Septuagesima Sunday Family Worship Service (31 January 2021) Jeremiah 1:4-10
Updated: Jan 31
Last week, we meditated about prophet Jonah and the salvation of Nineveh. Today’s meditation is based on another prophet from our Old Testament Reading. We listened to the reading from the prophetic book of Jeremiah, chapter 1, verses 4-10. Jeremiah is an ancient Hebrew name which means ‘Yahweh will rise’ or ‘Yahweh will exalt’. He is called as ‘Weeping prophet’ and ‘Lamenting Prophet’. He prophesised around 626-585 BC. I would like to share some background information about prophet Jeremiah and his prophecies. Jeremiah was not a stranger to God’s ministry. His father was a priest. The kings who succeeded David worshipped other gods and the people were also led to follow other faiths. Prophet Jeremiah started his ministry when he was very young during the reign of king Josiah. Prophet Jeremiah must have been in his twenties. King Josiah was the last king of Judah who worshipped Lord Jehovah. The main purpose of prophet Jeremiah’s prophecy was to call Jerusalem and Judah back to God the Father Almighty. He was the one who saw many fulfilled prophesies in Jerusalem and Judea. Today’s reading portion is about his ministry call.
In Jeremiah 1:4 and 5 we read, “Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” God called Jeremiah to ministry when he was very young. We read Jeremiah’s reply in verse 6. He said, “I, Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.” Let us meditate upon the responses of three other people, Moses, Solomon and Samuel.
Moses was an Israelite born in the tribe of Levi. The Pharoah commanded to kill all the boy children to stop the Israelites from increasing. But God had a plan and purpose for Moses’s life. Moses was hidden for three months at home. When his mother found it difficult to hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes and daubed it with slime and with pitch. She put the child and laid him in the flags by the river's brink. Pharaoh’s daughter took him to the palace and named him Moses because he was taken from river. Moses grew up in the palace as the royal prince of Egypt. He must have received the best education. But Moses knew that he was a Hebrew not an Egyptian. A time came when Moses ran away from Egypt and dwelt in the land of Midian. When he was taking care of his father-in-law’s flock, the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a burning bush. The Lord called Moses to do His vision. Moses replied, “Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?” Moses also “said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.” Moses had many questions that God gave reply to. God assured Moses He would be with Him and Moses saw the mighty works of God in the mount of Horeb. But Moses was reluctant to take up the challenging work which was the will of God. We read that the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses and He said Aaron will be Moses’s spokesman. Finally, Moses accepted and committed to do God’s work.
When Solomon became the king for United Israel, Solomon loved the Lord and he walked in the statutes of David his father. He only sacrificed and burnt incense in high places. He offered thousand burnt offerings upon that altar to the LORD God. God was pleased and “the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee.” Solomon replied, “I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?” God was pleased with what he asked and gave him the wisdom that he asked and riches and honour that he did not ask.
When Hannah wanted a child, she trusted God and poured out her soul before the LORD God. “She vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.” The LORD God gave her a boy baby and she left the child with Eli to grow in the temple of god. Child Samuel was ministering unto the Lord before Eli, but did not yet know the Lord. At this time, the LORD God called Samuel by his name. On Eli’s instruction, Samuel answered, “Speak; for thy servant heareth”. “Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the Lord.”
In today’s reading, we read that God separated prophet Jeremiah and consecrated him as prophet even before he came out of his mother’s womb. First Jeremiah said “Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.” When the Lord put forth His hand and touched Jeremiah’s mouth, he accepted his call. He prophesised against Israel calling the back sliding Israelites to turn to the LORD God. Many turned back to God because of his caution. He fulfilled the purpose of God in his life. His prophecies and cautions are also relevant to us today.
When Moses agreed to do God’s work, he became a great prophet and leader. He went to Egypt, from where he had run away, to rescue the Israelites. He was not afraid to stand in front of Pharaoh to plead for the Israelites. He performed many miracles. He released Israelites from their bondage and led them towards the promise land Canaan. The one who said he was slow of speech and of a slow tongue led the Israelites and judged them in the wilderness. He received the Ten Commandments from the LORD God at mount Sinai. He received the canons and bylaws from God and established the constitution for the Israelites. When the Israelites sinned against God, he pleaded for them. He did the will of God in his life. Initially, Moses was reluctant but after God said Aaron could be his spokesman, Moses stood firm to fulfil God’s vision. When God calls us to do His will, who are we depending on? Are we relying upon God and trusting Him to be with our mouth and teach us what we should say? Or are we trusting another human being more than God?
When the Lord asked King Solomon what he wanted, he admitted that he was not worthy to rule United Israel. He asked for wisdom to rule the great people. He was blessed with riches and honour. But the wisest king behaved foolishly and worshipped other gods to please his wives. He built the temple of God, but he did not pass blessings to the next generation. Solomon started well but did not finish well. Do we do things that do not please God to please our loved ones? Do we lead those around us astray?
Samuel was a child and did not know the Lord when the Lord called him. However, he committed to do what God wanted him to do. He became one of the great prophets in Israel. He consecrated the first king of United Israel. He was a powerful judge and was the bridge during the transition period when the kingdom and leadership was given to kings from the priest. When he committed his life, God lifted him to judge united Israel and used him to consecrate the first two kings of United Israel. Samuel fulfilled God’s plan in his life. Are we fulfilling God’s plan in our lives? Are we willing to do what God wants us to do without question? Samuel was a child when the Lord spoke to him. Jesus said we cannot enter the Kingdom of God unless we receive the kingdom as a little child. Do we have the acceptance of a child to accept God’s vision in our lives?
Prophet Jeremiah had his doubts but when the Lord touched his mouth, he spoke the Lord’s words. What is our response when we are called? Are we waiting for the Lord’s touch on our mouth to speak His words?
Moses had to be convinced by God but when he began he stood firm until the end. Solomon began strong but went away from the will of God. Samuel was a child who did not know the Lord but committed to do His will. Jeremiah said he was a child but accepted to do the Lord’s call. All of us will be able to identify with Moses, Solomon, Samuel or Jeremiah. God has an unique call for all of us. Let us ask ourselves if we are committing ourselves in God’s hand. In John 15:16 Jesus said, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain”. Are we accepting the call from Jesus or are we finding excuses not to accept? Are we faithful to our call? Are we fulfilling the purpose of God in our life? Are we stiving to be faithful to our call to the end? 1 Peter 4:10 says “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” When we complete this very short race in this world, will God be pleased about our lives and the use of our gifts?
My beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58).
I pray the God of Trinity helps us and guides us to fulfil His will in our life. May our lives fulfil His will and be meaningful and pleasing in the sight of the LORD God. Amen!