Responding to God’s Call

KEY VERSE: “The word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.’” —Jeremiah 1:4,5, New International Version


JEREMIAH WAS BORN into a religious family—the priests of the city of Anathoth. He was probably descended from Ithamar, the youngest son of Aaron, and Abiathar, who served David as priest, but was banished by Solomon to Anathoth. Nevertheless, Jeremiah’s birth was special and unusual, and was intended to prefigure the selection of a people for God’s name.—Acts 15:14

The sins of Judah in idolatry had reached their peak. In spite of two reformations in recent years, the first by Hezekiah, and the second by Josiah, idolatry persisted and Jeremiah was called to deliver messages of doom and captivity to the nation. He performed his duties faithfully and undauntingly. For doing so he was branded a traitor, imprisoned, and placed in a cistern to die by King Zedekiah’s officials. He was rescued by a eunuch of the king’s court later. Everything Jeremiah prophesied was fulfilled.

When Jeremiah was chosen by God as a prophet, he replied that he was ‘only a child’, and could not speak. His appointment was accompanied by several outward demonstrations. First, the Lord said: “Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.” (Jer. 1:7) The Lord put forth his hand and touched his mouth, saying, “Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.”—Jer. 1:9

Then two visions were given to Jeremiah. The first was the rod of an almond tree. The second was that of a seething pot, tilted toward the north. The rod of the almond tree reminds us of Korah’s rebellion recorded in Numbers 16th and 17th chapters. Korah, who was of the tribe of Levi, believed that Moses and Aaron had taken too much authority over the people of Israel, and that Korah and others were just as capable of leading Israel as were Moses and Aaron. Korah incited the people against Moses and Aaron, causing God to open up the earth to swallow them all. Then each head of a tribe was instructed to take a rod for his tribe and to put his name on the rod. These rods were placed in the Tabernacle overnight; only Aaron’s rod budded with the buds of the almond tree. The rod that budded indicated God’s selection of Aaron to be High Priest of Israel.

Jeremiah also saw a seething pot, which indicated the destructive forces that would be unleashed against Judah in accordance with the prophecies Jeremiah was to pronounce against that nation. Just as Jeremiah was called to be God’s spokesman, so also God is calling out of this world a class to be footstep followers of Jesus. In the words of Peter, “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, …; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you … into his marvelous light.”—I Pet. 2:9

What a great privilege is ours to be called as Jeremiah was called! Our message also is not popular, because it tells of the destruction of the present social order upon earth to make way for God’s kingdom. It is a message based upon the Lord’s Word—a message that has been placed in our mouths by the Lord.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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