God’s Message for a Time of Turmoil

KEY VERSE: “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. Be not afraid of their faces! For I am with thee to deliver thee said the LORD.” —Jeremiah 1:7,8

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Jeremiah 1:4-10, 13, 14, 17-19

BY NATURE Jeremiah was not a courageous man. He hesitated to accept the commission of the Lord to serve as a prophet, explaining that he was but a child. However, the Lord reassured Jeremiah by the promise that he would be with him, and that he would be able to prophesy whatever he was commanded.

Jeremiah served the Lord as a prophet during the distressing years leading up to the overthrow of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, and the carrying away of the people into captivity. He began his ministry in the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah, and continued it until the beginning of the captivity.

God’s commission to Jeremiah, stating that he was set 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” (Jer. 1:10), is understandable only in the light of the further explanation that this work was actually to be done by others. (vss. 13-16) Jeremiah’s part in all this was merely that of declaring it, yet from the divine standpoint he was to be given credit for actually accomplishing the judgments of the Lord against Israel.

Jeremiah was used of the Lord to prophesy the seventy years’ captivity of the Israelites in Babylon; and their return from this and subsequent captivities. He was also used to foretell the destruction of both literal and symbolic Babylon. Jeremiah prophesied the making of the New Covenant, and the resurrection of the dead, both children and adults. He was also used to call attention to God’s great mercy, and his faithfulness to his people.

God’s commission of service to Jeremiah was identical in principle to the commission he gives to all those whom he calls into his service. This was particularly true with respect to the message he was to deliver. It was not to be his message, but the Lord’s message. The Lord said to Jeremiah, “I have put my words in thy mouth.” This was true even of Jesus, the most outstanding of all the Lord’s spokesmen, for he said, “The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me.” (John 14:10,24) And Jesus said of his disciples, those who were to be his ambassadors, “I have given them thy Word.”—John 17:14

It is very essential for all the Lord’s people to keep this in mind when they undertake to speak for him. Jesus recognized the commission of Isaiah 61:1-3 as being in a general way an outline of what he and his followers were to present as their message from the Almighty. And it is well even for those of us who are living at this end of the age to give careful consideration to this outline of the message which our God will approve. It is a message of glad tidings, a message which can be more real today by the assurance that its fulfillment is near at hand. And in declaring it, we are even now having a part in its future glorious purpose. How wonderfully the Lord honors those who are faithful to his commission.

Those who speak for the Lord during this present evil world must expect to suffer as a result of their faithfulness; yet this should not deter them from the course of obedience. Jeremiah was told by the Lord that a high honor was attached to his commission, yet the prophet found himself imprisoned because he insisted on telling the people the truth which the Lord had given him to declare. Not all of the Lord’s servants have suffered so severely because of their faithfulness as did Jeremiah, but many have.

At one point in his life, Jeremiah records that this commission was made more of a reproach and a derision by those to whom he prophesied than he could bear, and he determined not to speak any more. But he says he could not refrain from speaking, “His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.” (Jer. 20:9) Oh, that we might all have such a burning fire in our hearts!

Dawn Bible Students Association
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