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Jeremiah, the hesitant prophet

Jeremiah, the hesitant prophet

Jeremiah 1:1-10 (especially verse 7)

1. Jeremiah goes from priest to prophet (v. 1)

Jeremiah would have been expected to be a priest. There was stability in being a priest. God called Jeremiah to the more uncertain task of being a prophet. He went from calling people to change their behaviour to attempting to change their hard hearts. Jeremiah was a prophet of the heart. The word heart is used 66 times. It is a very dangerous and difficult thing sometimes to speak from the Word of God. There are a lot of churches today that don’t preach the Word of God because it makes people uncomfortable. People want to hear sermons about how God is going to bless them or about His love.

2. They were difficult days (verses 2-3)

Jeremiah was born during the reign of Manasseh. Idolatry and child sacrifice was taking place during the childhood of Jeremiah. Idolatry was flourishing. The Word of God during Manasseh’s reign had gotten lost. The priests were treated with disrespect. He saw in Josiah’s day, reform, but not true repentance. Based on 3:10, we know that it was a reform that didn’t reach the heart. It’s much easier to change your outward appearance than your heart. God didn’t give up on the judgment He had planned for Judah (2 Kings 23:26-27). This was a time of starvation, heavy taxation, and spiritual poverty as well. It was a time of drought, brought about because of disobedience. It was during these times, that God called Jeremiah to faithfully and steadfastly preach the Word, despite the fact that the people did not respond and even wanted to kill him. He was to draw his strength from the Lord and was faithful.

3. With a hesitant heart (verses 4-10)

Like Moses, Jeremiah was at first hesitant to take on this task. (See: Moses in Exodus 3:11; 4:1) Perhaps the tasks seemed too great for him. Or perhaps he worried about how he would be received or thought they might kill him. He hesitated because he most likely felt inadequate for the job. Paul seemed to say in 2 Cor. 2:16 that he felt inadequate too, but he also knew that his adequacy came from the Lord.

God assured Jeremiah of 3 things in this passage:

1. His election to this office. God chose him and not the other way around. Before he knew of God or knew anything in this life, God saw him and called him and was equipping him for this difficult task.

2. His protection. Several times Jeremiah almost died for his faith. There were people who wanted to kill Jeremiah. Jeremiah lived despite this because God was His shield.

3. His authority. God gave him His Word. Jeremiah was not going to be preaching his own opinion or thoughts, but God’s Word. This Word has power and doesn’t return void. Too many times today people want popularity with people and compromise the Word of God and water it down. Jeremiah could have easily done that, but he did not. He didn’t only tell the people what they wanted to hear.

Dr. Czeslaw Bassara ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ;

James N. Spurgeon wrote:

'A job is at your choice; a ministry is at Christ's call. In a job you expect to receive; in a ministry you expect to give. In a job you give something to get something; in a ministry you return something that has already been given to you. A job depends on your abilities; a ministry depends on your availability to God. A job done well brings you praise; a ministry done well brings honour to Christ.'

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