Isaiah wrote about the Suffering Servant. Jeremiah modeled that Servant in the tribulations that he faced throughout his ministry. He was chosen by God for this task from before his birth. A descendant of “one of the priests,” Jeremiah served as a prophet during the days of the last kings of Judah and into the captivity of Jerusalem about which Isaiah had warned.
Jeremiah was conscious of his call by God as a young man, yet God consecrated him for service long before that moment, “in the womb.” He was to be not only a prophet for his own people, but God sent him as a prophet to the nations as well.
This famous prophet was reluctant to take on the charge God gave him. Like Moses before him, he keenly felt his inadequacy. He was a young man, and he considered his speaking skills as severely lacking. There are other gifts that are more essential than oratorical flare for an ambassador of the Lord to do his job well. One of the most important of these is courage. God promised that He would supply all that was necessary.
Jeremiah was a human being. He certainly was a sinner. How could a mere man speak for God? How could he stand up to powerful kings and speak a message of judgment that they did not want to hear? How could he convict others of sin when he himself was lacking sinless perfection? The Almighty touched the prophet’s mouth as a symbol of His perfect provision.
The Lord gave Jeremiah two visions at the inception of his many years of service. The first contained a play on words in the Hebrew language since the words for “almond” and “watching” sound very similar. Jeremiah saw an almond branch. What was the point of this vision? God was “watching” over His Word “to perform it.”
Not all of God’s promises for Israel were happy. The second vision of Jeremiah was a boiling pot coming from the north. God would send His judgment upon Jerusalem and Judah in the form of an invasion from a far-off land. The Lord’s people had made offerings to other gods. They had forsaken their God. Jeremiah needed to go where God would send him and to say everything that God told him to say. He would face great opposition, but God would be with him. Those who would stand against Jeremiah would not prevail over him.
When Jesus asked His disciples who people thought He was, one of the answers that they gave was Jeremiah. Jesus came with a difficult message from God, and He had a courage that was astounding. Not only was God with Him, He was God with us. He did more than announce trouble coming from the north. He took the burning cauldron of God’s just wrath against sin and faced the agony of the cross for our deliverance. No mere prophet could ever have accomplished this.
Jesus spoke a sure Word, but He Himself came as the Word of God made flesh. On this solid rock we stand, despite any opposition arrayed against us. God is with us forever, and He will deliver us from every danger.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Lord God, You sent Your prophets with Your Word to speak to Your people. You care for us, for You knit us together in the womb, and have accomplished great things for us at a very high cost to our Redeemer. You have put Your words in the mouths of prophets for our sake. You watch over Your Word to perform it. You have spoken words of disaster in warning, words of judgment against our evil, and words of comfort for the day of deliverance. You have been with Your holy prophet Jesus, for the fulfillment of every prophetic word.