Jeremiah 1:1-19 (ESV)
1 The words of Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah, one of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, 2 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. 3 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.
4 Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 5 “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.” 6 Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” 7 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.
8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the LORD.” 9 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. 10 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.”
11 And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see an almond branch.” 12Then the LORD said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.”
13 The word of the LORD came to me a second time, saying, “What do you see?” And I said, “I see a boiling pot, facing away from the north.” 14 Then the LORD said to me, “Out of the north disaster shall be let loose upon all the inhabitants of the land. 15 For behold, I am calling all the tribes of the kingdoms of the north, declares the LORD, and they shall come, and every one shall set his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, against all its walls all around and against all the cities of Judah. 16 And I will declare my judgments against them, for all their evil in forsaking me. They have made offerings to other gods and worshiped the works of their own hands. 17 But you, dress yourself for work; arise, and say to them everything that I command you. Do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them. 18 And I, behold, I make you this day a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls, against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests, and the people of the land. 19 They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, declares the LORD, to deliver you.”
Day 1: Loving God
Read: Jeremiah 1:1-3
The specific biographical and historical details surrounding Jeremiah show us that God called Jeremiah at a particular place and time for a particular ministry. As Acts 17:26-27 says, “[God] made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him.” Similarly, then, God has sovereignly determined the times and places in which we live. Believing this truth and trusting God can give us hope when we face difficult circumstances that make us disgruntled and resentful.
Confess any bitterness or resentment toward God, and praise God for His rule, might, and care. (Song Recommendation: “Sovereign” by Chris Tomlin)
Pray that God would help your unbelief by increasing your faith.
Day 2: Loving One Another
Read: Jeremiah 1:4-10
When Jeremiah gives his excuse, God doesn’t deny that Jeremiah is “only a youth,” nor doe He say, “oh no, actually you’re old enough and quite mature.” That issue is irrelevant. God simply repeats His command, “to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.” Likewise, God doesn’t say, “the nations are not that scary so you don’t have to be afraid.” He simply says, “Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the LORD.” This is because the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s calling does not depend on Jeremiah or his circumstances, but on God. Jeremiah can discharge his duties confidently, not because of his own ability, but because God has chosen and consecrated him.
Do you undertake the ministries God has entrusted to you while relying primarily on your own competence and gifting? Do you tend to look at other people and judge them primarily by their competencies? How would recognizing God’s calling in our lives, and that “[God’s] power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9) change your attitude and approach?
When you are counseling other believers who are discouraged or in a difficult situation, do you encourage them by telling them how great they are or by telling them how great God is? Do you comfort them by minimizing their suffering or by magnifying God who is with them?
Pray that every member in our church would be encouraged to serve with the strength that God provides.
Pray for humility, so that you might count others more significant that yourself (Phil. 2:3).
Pray that discouraged and suffering members would fix their eyes on Christ and not on themselves.
Day 3: Loving Our Neighbors
Read: Jeremiah 1:11-19
In verse 17, God says to Jeremiah, “Do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them.” Being dismayed by people, what the Bible sometimes calls “the fear of man” (Prov. 29:25), ensures that we will act to please them and not God. If we fear people more than we fear God, man, not God, becomes the ultimate authority of our lives, so that we can no longer call ourselves the servants of God (cf. Gal. 1:10). For this reason, if we are dismayed by people, God Himself will oppose us and dismay us. When we fear men whom we need not fear, God will oppose us so that we actually have something to fear from men. Do you ever shrink from sharing the gospel with people because you are dismayed by them? How does God’s warning shape the way you relate to other people?
Confess the various ways in which fear of men controls your life, and ask God to fill you instead with the fear of God, so that you might love, rather than fear, people.
Pray that God would help you to share the gospel with friends and neighbors boldly.