Summary: Prophetic call as warning; temple is a den of robbers.
Jeremiah 1:4-10, 7:1-11
The times are changing. We once felt fairly safe, but now terrorism is on the rise and a “low grade” fear has engulfed us. We are becoming more diversified in values and ethics along with religions, nationalities, lifestyles, and race. This diversification is forcing long standing institutions to share their rights and privileges. Life is not a comfortable as it once was.
Though perhaps not as threatening, the changes that are taking place in our world are somewhat similar to those in Jeremiah’s time. Outside nations are influencing a homogeneous society. Change is in the air and the fear of change that accompanies it. People are anxious that they might lose what they value.
In such a situation, God comes to Jeremiah. God calls Jeremiah to serve him and to be his witness in this changing and tumultuous world. We can learn a lot from Jeremiah—knowledge that we can apply to our lives today.
ACCEPT THE CALL
Jeremiah was called by the Lord to be a prophet—a person who spoke to God’s people on God’s behalf and encouraged them to renew their relationship with God. At first, Jeremiah did not like his call. He complained that he was too young and didn’t have the ability to speak well. God call Jeremiah anyway. Jeremiah was destined to be a prophet.
Do you believe in destiny? It is something with which we sometimes struggle. Do we work with the understanding that there is a divine plan of which we are a part? Or, do we arrogantly believe that we are able to make independent decisions and determine our future? Certainly as Americans we stress our independence, but as Christians there is another perspective to consider. From a Christian perspective, it might be more helpful not to ask ourselves what we want to be, but rather “how do I fit into the scheme of things?”
Many of us feel called to our vocation. Some of us struggle because we do not feel that we are where we are supposed to be. All of us can deal with the consequences of the fact that we are at the specific time, place and situation that God wants us to be, and we were place there for a purpose.
In changing times God wants us to know, as God did Jeremiah, that we have a specific purpose in these changing times.
LIVE OUT YOUR FAITH
God was not pleased with the manner in which his people were living. Jeremiah calls on God’s people to amend their ways. Jeremiah calls them to confession, repentance and new life.
The people of God, at that time, did not live their faith beyond the walls of the temple. The worship/religion had not effect on their daily lives. Such lives were not what God intended.
God calls his people to be other and outward focused. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to care for the orphan and not oppress the alien.
In changing times, God calls his people to love in word and deed.
TRUST IN THE LORD
The people of Jeremiah’s time thought that they were invincible. They believe that because God had made a covenant with David to continue his line on Israel’s throne that no other nation would be able to defeat them. They believed that no one would ever be able to take over the temple of the Lord. They placed their hope in things rather than in God.
We have a tendency to trust in strength to deliver us. As the people of Jerusalem were called to examine where they were putting their faith, I think we in the United States also need to reflect on where we place our faith. I think sometimes we believe that military might or the exercise of power is what will save us. Are we placing more faith in that then in the Lord?
God calls us to trust only in him. Things may happen that are not what we planned or what we want, but we can still live in the reality that God is in control and that his will is being carried out.
We cannot predict or insure the future.
We can affirm the changes. We can move not to bring back the old, but to establish a new new. In the process, we can live in the reality that God is moving in and through us, and we can affirm that the future is in God’s hands.