Summary: God calls all of us to salvation, but not all who are called will choose to comply.
GOD IS CALLING US
You have heard of the term, Predestination. When you read the first chapter of Jeremiah, you cannot but help to think about how Jeremiah’s life was predestined or predetermined. Normally, when we think of the term “predestined or predestination” we think of John Calvin. Jeremiah was given the choice of responding to this call. The call was within the will of God. To avoid the call was not in God’s will. God calls all of us to salvation, but not all who are called will choose to comply. Here, in Jeremiah’s call, God had called him to be his mouthpiece for a people who were gone astray. God had called Jeremiah to be a prophet. Jeremiah could have chosen against God’s will and if he had, his life would have been miserable because he would have chosen a course other than the one that God had mapped out for him.
Like most all people, Jeremiah questioned his purpose in life. God had informed him that his purpose was predetermined even before his birth. Jeremiah was trying to think of some of the things that might disqualify him.
Moses and Isaiah also tried to think of how they were not fit for the task that God had called them. Like Moses and Isaiah, Jeremiah mentioned his lack of eloquent speech as a reason that would disqualify him. F. Gerald Kroll acknowledged Jeremiah’s reluctance as far as speech was concerned. But, Kroll even took it a step further as mentions the apporoximate age of Jeremiah who was in his early twenties at the time. (Jerry Falwell. Executive ed. The Complete Bible Commentary. F. Gerald Kroll. “Jeremiah.” Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999, p. 874). God made it clear that this factor was not a problem.
God was clear to point out that his manner of speech would be dependent upon what God put on his heart to speak. God was telling Jeremiah as He tells us, that “He is not interested in our ability but in our availability.” (Michael Duduit ed. The Abingdon Preaching Annual: 1995 Edition. Michael Duduit. “When God Calls”. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1994, p. 289). God is essentially telling us all that same thing that “He is not interested in our ability but in our availability”. God may not call us to be a prophet but if we are willing and listening to His call, God will inform us of what His task is for us.
GOD CALLS US
God might not always call us to be prophets, but God does call us to serve Him. In Jeremiah’s case, God had called him to be a prophet. That raises the question what is a prophet? A prophet is someone whom God has set apart for service in a special way. The messages of God’s prophets come from God Himself. The key is that God’s prophets be in tune with what God is communicating to them. The key to being who God wants us to be overall is to be open to God and how He communicates with us.
Are we listening when God calls us? A friend of mine who is now a pastor entered ministry after her husband had retired from being a pastor. She said one day she was taking a shower when she felt that God was speaking to her and calling her into ministry. Her husband asked her if she had heard God correctly? It seemed odd to him. Why? It seemed odd to him, because he thought that maybe she was entering ministry at a time when it was kind of late in her life to do so. When God calls us to do something, God calls us based upon our gifts regardless of how old we are. Moses was in his early eighties when God called him to service as the instrument through whom He would confront Pharoah to set His people free.