“They did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord who brought us safely out of Egypt and led us through the barren wilderness—a land of deserts and pits, a land of drought and death, where no one lives or even travels?’” (Jeremiah 2:6, NLT).
The recipients of Jeremiah’s message were guilty on two fronts. First though they could bring no charge against him, they had forsaken God who loved them and had provided for them (v.5). Secondly, they failed to ask God’s help. They did not even demand of God why he was not doing now what he had done in the past for their ancestors (v.6). Even their priests, teachers, rulers, and prophets were not turning to God in the distress of foreign invasion (v.8). Why would they prefer a foreign, nonexistent, powerless god over the true God of power and might?
If I am not experiencing God’s power in my life, I need to ask myself, “Where is the Lord?” The answer to that question maybe, as it was for the ancient Israelites, present but ignored. To what have I turned to improve or amend the situation instead of seeking God’s wisdom and direction? To what have I devoted my time as a poor substitute for what God alone can give?
Father, thank you for your patience and faithfulness to me. Draw me closer to you. Forgive me for prizing my own desires and seeking my own way rather than trustingly and patiently relying on your providence. Grant me your grace to be a faithful, trusting child eager to follow your direction. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“Get up and prepare for action. Go out and tell them everything I tell you to say. Do not be afraid of them, or I will make you look foolish in front of them. For see, today I have made you strong. . .” (Jeremiah 1:17-18a, NLT).
Having received his call, Jeremiah now receives his commission to proclaim God’s message. Yet God begins by asking Jeremiah, “What do you see?” Jeremiah’s people were in a bad way; even their religious leaders no longer “saw” the value of God’s law. Jeremiah “sees” in the almond branch (v.11) that he was ready to bear fruit and that his nation was ripe for disaster. God would carry out both his plan to punish his people’s sin (v.12-16) and to warn them through Jeremiah (v.17-19).
God wants me to be “prepared for action.” Because he equips me with his unconquerable strength, I have no reason to fear proclaiming his Good News. In fact, fear makes me look “foolish” because the Good News is that we have overcome through Christ. “If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” (Romans 8:31, NLT).
Father, make me strong. Prepare me for action. Direct me to those who need to hear the Good News of your Son. Take away my fear of being embarrassed or inadequate. Grant me your grace to go from strength to Strength. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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“Today I appoint you to stand up against nations and kingdoms. Some you must uproot and tear down, destroy and overthrow. Others you must build up and plant” (Jeremiah 1:10, NLT).
Jeremiah is having a radical encounter with God. God speaks to him directly and gives him the charge to share his words with whomever God sends him to. God waves away Jeremiah’s protest that he lacks the qualifications and experience to speak the message. Instead, God promises to be with him and to protect him from those who would react badly (and they did) to his message. In a manner reminiscent of Isaiah’s experiences (Isaiah 6:1-10), God touches Jeremiah’s lips cleansing him and preparing him for this intimate relationship in which he will receive God’s Word.
Through Scripture I have access to the recorded messages that God has given his people through the ages. By God’s grace I have access to Jesus, the Word made flesh, through his Spirit that he himself placed in me. When the Good News is proclaimed, both the message of overthrowing and of victory are heard. I experience the message of uprooting, tearing down, destroying, and overthrowing when my sin is exposed. I experience the message of building and planting when I confess my sin and allow his grace to flourish.
Father, thank you for giving your Word. Enable me to respond to the messages which expose my sin. Uproot what is wrong. Forgive me and lead me to what is right and true. Plant your Word in me, and build me into the servant you would have me be. Cleanse my lips to be a fitting speaker of your grace. Give me courage to share your Good News with whomever you place in my path. In Jesus’ name, Amen.