The Lord has plans for you. Reading for Sunday 21st of August year C.
Jeremiah 1: 4-10
‘Now the word of the Lord came to the same before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you I appointed you a prophet to the nations.’
Do you often feel overwhelmed regarding God’s call upon your life? Do you feel sometimes that you aren’t good enough or prepared enough? If you can say yes to those questions, then continue reading this blog post.
We are delving into the character of Jeremiah who symbolised the overwhelming burden that God’s spokesperson faced during that continual decline of the people of Israel. Called and appointed by God, Jeremiah undertook the daunting task of proclaiming a message of judgement against Israelites and their removal from the land that they once received as a gift from God’s hand. While overwhelming, Jeremiah’s warnings came from God alone, and the profit had no recourse but to share them with the people. (Jeremiah 20:9).
The belief that you are known by God and have always been known by God since before one’s conception deeply strengthens your sense of individual worth. Our human nature tells us that in a vast universe our small lives might be meaningless.
God declares to Jeremiah that ‘before I formed you in the womb, I knew you’.
I think we really need to hear the affirmation that God has known us longer and better even than our own parents and prior to our own consciousness. Who knows you better than anyone else besides God?
Awareness and trust in God’s presence are what drives out fear and bring deliverance. For Jeremiah, this will include fears and dangers from actual enemies who both slander his name and seek physically to harm him. Importantly, this promise of divine presence drives out the inner fear and leads to self-doubt and the temptation to abandon the trusting God. At the heart of the call is to proclaim God’s word. God’s call upon our lives is not without danger or temptation. It is certainly not a bed of roses and probably a little bit more overwhelming than we had expected. Despite any difficulties that you face God uses you to help others because God is a rock who saves and rescues. Likewise, this is what happens in the book of Jeremiah.
As we read Jeremiah’s words it is full of anguish and grief over the spiritual state of Judah (a tribe of Israel). In spite of their chosen status, in God’s eyes, the people had continually given themselves to idolatry and proven themselves incapable of keeping their covenant commitment to God. God had willingly bound himself to these people in covenant love and the people were expected to respond with worshipful obedience. But they did not. As a result, God wanted to bring them back to himself, so the coming judgement would be sure, swift, and severe. God brought Judah back into his loving presence through Jeremiah the prophet.
At the time of Jeremiah’s warnings, the nation of Judah was in its last days. Jeremiah warned that God would raise up the nation of Babylon to defeat God’s people and haul them off into captivity. The fall of Jerusalem in 586BC fulfilled the long-standing warnings regarding the results of Judah’s sinful rebellion. However, Jeremiah’s warnings are not without a glimmer of hope for a secure future.
The prophet knew that God’s character was unchanging and his mission sure concerning the people of Israel, so he was assured that God would eventually rescue his people. God would secure a remnant of worshippers from amongst the exiled nation of Israel. Because of God’s faithful love for his people, he would bring the people back from obscurity into a right relationship with himself, and we see this in Jeremiah chapters 30 to 31. As a result, the people would once again sing for joy at the glory of God’s salvation.
Jeremiah’s Words are Relevant for Us Today
Later down the track through Jesus, Jeremiah’s words ring out to Israel once again and still hold true for us today. God promised a new covenant and you will find that in Jeremiah chapter 31 to 34. God’s promises are fulfilled in the person and work of Jesus Christ who secured salvation through his righteous life substitutionary death and victorious resurrection. Through faith, God’s people can be born-again to a living hope that pulses with life eternal. Sin is grotesque and the consequences are painful, and yet Jesus’s work is altogether complete and provides the sure hope that God will fulfil his promises to his people.
Jeremiah found the call upon his life difficult to obey. There have been many times when I have struggled with God’s call upon my life not least the continually moving and travelling and saying goodbye to loved ones. Answering God’s call can be painful and often confusing at times, however, I have found solace in Jeremiah 29: 11, which points out
‘For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope.’
I encourage you today to take heart that God is with you by the Holy Spirit to give you strength courage and hope every single step of the way as you fulfil his call upon your life. God does not expect you to climb the mountain in one go. Rather, it is putting one step in front of the other and trusting God in every single one.
So, you may make the excuse to God I am not old enough, or I am far too old. My health is failing. Or I am not educated enough or some other excuse we may come up with, but which really are just lame excuses. And they are lame excuses because they are quite unfounded. The apostle Paul says that when I am weak, then I am strong in the Lord. Even in your weaknesses, Father God will give you his strength. All you need to do is to give God your doubts and he will give you his faith. Give God your mind body and spirit for his holy use, and he will surely fill you to overflowing as you reach others with his love and grace in ways that you could never have imagined.
It is my hope that you enjoyed this blog post and found it helpful to you. If you did please like it and subscribe to this blog so I may be able to continue to bring the content of hope, faith and love to you.
Lord God, my father, maker of heaven and earth, I put aside my excuses and fears and purpose to fulfil your call upon my life every single day step by step because I know that you are with me even to the ends of the earth. Amen
Remember live life on purpose, and Jesus loves you and so do I.
Paula Rose Parish
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