Inter-Community Church of God
January 31, 2021 Service
      • Psalm 111ESV

  • When God Calls: Jeremiah

    Today I am talking about another of my favorite prophets, Jeremiah son of Hilkiah. He’s one of my favorites because he is very human, very committed, and sometimes argues with God about his mission. Jeremiah served God for a long time, through the reigns of 3 of Judah’s kings, until and actually after Jerusalem was overrun and its people taken to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar.
    His father was a local priest in the small territory Benjamin. His family line is probably through Abiathar the High Priest, who was banished to Anathoth by Saul, and remained High Priest during the time of King David, maybe 300 years earlier. That’s almost like one of us tracing our family history to the time of the Plymouth Colony in the New World, or the earliest Spanish settlements in the American south.
    Most of the families only traveled to Jerusalem to sacrifice at the Temple that was built to hold the Ark of the Covenant on special holy days, usually three times during the year if they were able to travel.
    So priests were needed to teach about God and his Laws in the various towns, to receive some of the tithes of the land, receive the grain and oil and wine offerings, and to help families and butcher shops with how the blood was handled at a sacrifice.
    Really, a very everyday kind of priest, a Levite living in the town of Anathoth to serve the needs of the people in service to God.
    >>>These were interesting days, and in the first years of Jeremiah’s ministry as a prophet, the country had been fairly prosperous and completely ungodly. But Jeremiah was to be...

    God’s Man in A Difficult Time

    The opening biography for Jeremiah is pretty compact, but it does tell us a lot.
    Jeremiah 1:1–2 ESV
    1 The words of Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah, one of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, 2 to whom the word of the Lord came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign.
    This introduction was probably written by Jeremiah himself as he gathered his writings and prepared them for the people to carry with them into exile in Babylon.
    These lines are a testimony of his own timeline. He was the son of a priest in Anathoth, a few miles north of Jerusalem. His family always kept a connection to Jerusalem, but there was always a separation from the line of priests in Jerusalem because of Saul, the first King of Israel, banishing the priests he didn’t like.
    The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah while he was young, probably under 25 years old. He was likely born around 650 BC. That’s about 2600 years before I was born, by the way.
    He started his prophetic work by the call of God probably about 628 BC, in the 13th year of Josiah’s reign.
    Josiah was crowned king by dynastic succession at 8 years old. Now, 13 years later, King Josiah was 21 years old.
    So Jeremiah was pretty much a contemporary of King Josiah—in the same generation at least. It’s like I am one of the generation called “baby boomers” since so many of us were born in the decade after World War II.
    Jeremiah’s word came to address the sins of the people of Judah, even while Josiah was working to rebuild the Temple.
    >>>Jeremiah didn’t just preach about the troubles of Israel for Josiah. He also lists a couple other kings that ruled in Jerusalem what God’s word came to him.
    Jeremiah 1:3 ESV
    3 It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, and until the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah, the son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the captivity of Jerusalem in the fifth month.
    Jeremiah leaves two kings out of this list. Jehoahaz and Jehoiachin were each king for only 3 months after Josiah was killed in a battle which Jeremiah told the king not to lead.
    But after Jehoiakim and Zedekiah, there would be 70 years of exile in Babylon.
    >>> It was Jeremiah who was given the word that the exile would last 70 years, at a time when he was nearing his 70th birthday. But that’s later than the scope of today’s message. Jeremiah opens up with the story of what happened to him, as . . .

    God’s Word Comes to Jeremiah

    Jeremiah 1:4–5 ESV
    4 Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
    This is a statement from God that reminds us of what King David wrote in the Psalms:
    Psalm 139:13–16 ESV
    13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
    For Jeremiah, as he hears the call of God, he is assured that God knew him even before his was conceived: “Before I formed you in the womb.” and before his was born God had already set Jeremiah aside for a special purpose:
    “Appointed a prophet to the nations.”
    These words are both a confirmation of what Jeremiah is supposed to be, a prophet to the nations, and the assurance that this is God’s idea, not his own imagination.
    Jeremiah has little escape, if he were to be what God intended him to be. He was already God’s instrument before Jeremiah took his first breath.
    >>>So, Jeremiah was the son of a long line of priests in Anathoth, bur already a prophet when he was born, in God’s eyes.

    When God Calls-Will You Heed?

    Have you thought through, or better, prayed through what God wants your life to be? I was a Bicycle mechanic and owned a bicycle shop, but when I was old enough to get it, at 30 years old, God let me know that he saw me as preacher of the Gospel.
    Some have the experience of God’s call on their lives very young. Sometimes before they are ten, and often as they enter their teenage years.
    God’s call is not always to be a prophet or a preacher. It can be to be a teacher, a therapist, a physician, a politician, a policeman or a business manager or as a grocery shelf-stocker. Anything that is good work to do may be what God calls you to do.
    In God’s call, there is a difference between what God wants you to do and what God wants you to be.
    For everyone who is hearing my voice, I am certain that God is calling you to BE a person after his own heart, to BE open and available to his will, and to BE his own as a believer and a forgiven child of God through Jesus Christ.
    But then there is the question of what God wants us to do. This is about your vocation, literally, the work that you are called to do.
    In verse 5, God told Jeremiah that he was created to be his prophet and do the work of a prophet to speak to the nations.
    So Jeremiah, obviously in shock, replies to God,
    Jeremiah 1:6 ESV
    6 Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.”
    Now, when he tries to talk God out of using him as a prophet, Jeremiah comes up with two objections.
    First, he says he doesn’t know how to speak.
    He had not been trained as a preacher, he did not feel he had the words or the means to sound like he was making sense when he spoke.
    “Wait, God, I can’t stand up and talk to people. And besides, I’m too young to take on the job”
    There is his second objection. “I’m just a kid.”
    The Hebrew word here means “child” so Jeremiah is claiming he is not yet old enough for anyone to pay any attention to what he has to say.
    Jeremiah wasn’t saying “NO” but he was also not ready for what lay ahead. He would heed the call of God on his life, but first God had to prepare his heart.
    There is a lot of heart preparation we need if we will be effective tools of the Lord God in whatever work he calls us to do. But first, we need to know that this is God’s purpose for us.
    >>>That’s why, for Jeremiah, he had to focus on God’s design instead of his own objections. Here’s what the world of God said to Jeremiah as...

    God Promises to Be Jeremiah’s Help

    Jeremiah 1:7–8 ESV
    7 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.”

    The Lord Touches Jeremiah’s Mouth

    Jeremiah 1:9 ESV
    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.

    God’s Word Spoken is God’s Word Done

    Isaiah tells us the word of the Lord will not return void. This means that the word of the Lord by itself is powerful and effect for God’s purposes.
    God will accomplish the work, but he uses people as his conduit. So the Lord tells Jeremiah his purpose for the words that he puts in Jeremiah’s mouth:
    Jeremiah 1:10 ESV
    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 has designed Jeremiah for a purpose. God has determined the time for Jeremiah’s ministry. God has designated Jeremiah as the overseer of nations and kingdoms.

    Now It’s Jeremiah’s Turn

    Jeremiah 1:17 ESV
    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.

    God Makes Jeremiah More Than He Imagined

    Jeremiah 1:18 ESV
    18 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.

    The Most Important Promise

    Jeremiah 1:19 ESV
    19 They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, declares the Lord, to deliver you.”
    Like Jeremiah,

    Christians Are Called For A Purpose

    Matthew 28:18–20 ESV
    18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
      • Jeremiah 1:1–2CSB

      • Jeremiah 1:3CSB

      • Jeremiah 1:4–5CSB

      • Psalm 139:13–16CSB

      • Jeremiah 1:6CSB

      • Jeremiah 1:7–8CSB

      • Jeremiah 1:9CSB

      • Jeremiah 1:10CSB

      • Jeremiah 1:17CSB

      • Jeremiah 1:18CSB

      • Jeremiah 1:19CSB

      • Matthew 28:18–20CSB

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