Kings 2:26)
        3. The men of Anathoth turned against Jeremiah (Jeremiah 11:21-23).
        4. Jeremiah told to buy a field in Anathoth (Jeremiah 32:6-9)
        5. Men of Anathoth returned to Judah from Babylon with Zerubbabel (Ezra 2:23).
    2. His Time (Jeremiah 1:2-3)
      1. Beginning in the 13th year of the reign of Josiah (Jeremiah 1:2)
      2. Through the days of Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 1:3)
      3. To the 11th year of Zedekiah the last year of his reign (Jeremiah 1:3)
      4. To the carrying away into captivity (Jeremiah 1:3)
        1. Into Babylon
        2. In the fifth month
  2. THE CALL OF THE LORD (Jeremiah 1:4-10)
    1. Gods Foresight (Jeremiah 1:4-5)
      1. The coming of the word of the Lord (Jeremiah 1:4)
      2. Known by God before he was conceived (Jeremiah 1:5)
      3. Chosen to be a prophet before he was born (Jeremiah 1:5)
        1. Sanctified by the Lord; that is, set apart by God for this special work
        2. Ordained to be a prophet to the nations
      4. Lessons from this verse:
        1. God knows who we will be before we are formed in the womb. He knows all things, even into the future.
        2. An unborn baby is already a real person in the eyes of the Lord.
        3. God has plans for our lives before we are born.
    2. Jeremiahs Excuse (Jeremiah 1:6-7)
      1. Jeremiah speaks (Jeremiah 1:6).
        1. I cannot speak.
        2. I am but a child.
        3. Note: this does not mean that he was only a few years old. He could have said this of himself when he was a young man. Solomon spoke of himself in the same way when he became king (1 Kings 3:6-7).
      2. The Lord speaks (Jeremiah 1:7).
        1. Do not excuse yourself as being a child.
        2. Note: there are many things that a child can do for the Lord. How many can you name? See 2 Kings 5:1-3 for one example.
        3. Your authority is based on the call and sending of the Lord.
          1. To do all that you are sent to do
          2. To speak the words God commands you to speak
    3. Gods Purpose (Jeremiah 1:8-10)
      1. Be not afraid of their faces (Jeremiah 1:8).
      2. I am with you to deliver you (Jeremiah 1:8).
      3. I have put my words in your mouth (Jeremiah 1:9).
        1. God put forth His hand.
        2. God touched his mouth.
      4. I have set you over nations and kingdoms (Jeremiah 1:10); notice the four destructive acts followed by two constructive acts.
        1. To root out
        2. To pull down
        3. To destroy
        4. To throw down
        5. To build
        6. To plant
  3. THE VISION OF THE ALMOND TREE (Jeremiah 1:11-12)
    1. The Rod of the Almond Tree (Jeremiah 1:11)
      1. The almond is the first tree to bloom in the spring. It has beautiful blossoms similar to that of a peach tree.
      2. The fruit of the almond is of two types, sweet nuts and bitter nuts. It yields its fruit about ten weeks after the blossoms.
      3. In its first biblical usage, Genesis 43:11, almonds are among the best of the fruits.
      4. Note: The Lord did not ask Jeremiah what he saw because the Lord didnt know, but because He needed Jeremiah to acknowledge what he saw.
    2. The Meaning of the Vision (Jeremiah 1:12)
      1. A confirmation of Jeremiahs call
        1. As the first of the fruits, it demonstrated that God could and would use the young for His service.
        2. The vision of the rod of the almond points back to the story of Numbers 17:1-10.
          1. The rod of the almond that belonged to Aaron (Numbers 17:8) budded, blossomed, and yielded fruit overnight. This was a proof of his choice by God to be the high priest.
          2. Jeremiah, as a priest (Jeremiah 1:1), was a descendant of Aaron, yet he doubted the call of God on his life. God gave him the vision of the almond rod to confirm the fact of Gods call on his life.
      2. An indication of Jeremiahs message of swiftly coming judgment
        1. The early coming of the almond blossoms points to the soon coming of something.
        2. The almond tree pictures Gods speedy execution of His will after a time of quiet and seeming inactivity (Habakkuk 2:3).
        3. This is further supported by the Lords statement about the vision of the almond rod: for I will hasten my word to perform it (Jeremiah 1:12).
        4. The next vision declares the word of the Lord as a word of coming judgment.
  4. THE VISION OF THE SEETHING POT (Jeremiah 1:13-19)
    1. The North-Pointed Seething Pot (Jeremiah 1:13)
      1. The seething pot
        1. To seethe means to boil; often to cook by boiling (Exodus 34:26).
        2. Generally speaking, seething is a stronger word than boiling and it means to boil until the pot is boiling violently (Ezekiel 24:5; Job 41:20). For this reason, people who are highly angry and agitated are sometimes said to be seething.
        3. The seething pot would be the pot used for boiling (2 Kings 4:38).
      2. The face toward the north Bible students disagree here. Perhaps the best and easiest explanation is that the pot is set on grates so that it leans a bit toward the north. That way, when it boils over, it will spew out on the north side of the pot. By interpretation, the attacks on Judah will come from the north.
    2. The Evil from the North (Jeremiah 1:14-15)
      1. The evil will break forth (Jeremiah 1:14).
        1. Out of the north
        2. On all the inhabitants of the land
      2. The kingdoms of the north (Jeremiah 1:15)
        1. Called by the Lord
        2. Will come into the land
        3. Will make war against the land
          1. At the gates of Jerusalem
          2. Against the walls of Jerusalem [this will happen in Jeremiahs lifetime]
          3. Against all the cities of Judah
    3. Gods Judgment Against the Wicked (Jeremiah 1:16)
      1. They have forsaken the Lord.
      2. They have burned incense to other gods.
      3. They have worshipped the works of their own hands.
    4. Gods Hand on Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:17-19)
      1. Gods charge to Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:17)
        1. Gird up your loins, and arise.
        2. Speak all that I command you.
        3. Be not dismayed at their faces.
          1. Lest I confound you
          2. Before them
      2. Gods empowerment of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:18)
        1. A defended city
        2. An iron pillar
        3. As brazen walls
      3. Gods promise to Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:19)
        1. The people shall fight against Jeremiah.
        2. To be with Jeremiah; to deliver Jeremiah

CONCLUSION: Just as God used Jeremiah while he was a young man, so the Lord will use young people and children today. He knows them before they are born and has a plan for their lives if they will surrender to Him. Would you be willing to follow Him?