Jeremiah undoubtedly felt inadequate as he faced tremendous hardships while he proclaimed God’s messages. He saw God as a true fountain of living waters (Jeremiah 2:13). God’s word was revealed directly sometimes and at other times the Holy Spirit touched Jeremiah in dreams and visions for common people and for kings and others in authority.
How was Jeremiah called to become a prophet? God’s word revealed His knowledge and appointment of Jeremiah before his birth (Jeremiah 1:5)! For more than 40 years of warnings, the people of Judah did not listen to his messages from the Lord. Despite so much opposition, Jeremiah remained faithful to God. Jeremiah 1:18 tells us that he stood as a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall not in his own strength, but in the support from God. His life could not have included much happiness because his calling brought him extreme suffering and rejection. Could some of his problems have originated from the people he sought to help? As a prophet, he worked as a determined protector of God’s laws.
What were some of the main ideas in his messages? In what ways do these messages help us today? Changes may not be easy at any time when people get accustomed to doing evil. The messages of Jeremiah were to let people see how bad their evil was and what the consequences were of not turning away from evil doings! This was God’s message through the prophet Jeremiah. Great responsibility was assigned to Jeremiah to have been truthful even though he might have feared for his life. Without obedience to God, His judgment could have been noticed by others. From the Bible we learn that all calls from God must be taken seriously. Let us rejoice for prophetic warnings that still speak to us today. The question now, is the same: Will we listen?
Does age matter when God calls us to a ministry? Jeremiah’s calling happened about 627 BC. We do not know the exact year of his birth or age when he began his ministry. In his message, he identified himself as a child too young for the task assigned to him. In the first chapter, verses four and five, we read words of assurances and comfort. Jeremiah was set apart for a holy purpose. God knows the beginning and the end of our lives. His words can comfort us in the trials that we must face.
Even though Jeremiah was assured by God for his prophetic tasks, he was humanly frightened and did not feel prepared. As his first response, Jeremiah immediately announced his inability to speak well and would have had difficulty communicating with others. Unlike today, where a website or text message will solve such problems, but in Jeremiah’s time everything was different. Can we imagine Jeremiah standing face-to-face before hostile leaders or unruly people as he gave words of rebuke and warnings?
What was God’s response to Jeremiah? Do we see hope and promise for today’s callings? Jeremiah was called to give God’s words to the people of Judah and to their leaders. The prophet was called to point people to God as the solution to their problems. God empowered Jeremiah to meet challenges. It is no different for us today. God’s words were not just for other people, but were also for Jeremiah and for us today. Let us continue to open our hearts and minds to Him!
Mrs. Gladys R. McElmore, a resident of Norfolk’s Middle Town Arch Community, is a New Journal and Guide Freelance Contributor on religion. She is a native of Essex County, Va.