Sunday School Lesson July 16, 2017 Jeremiah’s Call and Commission
To follow along, visit your local Christian bookstore, and ask for the Bible Expositor and Illuminator
Time: 627 B.C. Place: probably Anathoth
Golden Text: “The Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shall speak (Jeremiah 1:7).
Lesson Outline: I. The Lord’s Pronouncement – Jeremiah 1:4-5, II. The Lord Assurance – Jeremiah 1:6-8, III. The Lord’s Endowment – Jeremiah 1:9-10
After King Solomon’s death, the united kingdom of Israel had split into rival Northern and Southern Kingdoms. The Northern Kingdom was called Israel, and the Southern was Judah. Jeremiah lived and prophesied during the reigns of the last five kings of Judah.This was a chaotic time politically, morally and spiritually. Babylon, Egypt, and Assyria battled for world supremacy, Judah found herself caught in the middle of the triangle. Unlike Isaiah, who readily volunteered for his prophetic ministry, Jeremiah was reluctant to sign on to the Lord’s plan for him. When the Lord initially spoke to him, Jeremiah claimed he could not speak for the Lord because he was a mere “child”. The word child could be used for anyone from infancy to young adulthood. It’s believed that Jeremiah was between the age of sixteen and twenty-five when the Lord called him. After his initial reluctance, Jeremiah submitted to the Lord and never turned back. He understood what God called him to do, and he faithfully carried out his mission. Jeremiah served as God’s prophet for over 40 years. Jeremiah was one of the prophets who was not allowed to marry, he was rejected by his friends, neighbors, family and false priest, prophets and kings. Although the people didn’t respond to Jeremiah’s calling them to repent, his life was a glorious success because Jeremiah remained faithful to his God. He may not have seen immediate results, but his struggle to obey God in a world that had turned wholesale away from its Creator has inspired many generations of believers.
Lesson Outline: I. The Lord’s Pronouncement – Jeremiah 1:4-5
Jeremiah 1:4 – Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying. Jeremiah was the major prophet during the decline and fall of Judah’s southern kingdom. He prophesied during the reigns of the last five kings of Judah. God set Jeremiah aside for a special task before he was born. Jeremiah, son of a priest, was probably between sixteen and twenty years old when the word of the Lord first came to him. Jeremiah’s prophetic ministry occurred during the chaotic times of spiritual apostasy accompanied by political turmoil. Jeremiah was born into a priestly family in Anathoth of Benjamin. He begins to prophesy during the thirteenth year of Josiah, about 627. He continued through the reign of Jehoiakim until the eleventh year of Zedekiah when Jerusalem fell to Babylon in 586 B.C. Jerusalem became captive in the fifth month, during this time is when the word of the Lord was spoken to Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 1:5 – 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. Before God tells Jeremiah about his commission, God begins to tell him, how He knew him before he was formed in his mother’s womb. God informed Jeremiah that He had sanctified him from the womb and ordained him to be a prophet to the nation. God wanted Jeremiah to know He was aware of his abilities and weaknesses, his inclinations and fears. Jeremiah’s speaking ministry would extend beyond his own little town of Anathoth, beyond his tribe of Benjamin, and even beyond his nation of Judah to foreign kingdoms. Old Testament prophets had the double duty of being foretellers and forth-tellers, they foretold future events and they preached forth judgment and the need for repentance for sin. The word “knew” refers to an intimate knowledge that comes from relationship and personal commitment, that intimate relationship was made apparent in God’s sanctifying work, whereby Jeremiah was set apart for a special service, he was to be a prophet to the nations of Judah as well as a messenger of God for all nations.
Lesson Outline: II. The Lord’s Assurance – Jeremiah 1:6-8
Jeremiah 1:6 – Then said I, Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. Jeremiah lacked the confidence to be a prophet because of his age, he was just a child, who would listen to him, who would take him seriously? Jeremiah was certain that he had nothing to offer God for he was still only a boy. Jeremiah also could have been thinking of the treatment of the other prophets, how they were disliked, and rejected and they had much more experience than he. Like Moses, who was called to speak to the Pharaoh of Egypt at a decisive point in Israel’s history, Jeremiah was called to address the kings of Judah and leaders of Babylon. In Jeremiah’s eyes, he wasn’t the person for the mission since he was young and inexperienced.
Jeremiah 1:7 – But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. The Lord gently told Jeremiah to refrain from protesting that he was too young to be God’s spokesman. Rather, he was to obey, he was to go to wherever and to whomever God sent him and speak His word. Because God had created Jeremiah and knew him, God was aware of Jeremiah’s fears; he was afraid of the people he would encounter. Jeremiah was going to encounter both friendly and hostile people. In today’s time, God still speaks to His prophets and those who will yield themselves to Him. The office of a prophet and prophecy are different, there is the office of the prophet that God uses the vessel to build and destroy, to establish things in the spiritual realm; whereas prophecy is one yielding themselves to allow God to speak to edify, and strengthen the body of Christ. God’s speaking to Jeremiah could have also been a mild rebuke of him thinking of himself as inadequate when God had spoken to him and informed him what He had already done in him prior to his birth.
Jeremiah 1:8 – Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord. God tells Jeremiah that he should not be afraid of the faces of the people, He wouldn’t be alone, God would be with him to deliver him from danger. One of Jeremiah’s fear may have been that when he spoke to people, their demeanor toward him would be a whole lot less than respectful and receptive. In today’s ministry, many ministers aren’t saying what God is saying because they want to give the people a sugar-coated gospel. They too are afraid of the people’s demeanor and them not giving financially. God does not change neither does His Word, we have to speak the Word even when we’re not being receptive. Just like Jeremiah whatever God gives us to speak, we have to speak it knowing that God is with us.
Lesson Outline: III. The Lord’s Endowment -Jeremiah 1:9-10
Jeremiah 1:9 – Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. As a visible, tactile sign to Jeremiah, God reached out His hand and touched Jeremiah’s mouth. God explained through His touch, He had put His words into Jeremiah’s mouth. Jeremiah did not have to come up with a message or the wording of the message, God gave Him what He wanted him to speak.
Jeremiah 1:10 – See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant. God told Jeremiah that He was setting him over the nations. Some of his responsibilities to those nations would be negative, rooting out, pulling down, and destroying. Some of his responsibilities would be positive, building and planting. The words Jeremiah speaks would not be his own but giving them God’s words about their sin and the coming judgement. Judgment and restoration were the two messages of the prophet of God. Because the gospel has been diluted; many ministers want the popularity rather than being concerned about the souls. The four gospels warn the believer about the coming of the Lord and the judgment of those who rejected His salvation. God doesn’t change neither does His word change, what He has promised, that He will do.