The Lord Chooses Jeremiah

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The book opens with a statement of where God “found” Jeremiah (among the priests), and what he made of him (a prophet unto the nations). Here Jeremiah was born, son of the priest Hilkiah. Anathoth, a town about three miles northeast of Jerusalem was assigned to and inhabited by priests (Josh. 21:13-19). It was here that Jeremiah was born and grew up (vv. 1-3).

Far more important than learning what task he must accomplish, Jeremiah needed to know with assurance the person who was commissioning him. God had known Jeremiah’s role before he was born, had caused him to be born and had separated him for a holy service. How could Jeremiah possibly avoid this moment of truth (vv. 4-5).

Jeremiah responded to God’s appointment with a measure of self-doubt (v. 6). Often people struggle with new challenges because they lack self-confidence. He said that he did not know how to speak. He does not plead inability like Moses (Ex. 4:10), but rather from the point of inexperience. The task would be difficult but since the prophet was called by God he would have divine enablement (vv. 6-8). God promised to deliver Jeremiah from trouble, not to keep trouble from coming to him. God does not keep us from encountering life’s storms but He will see us through. He was not only called to the task but he was empowered (vv. 9-10).


When God asks me to do something it is easy for me to say, “I can’t do it”, “I don’t have the ability, training or experience.” I just need to remember, if God gives me a job to do, He will provide all I need to do it.

Jeremiah 1:1-10 (English Standard Version)

The words of Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah, one of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, 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. It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, and until the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah, the son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the captivity of Jerusalem in the fifth month. Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying, "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." Then I said, "Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth." But the LORD said to me, "Do not say, 'I am only a youth'; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the LORD." Then the LORD put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the LORD said to me, "Behold, I have put my words in your mouth. See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant."

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