ONLY A YOUTH
I am With You
Jeremiah was only a boy when God called him during the reign of King Josiah. He belonged to a priestly family, and as a boy, he would have learned about his vocation as he traveled to the temple and observed the worship of the people. He was witness to the reformation that King Josiah brought about during his reign. The duties of the priests were fresh on the minds of the people due to Josiah's reformation. Jeremiah's prophetic ministry extended through five kings and well beyond the fall of Jerusalem. God called Jeremiah in an intimate and personal way. The sovereign Creator of the universe had known Jeremiah before he was formed in the womb. Jeremiah was no accident, and God had set him apart for his work as a prophet before he was ever born. Jeremiah was appointed to be a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah responds emotionally and exclaims that he is only a youth and does not know how to speak. Jeremiah was aware of his unworthiness, and he recognized that his age would be a barrier because some would not accept his authority due to his age. The Lord tells Jeremiah not to focus on his age, but to understand his royal commission. God would give Jeremiah the location, the people, and the message to speak. Jeremiah need not fear, for God was with him, and he would deliver him. The Lord touched Jeremiah's mouth and explained to him that he had given him his own words, the very words of God. God gave Jeremiah authority to prophesy, and the exercise of his office would include both constructive and destructive words.
What Do You See?
The Lord came to Jeremiah in visions and asked him what he could see. On one occasion, he saw an almond branch which the Lord confirmed and then explained that he would watch over his word until its fulfillment. In another vision, Jeremiah saw a boiling pot that was facing away from the north, indicating that disaster would soon be let loose. Soon enemy forces would invade, bringing destruction upon the people of Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. If a throne was set up at a city gate, it meant that the city had been conquered. God is just, and because his people had forsaken him, they would suffer the consequences of their sin. The people had been unfaithful to God and given themselves to the worship of idols. God instructs Jeremiah to prepare to work hard and obey his commands. Jeremiah was not to be afraid so that his ministry would not collapse because of his fears. God formed and called this prophet. He would strengthen him to fulfill his calling. To those who would oppose him, he would seem strong like a fortified city, an iron pillar, and a bronze wall. He would be resisted by the whole land including kings, officials, and priests. These would fight against Jeremiah, but they would not be victorious because the God who made him would be with him and deliver him.
Things To Consider:
- How does God primarily speak to us today?
- What does the call of Jeremiah teach us about God's plans?
- Why would this be a difficult time to be a prophet of the Lord?
- What does this passage teach us about God's relationship to the unborn?
- How does God equip us?
- Why is age sometimes a factor in leadership?
- How do we receive God's word today?
- What confidence does God offer about his word?
- Why should we work hard?
- Why is perseverance so necessary for Jeremiah?
- How does God deliver us?