Wednesday, June 26, 2019

God and Our Call (Lessons from Jeremiah)

Often when we come to the scriptures, our first question is how does this apply to us?  I am learning more and more that my first question needs to be what does this passage tell me about God.  It is only when I have a right view of God that I can then have a right view of myself.  We see this in the Jeremiah's call in the first chapter of Jeremiah.

Jeremiah, son of Hilkiah is from a priestly family living in the land of Benjamin.  God calls him at a young age to be his prophet to the nations.  God promises to give him the words to speak and that He will equip him.  It will not be an easy task but God will be with him.  As you read through the rest of Jeremiah, you see that Jeremiah had a hard ministry.  The people did not listen to his message. He was arrested and lived in harsh conditions.  At times, there seemed no hope, and Jeremiah despaired.  BUT God was faithful just as He said he would be.

Looking at Jeremiah's call, there are three things that we can learn about God.


1. God's vision is for all nations.

Even though the main message would be to Israel and Judah, Jeremiah had a message for all nations.  For some it was word of judgement.  For others, it was a call to turn from their ways.  God wants all to come to Him.  There are no exceptions.  Jeremiah came to share this vision.  In the books of Jeremiah and Lamentations, we see him weeping for his people as well as others who would not listen.

This vision for all nation is not new.  In Genesis, God tells Abraham through him all the families of the earth will be blessed. (Gen 12:3)  In the NT, Jesus in his two commissions repeats God's vision.  In Matt 28:18-19, Jesus commands the 12 to go make disciples of all nations.  Then in Acts 1:8, He tells them to be HIs witnesses starting in Jerusalem and eventually going to the ends of the earth.  Because it is God's vision, it will be completed as we see in Revelation.   John in his vision sees "a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and people and tongues" worshiping God in heaven.  (Rev 7:9-10)  What a beautiful picture.

God wants me to share in his vision.  Do I?  Do I have a heart for all people?  Even those who are different than me? For some, this vision will affect where they live?  God has called them to bring his message to a country that is not their own.  For others, the vision will bring them to their knees in prayer as they read the news and hear about those in far away places.  For both, God has called them to be faithful where he has planted them.  He wants them to engage and live as a child of His bringing hope to a world that is full of fear and loneliness.  

2. God Promises to be with Those He Calls

God doesn't just ask us to do something and then leave us hanging.  Jeremiah had a hard job ahead of him but God promised that He would be with him.  

"Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you," declares the Lord.  (Jer. 1:8)
Then again in verse 19, he repeats these same words again. Throughout the book of Jeremiah, we see that God is with Jeremiah.  How else could a prophet be so bold to preach a message that no one wanted to hear.  How else could a man endure being put in a cistern with hardly any food.  

We see God's presence in Jeremiah's life but also his hand.  For example, He uses Ebed-melech in Jeremiah 38 to help deliver Jeremiah out of the cistern.  Later God uses even the Babylonian king and his commander to protect and provide for Jeremiah in Jeremiah 39,40.  Through the good and the bad, God is with Jeremiah.  

We see this same promise to the 12 in Matt 28:20.  Jesus proclaims that he will be with them always even to the very end.  

Knowing God is with us changes things.  God with us means we need not fear.  God with us means we are not alone.  God with us gives us the strength to step out and do what He has called us to do.


3. God Equips Those He Calls

This is similar to point number two.  God was not only with Jeremiah, he equips him to do the job.  In Jeremiah 1:9, God tells Jeremiah that He has put His words in Jeremiah's mouth.  In verse 19 of the same chapter, God says,
"Now behold, I have made you today as a fortified city and as a pillar of iron and as walls of bronze against the whole land, to the kings of Judah, to its princes, to its priests, and to the people of the land. 
Throughout his life, God gives Jeremiah the words to say and ability to say them well.  He gives Jeremiah the strength to do the hard things to the very end.  

In the same way, God still equips us today.  In Acts 1:8, he promises his Spirit which comes to all believers at Pentecost.   Throughout the NT, we are reminded that God will give us the words to say when we need them.  

Do you believe that God equips you?  I do.  If someone told me a few years ago that I would be teaching little ones and actually enjoying it, I would have thought they were crazy.  In this season, I see God equipping me to do a task that I was not initially trained for.  I am amazed everyday as I see these little ones actually learning.  I am humbled each day as God guides me to the right resources or gives me ideas that will helps me do a better job at guiding these precious ones.  

What is God calling you to do?  How do you see that God is with you and equipping you?  I would love to hear your story. 

Blessings, 
TJ




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