Sunday, January 9, 2011

Jeremiah's Calling

There is a word that I've heard and have always had mixed emotions about.  The word is DESTINY.  When I am not doing what I know to be right, I often feel I am a failure and was never destined to do anything good because blah, blah, blah...  Other times I know that I am destined for good.  I know that I have a purpose and I've struggled most of my life to define who I am.  I've read back in past journals and found that I've asked that question over and over again.  I know that I have a purpose.  I know that I have a destiny!  If nothing else, I am destined to give God glory in one way or another.  So as I began reading Jeremiah a few days ago, I was stirred. 
Jeremiah 1:1-10 NIV The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the priests at anathoth in the territory of Benjamin.  The word of the Lord came to him in the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah, and through the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, down to the fifth month of the eleventh year of Zedekiah son of Josiah king of Judah, when the people of Jerusalem went into exile.
The word of the Lord came to me, saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."
"Ah, Sovereign Lord," I said, "I do not know how to speak; I am only a child."
But the Lord said to me, "Do not say, 'I am only a child.'  You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.  Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you." declares the Lord.
Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, "Now, I have put my words in your mouth.  Se, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant."
There is a lot in just those first 10 verses.  What I hear loud and clear is DESTINY.  It is funny because I am reminded of a quote from the movie Bolt by the hamster named, Rhino.  "Ring, ring! Who's there? Destiny? I've been expecting your call."  I've even jokingly said it a few times with my children when we play.  If you watch that movie, though, you will realize that Rhino wasn't sitting around waiting for the call.  He was actually chasing after the one who was his ultimate hero.  At the point of this quote, he was being called into a higher purpose.
In Jeremiah's case, he was not following a worldly icon, (god, idol) but was communing with Jehovah God.  He was called as a young man.  No matter his actual age, Jeremiah felt as though he were a child when God spoke to him.  Even if Jeremiah were a child at the time the word of the Lord came to him, he was first called before he was even conceived.  He was called as a prophet of the Lord, Most High. 
Jeremiah's first response to Sovereign Lord at first seemed whiny to me, but as I read it and consider it, I realize that it was a statement of humility.  He did not have confidence in himself.  This is a perfect place to be when called to a higher place.  Start with your head in a lower place.  If Jeremiah were eloquent in speech, he would have put his confidence in himself rather than continue to speak the words of the Lord.
The Lord gave him words to speak.  He reached out and touched his mouth.  This action reminds me of Isaiah 6 when Isaiah asks the seraph to touch the coal to his lips.  There are similarities in the commissioning of a different "sent one."  Most of the time our words are insufficient.  Sure we use a lot of them, but His words are perfect.
Because of his calling, response and obedience, Jeremiah was appointed over kingdoms and nations.  God already knew his character.  He already knew his response.  Is that why he had a destiny as such?  God knows all and this was just the beginning of a long time of ministry. 
God is still in the business of calling and appointing people over nations and over families and over churches.  How long has he been trying to have this conversation with me, with you?  Are we willing to put our head lower than our pride to allow his words to enter our lips for his glory?  If my destiny is just to walk through this life as a testimony of His glory and I obey, it will be enough.  I know He has more in store for me.  I suspect He has more in store for you, too!

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