In my trek to read through the Bible again, I have (after over a year) reached the book of Jeremiah this morning. I love Jeremiah chapter 1: God’s call on a man’s life. The verses simply ebb and flow with the substantive strength and undergirding of the Lord God. Truly, Jeremiah must have felt encouraged and emboldened as God spoke His part into Jeremiah’s life.
“…I formed you…”
“…I knew you…”
“…I consecrated you…”
“…I appointed you…”
“…I send you…”
“…I command you…”
“…I am with you to deliver you…”
“…I have put my words in your mouth…”
“…I have set you this day over nations…”
“…I make you this day…”
“…I am with you…”
According to His words of commission, God has placed Himself as the driving force over Jeremiah’s call. Granted, God intends for Jeremiah to speak out when commanded, but He does not expect–nor does He even attempt to imply–that Jeremiah should feel compelled to speak or act on anything outside of those commands.
God created him for a purpose. God called him to that purpose. God desires for him to fulfill that purpose. That is enough for God.
And Jeremiah’s purpose? God gets to use him as a megaphone to speak judgment over the evil actions of His people. (Hint: Jeremiah’s life will get very, very uncomfortable.)
But here’s the pivotal verse that stuck out to me regarding this call: “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” (verse 18).
Hmmm…I can’t help but wonder how many times Jeremiah had to speak back to himself and encourage himself yet again in his call. “I am ‘a fortified city…an iron pillar…bronze walls…’ God made me thus.” I wonder how many times he didn’t feel like any of those things. (Say, when he was in stocks, or in the dungeon, or in the cistern.) How many times did Jeremiah have to remind himself of whom God made him…regardless of circumstances.
Sometimes the call of God places us in situations that don’t seem to match up with the vision. Those positions require a deeper determination to hold on to His words–to choose to allow His words, and not what we see or feel, to direct our course and steady our thoughts.
This aspect feels quite personal to me this morning. Having arrived in our new home near Little Rock, fresh and eager to start a new church, we find ourselves still settling in–wondering if we’re doing enough toward that end–pondering whether we should stop settling in and start to make that church happen. And yet God has not given my husband clear direction on the particulars. Ideas. Thoughts. But not clear and distinct direction. So we pray. So we wait. So we settle.
And yet the call on my husband’s life to be a pastor remains. He has been created, consecrated and appointed to be a pastor. He simply is one. And a pastor without people can feel a little at sea–just like a shepherd with no sheep. Ministering to people throbs within his heart and soul.
Therefore, keeping our vision focused, we remind ourselves of the call. The story of its inception. The steps God worked out so clearly to get us here. The verses and words of encouragement others have spoken into our lives. We recollect God’s faithfulness and His character to always, always fulfill His Word.
We choose to walk in His word and wait on His ways.
We choose not to run ahead of God, trusting that–like with Jeremiah–the One who called us will be the same One who will command us.
His word. His call. His purpose. His time.
“…I am watching over My word to perform it” (Jeremiah 1:12b).