Wednesday, Feb 6, 2019. The book of Jeremia is one of the tree great prophetic books of the Old Testament. Jeremia's ministry was active between about 626 and 587 before Christ. The book is full of faith, it reflects the struggle of God with his people, the people of Israel.
We hear a lot of detail about the life of Jeremia from the book. Today, let us have a look at the beginning, when Jeremia was called to be a prophet.
I Formed You …
Let us read from Jeremia 1. After some introductory words to the ministry of Jeremia, giving the framework of his lifetime by relating it to the kings of his time, here we are taken to the beginning of the phrophetic work of Jeremia.
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.” (from Jeremia 1)
There are two main points here to discuss. One is what is said about God's choice, before Jeremia was formed in the womb. Before he was even growing as a fetus, God has already consecrated him. Before he was born - that is one sentence. But it is even before the process which forms a human being in the womb of his or her mother is taking place.
How is life starting? How has creation taken place? We learn in the creation account that God had made his first man and woman before he even had created the garden of eden. Here, we hear that God has even appointed a prophet before he started to grow. God's insight into development, his souvereignty and power are far beyond our usual thinking of causality. He is in control of the whole process, even before things start in our eyes.
I appointed You …
Today, there is a social discussion about abortion taking place everywhere on the planet. Humans in the mothers womb are considered as a mere collection of cells, over which the mother has full souvereignty to do what she wants. But there is a conflict of this idea of life with the biblical understanding of human birth. From reception humans are growing. They are already human - and when you see a fetus of 12 weeks already built with hands and head and feet, with fingers and toes, with human form, you cannot ignore the human life which is growing here.
We need to strongly honour both the mother, the father AND the child! They all need protection.
The second point is that God appointed Jeremia as prophet to the nations. I read from this that a) God wants to speak to the nations, b) he wants to speak through prophets, c) he appoints them sometimes even before they are born and d) it is an important thing to him.
God wants to speak to the nations. That means that he wants to speak to you and to me. He wants to speak to our people, to each and every community. Through people like Jeremia he has done it in the past - and by their writing and all the biblical books he is doing it today. We do good when we read these books and try to understand.
God speaks through prophets. There are different spiritual gifts. Some people are called to speak as prophets, i.e. they speak words of God through the spirit. Others have different tasks and roles in the community of the church. This does not change with Jesus. He is still there, in the middle of the church, calling some to speak as prophets words of wisdom and guidance and understanding.
God is communication. He is community in himself. We learn about the one God in father, son and holy spirit. God wants to talk. He wants to be with us. He wants us to listen and to ask, to search him, to find him, to be with him! (Roland Potthast) ... further texts