God, by His special counsel and foreknowledge designs certain men for certain work for Himself,
and whom He calls He fits for their work.
Those having His message to deliver, while they should feel their own insufficiency,
should not be afraid of the face of man,
for God has pledged Himself to be with them.
1 The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin:
2 To whom the word of the LORD came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign.
3 It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month.
4 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
5 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.
6 Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.
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.
10 See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.
11 ¶ Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond tree.
12 Then said the LORD unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it.
13 And the word of the LORD came unto me the second time, saying, What seest thou? And I said, I see a seething pot; and the face thereof is toward the north.
14 Then the LORD said unto me, Out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land.
15 For, lo, I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north, saith the LORD; and they shall come, and they shall set every one his throne at the entering of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all the walls thereof round about, and against all the cities of Judah.
16 And I will utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands.
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 – J. Vernon McGee
Jeremiah 1 – Courage Promised to a Fearful Messenger
God has a distinct purpose for each life, and our one aim should be to discover and work out His plan. See Psalm 139:16; Galatians 1:15. The sanctification here referred to applies to office rather than to character, and means set apart. See John 17:19. Jeremiah was very young, and shrank from the responsibility of the great mission entrusted to him. Thus it has been with the noblest, Exodus 4:10. But that is godly fear indeed which casts us back on God. He never gives a commission without assuming the responsibility of its execution in, and with, or through, us. Powers of utterance are specially His gift, Isaiah 6:7; Acts 6:10; I Corinthians 1:5. The almond tree in Hebrew is the wakeful tree. It awakes from the winter sleep earlier than others, flowering in January and fruiting in March. It indicated the swiftness of God’s movement. The boiling pot is the symbol of war. The promises of Jeremiah 1:18-19 are very precious to all who are called to stand in the breach and charge men with their sins. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Jeremiah 1:6—Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.
A sense of helplessness is of prime importance as a preparation for ministry. Those who count themselves able to speak will never become God’s mouthpiece; while those who have no words of their own will be surprised to find how forcible and perennial the stream of holy speech will become through their lips. Though you cannot, He can; and your sense of inability is the condition that the Spirit of your Father should speak through you. Learn to appropriate the Savior’s affirmation, “The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works” (John 14:10).
How many of the greatest men have been broken under a sense of their insufficiency! That passage in the life of John Livingstone comes back to me as I write. He had spoken at the yearly communion at Kirk o’ Shotts on the Sabbath with marvelous power, and had been requested to preach on the following morning, which he promised to do on condition that his friends should spend the night in prayer. But as he awoke in the morning he was so overwhelmed with the sense of his incompetence that he went three and a-half miles out of the town, to be brought back, however, and to preach so marvelously that five hundred souls were converted.
The writer can never forget the comfort that this passage gave him in early boyhood, when he anxiously feared that he never would be able to exercise the ministry of the Gospel. One morning, years ago, when in great anxiety to learn whether his was a true vocation to the Christian ministry, the Bible opened to this page, and he can bear witness that God has been faithful. —Our Daily Homily