Are you and I Related to Jeremiah? Chapter 1
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Accepting God’s Personal Assignment
By Giving Him Controls of Your Life
Jeremiah 1: 4-15a, 17-19 (NKJV)
By Billie Buckley
Are you and I related to Jeremiah? If your answer is a resounding “yes”, we may be kin. Is there anybody unable to cope today? Ever wanted to grab the controls of your life (if you could find them) and rewind your triumphs; pause in your happiness; erase your struggles; or just push the off button?
Surely we have. All have struggled to stand in troubled times, even as Jeremiah did throughout the captivity of Israel. For around 40 years he watched with the sad, seeing heart of a prophet as people disregarded God’s warnings. In this book of messages, with no chronological order, we are shown God judging with a sorrowful, weeping heart.
In the public’s eye Jeremiah was fearless; by himself, alone in God’s presence, he met discouragement and resentment. Did I hear you whisper, “Me, too.”
Following him through the captivity of the Southern Kingdom of Israel, among the survivors in Judah and those who fled to Egypt, we hear God saying, “Come back to me. Give me the controls of your life.” We need, as Jeremiah did, to be reminded of our assignment, our equipment, our confirmation, and our assurance.
Let’s “Pause” in remembering our divine assignments. (Vv. 4-5) God’s assignment for Jeremiah was clear. It was based on God’s knowing and choosing him to be one with a troubling assignment. The message and the messenger became one after hearing God’s word. It seems to me, “one” must be God’s favorite number. Remember Jesus’ prayer in John, “I pray they may become one, even as we are one.”
Jeremiah had been chosen before time began for his special assignment. . Yet, this in no way lessened his personal freedom of action. Likewise, God chose Israel for a special assignment. She abandoned her assignment by choosing not to destroy old wells before digging new ones, thus leading to her downfall.
Let’s “Rewind” until we locate equipment for divine energy. (Vv.6-10) Amazing, but here we find the equipment located in none other than God Himself. God touched the prophet’s mouth with His words. Then in (Vv.7-9), compensating for Jeremiah’s honest feelings of insufficiency, He energized and equipped him with: His divine sending out; His divine speaking; His divine encouragement. God is still in the touching business. You know that touch, don’t you? Sure you do. It really is all about God.
Not only do we see Jeremiah, but also we see God’s character in (Vv. 8-10): all knowing, keeper of His word, wise builder eliminating corruption before new work begins. This truth fits troubled times of that day and our day. God’s divine energy is still available.
Let’s push the “Erase” button on everything but our recollection of the divine confirmation. (Vv.11-15b) As we erase all the excuses, we see clearly from Jeremiah, word pictures of God’s confirmation. The almond tree and the boiling pot are two symbols of what would be accomplished through Jeremiah’s ministry.
The Hebrew for the almond tree is the awakening tree, the first to awaken in spring. Here we find God confirming His alertness and activity in watching over His Word and His own. This is not a name-it-and-claim-it-mentality resulting in an insult to God. It is a confirmation coming from a love relationship of abiding and obeying as Jeremiah had.
The second confirmation was one of sorrow because Israel did not take God seriously. He would bring a boiling pot (Babylon) as a source of his judgment… judgment coming from God’s heart of sorrow.
Let’s push the “Play” button with assurance in God’s divine availability and not our ability. (Vv. 17-19) To play or put something in action, we have to obey verse 17: “Arise and tell them what I told you.” Stop your dreaming, planning, meditating. There comes a time when God blesses action. Here God is stabbing Jeremiah’s hesitation. Today if we hesitate maybe it is because we have lost our assurance in God’s assignment. God never sat in heaven and merely dreamed about having a relationship with his rebellious children. He left heaven and came to Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago. Was it difficult? Yes.
This study is about God and about Jeremiah becoming one with his assignment in troubled times. It is also about you and me and our oneness with God’s purpose for our lives through troubled times. To make this work, give Him the controls of your life.
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What a great article! Who am I to mess with what God has laid on your heart and what he has given to you to pen? Looking forward to more great articles by you!
Rich teaching! Your voice here is weightier than your news column voice, and really appropriate for the material. It's wonderful to see another dimension of your gift. As always, you employ great visuals: Pause, Rewind, Erase. This is meaty stuff! I love the almond tree nugget. Is this series to be published as a Bible study? I hope so! Cheering you on!
Interesting question! Yes, I have often thought about Jeremiah and what it would have been like to have been in his shoes. He did not have it easy, but what a blessing he is TODAY, if we will just LISTEN to what he is trying to tell us. Blessings, Sharon