Introduction: After King Solomon’s death, the United Kingdom of Israel split into two parts – the Northern and Southern Kingdom. The Northern Kingdom was called Israel and the Southern Kingdom was called Judah. Jeremiah served as a prophet to Judah from 627 BC to 586 BC, that is up to the exile of Judah to Babylon. He was the last of the pre-exile prophets and prophesied for 40 years in Judah. He preached during a time when the country was deteriorating economically, socially and spiritually. People had moved away from God and Jeremiah was urging them to repent as he was deeply grieved over the spiritual condition of the people. He grieved so much that he was called the “weeping prophet”. He preached not only sin and judgement, but also hope and restoration. He was also called the “prophet of loneliness” as he was commanded not to marry (Jer 16:2). This command – not to marry was specific to him and is not for everybody.
The Calling: Jeremiah (according to most bible scholars) was called by God as a teenager at the age of 17 roundabouts. Normally, at this age, a teenager is on the threshold of life and is busy planning what career he wants to choose. He looks at life with an expectancy and usually has great dreams for his own future. Usually, a teenager at this point in his life may not think of serving God completely with his whole life. It was not an easy choice to make for his future.
Application: God has a call on each one of us even now, no matter what your age is. Most of you are teens and you need to know this. The Devil will whisper some lies in your ears saying:
“Enjoy life now in your youth and seek God when you are old. Youth is the best years of your life. You have your full strength, you have time on your hands, etc. When you are old, you may not be able to do much. That is the time to serve God.” But give your life to God now. He knows what is best for you.
Maybe, right now he just needs you to be a witness in your school or college and tell them about the love of God and how He died for each one of them. Remember this; God is not a killjoy. He will not take your life and make you miserable, He will not make you just pray the whole day or preach the whole day. That is not how God works. He may call you to those things later on, but right now, he is looking for young men and women whose hearts are tuned towards Him, so that He can bless you and use you wherever you are placed. You will never regret the decision to follow God, for His blessing on your life is worth more that silver and gold.
The Timing: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations” (Jer 1:5). It is interesting to know that before Jeremiah was even conceived in the womb God already knew he would be born and had already planned what He wanted for Jeremiah’s life. God is omniscient and knows all things. He is God who is the Creator of all life. He knew all about your birth and when you would be born. Before the earth and this world was formed, God already knew you and already chose you. Let this sink in! Eph 1:4 says: “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world..”
Application: Your birth is not a mistake; your birth is not by chance; your birth is by God’s sovereign choice. You were not an afterthought; you were carefully chosen from before the world was even made. The world is just material substance and will one day be gone (2 Peter 3:10). But you are made in God’s image (Gen 1:26-27) and will last forever. Think about this.
The Plan: In (Jer 29:11) God says: “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope” (NASB). In Ephesians He says: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Eph 2:10). God had a big plan for Jeremiah’s life, but He could do nothing unless Jeremiah responded and yielded himself to God’s plan.
Application: You may not realise it now, but the truth is that God has a specific plan for your life. No manufacturer invents a machine and then wonders what to do with it. Instead, he sees the need and then invents a suitable machine to meet that need. It’s awesome to think that we were not mass-created in a factory production line. But each one of you were chosen and fashioned and carefully crafted and knit together with the necessary skills and giftings that you would need to get a certain ministry / job done for the Lord! We have a choice: we can use our skills and giftings for our own use to make money in life, or we can give back to God what He has given us and let Him use us and our gifts for His higher purposes which will fetch us a reward for eternity. This life is not about money-making and earthly success. We are here to Know God, Love God and Serve God with all our hearts, minds and souls. God will not impose Himself into our lives, it is up to us to seek Him if we want to know the plans that He has for us. (See Jer 33:3).
The Ability: In (Jer 1:6), Jeremiah says: “Then I said, “Alas, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, Because I am a youth”. Jeremiah felt inadequate and unable to do such a mighty work of being a prophet to the nation. But God did not intend Jeremiah to do this job in his own strength. He intended to equip Jeremiah for the task. God is not looking for ability, but is looking for avail-ability. It is possible to feel inadequate as a young person because we do not have the necessary training or skills. Hence, in (1 Tim 4:12) Paul tells Timothy: “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.” God does not call the qualified; he qualifies the called. God will Himself equip you and train you for the task that He has called you. Because you have Christ in you, you will be able to do all things through Him, so do not fear (see Phil 4:13).
Application: To be a preacher/ prophet for God is the highest calling there is on earth. It may not pay as much as some earthly jobs such as doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc. This is not to say that these jobs are bad. They are good if God calls you to be one of these. For in these jobs, we can still be a witness for Christ. But to represent God Himself is the highest calling ever. For example, an ambassador of a country located in another country is paid highly because he represents the home country. He has to reflect his home country’s status through his own position and status in life. Hence, he is paid highly and given a lot of perks. But a preacher / teacher/ evangelist is a higher calling than any of these earthly callings because we represent God before men. We are not representing a mere earthly country, or a mere earthly status. We are representing the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. His Name is higher than any other name! It is this name and this mighty God that we are called to be ambassadors for (see 2 Cor 5:20).
The Fame: Jeremiah was not popular. He was rejected by his friends, family and people around. He grieved deeply for the people around him. He was arrested, beaten and put in prison. (see Jer 37:11-15; 37:16-21). Was Jeremiah successful? Depends how you measure success. God does not view success by popularity and achievement in this world. God looks upon the faithfulness and obedience of a man to His will, as a success. In God’s eyes, Jeremiah was a great success.
Application: If we choose to follow Jesus with all our hearts and minds and souls, we may not necessarily be popular among our friends nor “successful” in this world, but we will have God’s stamp of approval and God’s provision for your life here on earth as well as a reward in heaven. So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life” (Mk 10:29-31).