Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
In our Old Testament reading for this week we find the prophet Jeremiah receiving his call from God. God’s call to Jeremiah is not unlike the way he appoints Jesus to care for the people of Israel, or the way he appoints pastors to care for their congregations. Let’s unpack just a few of the concepts.
First, God calls Jeremiah to be his spokesman. Jeremiah recognizes that he is thoroughly unprepared for the task. He is young, he doesn’t think he is particularly articulate, he is not ready. Surely there must be other people who would fit the bill better. I recognize this (except for the “young” part) in myself on a daily basis. I don’t have the wisdom and knowledge I wish I did. I am not the most articulate, the most persuasive, the most patient, or the most other-centered person out there. Why would the Lord use me? God’s response to Jeremiah is that he is the one appointed for the task and he is to stick with it. Really? Really. When the Lord calls us to do something, he knows what he is doing. We can trust him and follow his call.
Second, what is Jeremiah called to do? He is to lead the people of Jerusalem even though they are being opposed by many nations and kings. That certainly seems like overwhelming odds, and they are not in Jeremiah’s favor. One professor once put to me the odds against a pastor. We try to change people’s lives and values, giving them hope of eternity in a world that is perishing, and we normally have about 20 minutes a week to do it. This seems pretty much impossible. Yet I will ask the question which is implicit in the passage from Jeremiah. What is impossible for God? We are often brought into difficult and even seemingly impossible situations so as to show God’s glory. We couldn’t win the battle. When all is said and done, it is God who wins the battle, through His sovereign grace.
Finally, where is Jeremiah’s strength? God will make him a fortified tower, a pillar of strength, someone who will be able to withstand all the strengths of the enemy. It is not Jeremiah who is strong. It is God who is strong. May the Lord so do in our midst, giving us words, letting us stand for the truth, and making us suitable for the task.
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