The Scriptorium

Jeremiah's Remit

Jeremiah's, and ours. Jeremiah 1.9-19

Jeremiah Called: Jeremiah 1-3 (2)

Pray Psalm 33.1-5.

Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous!
For praise from the upright is beautiful.
Praise the LORD with the harp;
Make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings.
Sing to Him a new song;
Play skillfully with a shout of joy.
For the word of the LORD is right,
And all His work is done in truth.
He loves righteousness and justice;
The earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.

Sing Psalm 33.1-5.
(Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns)
Sing with rejoicing in the Lord, for praise becomes His righteous ones!
With harps and songs raise grateful words, and let new songs of praise be sung!

Joyfully shout! His Word is true; He does His work in faithfulness.
His love prevails the whole world through; the Lord loves truth and righteousness.

Read Jeremiah 1.1-19; meditate on verses 9-19

1. How would you describe the ministry God gave Jeremiah?

2. What did Jeremiah see in the visions God gave him?

God called Jeremiah to the ministry of the Word (v. 9). Touching his mouth symbolized the giving of the Word to the prophet. Jeremiah will later describe his delight in feeding on the Word (Jer. 15.16), and this comes to us from the Lord as we receive the Word He feeds us day by day.

The scope of Jeremiah’s ministry of the Word is nations and kingdoms (v. 10). What he will preach and write will have far-flung ramifications. The nature of his ministry is to “root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant” (v. 10). The Word of God has power to convict and cleanse. Jeremiah will “root out” the sins of God’s people by exposing them explicitly, “to destroy” their sinful ways; he will “pull down” and “throw down” all the false idols the people of Judah have erected in place of the one true God. But he will also “build” and “plant” for Israel’s future. We will see this especially in his letter to the captives in Babylon in Jeremiah 29, and his promise of the coming grace, mercy, and new covenant of the Lord (Jer. 31, 33).

Not that Jeremiah will do any physical tearing down or building up, but his preaching and writing will have that effect. And this will make Jeremiah a most unpopular prophet.

God showed Jeremiah two visions (vv. 11-13). The first, of the almond tree, recalls God’s affirming the ministry of Aaron by the budding almond branch, and is meant to indicate that God was already beginning the work He was planning to do, and which He had been threatening through earlier prophets like Isaiah and Micah (cf. Num. 17). The second vision, of the boiling pot from the north, indicates the coming invasion of Judah and surrounding nations by Babylon. Jerusalem would be made subject to the “calamity” coming “out of the north”. Judah and all the surrounding nations would fall to Babylon’s overpowering might, and this would be the judgment of God against His sinful people (v. 16).

Jeremiah was to prepare himself for this difficult work (vv. 17-19). He must not be afraid, but realize that God has raised him up for this time, to be a strong pillar of truth against the rulers and people of Judah. God warned Jeremiah that the people would resist him and fight against him, but they would not prevail. God would be with the prophet, “to deliver” him from all harm.

Like Jeremiah, we have been set with the Word of God over “nations and kingdoms” – our own Personal Mission Field. We are called to the ministry of the Word there, to seek and proclaim the Kingdom of Jesus Christ and to call people to repent and believe the Good News. That won’t always make us popular. It will, however, accomplish the purposes for which God sends His Word out through us (Is. 55.8-10). And, like Jeremiah, we have the promise that God will be with us to deliver us from any and all harm (Matt. 28.20; Heb. 13.5).

So, like Jeremiah, we must prepare for this work, which we will do as we continue our study through the book of Jeremiah. Look for the book of Jeremiah to speak to your own calling and ministry as one entrusted with the Word of God for our times.

1. In what sense does your calling to God’s Kingdom and glory (1 Thess. 2.12) resemble the calling to Jeremiah?

2. Like Jeremiah, we are called to the ministry of the Word. What does that require of us?

3. What kinds of responses can we expect as we minister the Word of God to the people to whom God sends us?

He points out that four things are required for getting rid of poisonous elements: to root up, to pull down, to waste and to destroy. But in order to do good and acquire righteousness, all that is required is to build and to plant. It is perfectly evident that it is a harder thing to tear up and eradicate the ingrained passions of body and soul than to introduce and plant spiritual virtues. John Cassian (360-432), Conferences 2.14.3 

Lord, help me to prepare well for the work You have given me to do, so that today I will…

Pray Psalm 33.13-22.

Thank God for His Word. Ask Him to guide you by His Word and power throughout the day, that you may know Him as your Helper and Shield in all you do.

Sing to the Lord.
Psalm 33.13-22 (Truro: Shout, for the Blessed Jesus Reigns)
God from His throne looks down on men; He knows our works and made our hearts.
Let not Your Church, let none depend on strength or skill or human arts.

God watches those who fear His Name, who hope upon His grace and love.
He keeps their souls from death and shame who trust in Him Who reigns above.

God is our Helper and our Shield; upon us let Your grace descend!
We hope in You; to You we yield; we trust in Jesus to the end.

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers from
Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore