Jeremiah was called by God to be a prophet during the time of the final five kings of Judah. “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). God called Jeremiah to be His prophet before God even formed him in the womb. God had already sanctified him. Sanctified means “to pronounce clean; consecrated (set apart) to God.” The word ordained means “putting forth a voice.” God had set Jeremiah apart to serve Him by speaking God’s Words to the nations (including us today).
However, like most people, Jeremiah’s initial response when God called him was that he was inadequate (see Jeremiah 1:6). If you think about it, most people feel quite inadequate when God calls upon them to do something for Him. But keep in mind that God also knew you before you were formed in the womb, and if God didn’t know you could do it, He wouldn’t have asked.
God responded to Jeremiah much as He would probably respond to anyone who thought they could not do what God called them to do. See what God said to Jeremiah: “7. But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. 8. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD. 9. Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth” (Jeremiah 1:7-9). God not only encouraged Jeremiah that he could do what God asked, but God put His words in Jeremiah’s mouth.
God told Jeremiah His plans. He was going to allow the enemy from the north to enter into Jerusalem because of the people’s continual wickedness and idolatry (see Jeremiah 1:15-16). Then God continued with amazing words of encouragement. “17. Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them. 18. For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land. 19. And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee” (Jeremiah 1:17-19). Did you see what God was going to do for Jeremiah? When Jeremiah spoke to the people, God would make him like a “defenced city”, “an iron pillar”, and “brasen walls” against the whole land. Jeremiah was not to be troubled by the people’s response to God’s Words – for God would strengthen Jeremiah to complete the task at hand. More importantly, the people would not prevail against (triumph or overcome) Jeremiah – because God was with him!
There were many good things happening in the land of Judah when God called Jeremiah. However, the days were not always good. Jeremiah spoke for over forty years. The final four kings of Judah were terrible times! God called Jeremiah during those final years of Judah’s existence. During those years, God’s people were conquered, carried from the land of promise into captivity, Jerusalem was destroyed, and the Temple burned. However, God never left Jeremiah.
As we just remembered, God knew Jeremiah before he was even born. He called, prepared, sent Jeremiah as a prophet for God and promised to be with him. Keep in mind, God will never give us anything to do that He will not help us complete. “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not” (2 Corinthians 8:12). God will be with us. We only have to trust Him (just like Jeremiah). God encouraged Jeremiah just as he had encouraged many before him by giving encouraging words when He called them to do something for Him. Think back to Moses. Moses did not think he could do what God asked, yet read God’s response in Exodus 4:10-12. Remember the encouraging words given to the Israelites as they prepared to enter the Promised Land. “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (Deuteronomy 31:6). And to Joshua when he was to lead God’s people. “And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed” (Deuteronomy 31:8). Even today, we are encouraged to trust God. “So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:6). As we found out, that was what God expected of Jeremiah.
Do you have a willing mind, recognizing God will help you do what He asks?