Skip to main content

You cannot avoid it!

I can recall many 'camp meetings' and 'youth conferences' in which young people flocked to the altar, responding to the evangelist with a commitment to the 'call' on their lives. Very few of those who responded actually went into what we might call 'full-time' ministry, though. In the course of time, those who had not yet counted that cost when they made that commitment backed out. They began to discover the demands of ministry were great and the rewards may be equally great, but the calling was a pretty hard one! When we consider the prophet Jeremiah, we might just see one of those individuals who tries very, very hard to NOT accept the calling on his life - because he isn't quite sure he wants it!

"Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you.  Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you: A prophet to the nations—that's what I had in mind for you."  But I said, "Hold it, Master God! Look at me.   I don't know anything. I'm only a boy!"  God told me, "Don't say, 'I'm only a boy.'  I'll tell you where to go and you'll go there.  I'll tell you what to say and you'll say it.  Don't be afraid of a soul.  I'll be right there, looking after you."  God's Decree. God reached out, touched my mouth, and said, "Look! I've just put my words in your mouth—hand-delivered!  See what I've done? I've given you a job to do among nations and governments—a red-letter day!  Your job is to pull up and tear down, take apart and demolish, and then start over, building and planting."
(Jeremiah 1:5-10)

Jeremiah was called into his ministry as a prophet during a time when Judah, the Southern kingdom consisting of mainly two tribes (Judah and Benjamin) that remained loyal to David's offspring after Solomon's death.  The nation of Israel was split into two kingdoms at this time - the Northern Kingdom and Southern Kingdom.  Those who made up Judah were loyal to the line of David - serving under a king from the line of David.  Josiah is king at this time and is known as a "good king" because he called the nation back to the worship of God and God alone - calling for the destruction of the idols that they had come to worship in the land.  Jeremiah did not have a great message to bring to the people of Judah - in fact, it was one of impending judgment if they did not fully repent of their idolatrous ways and return to close relationship with their God.

Jerusalem was the capital city of Judah - the place of God's Temple and the center of the nation's worship.  During the ministry of Jeremiah, a heartless marauding Babylonian king by the name of Nebuchadnezzar would take Jerusalem and its inhabitants.  Jeremiah would undergo all kinds of torture, rejection and ill treatment during his ministry - beatings by his family, being placed into stocks by the priests, and then imprisonment by King Nebuchadnezzar.  If he had known all this would happen to him from the beginning of his ministry, I kind of doubt that he would have "signed up"!  The fact of the matter is that the call of God is a difficult thing to avoid.  Like Jeremiah, we may try to escape it, looking for all kinds of excuses for why we are not suited for the calling. His first "excuse" for not being qualified to be a prophet to the nations was that he was "only a boy" - his age limited him.  He wanted to show God how "disqualified" he was because he was untrained and really did not know whatever it was that prophets were supposed to know - he was not 'educated'.  Alas, we see the response of God that age does not matter, schooling is really not significantly important, and the fact that when God calls, he enables - regardless of age or pedigree.  

If there is a lesson for us in the life of Jeremiah it is just that - when God calls, he enables.  Jeremiah was called to pull up, tear down, take apart, demolish, and then start over with the rebuilding project of making a nation strong in its love and service to their God.  A pretty phenomenal task if you ask me! My first inclination would be to ask God if he had the right person! The nation was already torn into two - the pagan kings were rallying to take advantage of the divisions that had occurred.  Now God expected Jeremiah to rise up in his youth and prophesy about their sin, need for repentance, and  if it did not happen, judgment would be swift! Can you see why he did not feel he was qualified? God's enabling is not something we realize at first. It is often in the steps of obedience that we take that we begin to realize that the calling of God comes with the necessary enabling. As we begin to dig into the Word, we find that he brings little tidbits of truth to the surface that help us to stand strong. As we find ourselves stepping out into unfamiliar territory, he comes alongside to give us strength to face the fears head on. The process of enabling is really the process of equipping.  What we need, we have at our disposal. Even when we do not fully recognize it.

The next time we feel impressed by God to step out into unfamiliar territory, we will do well to remember when God calls for our obedience, he also enables (equips) us for the very step of obedience he requires. He places within us the exact words we will need. He even brings us into the exact "audience" we need in order to accomplish what his purposes are for our life. No encounter is ever accidental when we are walking in the calling of God. We may not "feel" equipped at first, but when the needs arise, we have all the moment requires. This is what Jeremiah learned as he stepped out in faith to do what God required of him. He had what he needed to face all the opposition, doubt, and lack of enthusiasm he would encounter. Why? Simply because God enables those whom he calls into service. If you think that the "calling of God" does not apply to you - think again. Each believer is called into service for the King of Kings. Each believer is asked to step up, embrace the call of God on their lives, and to step out in faith to go where he directs, do what he requests, and touch those he brings across our path.  Remember this:  Those he calls, he equips. Just sayin!


Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

A brilliant display indeed

Love from the center of who you are ; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply ; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. (Romans 12:9-12) Integrity and Intensity don't seem to fit together all that well, but they are uniquely interwoven traits which actually complement each other. "Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it." God asks for us to have some intensity (fervor) in how we love (from the center of who we are), but he also expects us to have integrity in our love as he asks us to be real in our love (don't fake it). They are indeed integral to each other. At first, we may only think of integrity as honesty - some adherence to a moral code within. I believe there is a little more to integrity than meets the eye. In the most literal sense,

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce