Summary: God's calling is not always what we expect.
1. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “The responsible person, seeks to make his or her whole life, a response to the call of God.”
2. We begin with the call of Jeremiah, a man who clearly gave his life to fulfilling the call of God.
3. The Call of Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 1:1-3 (NKJV)
1 The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin,
2 to whom the word of the LORD came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign.
3 It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month.
I. For starters, his call was Different then expected. 1:1
A. His Family – Hilkiah, “the Lord is my portion.”
Portion of Jehovah.
(1.) 1Ch 6:54.
(2.) 1Ch 26:11.
(3.) The father of Eliakim (2Ki 18:18, 26, 37).
(4.) The father of Gemariah (Jer 29:3).
(5.) The father of the prophet Jeremiah (Jer 1:1).
(6.) The high priest in the reign of Josiah (1Ch 6:13; Ezra 7:1). To him and his deputy (2Ki 23:5), along with the ordinary priests and the Levites who had charge of the gates, was entrusted the purification of the temple in Jerusalem. While this was in progress, he discovered in some hidden corner of the building a book called the "book of the law" (2Ki 22:8) and the "book of the covenant" (2Ki 23:2). Some have supposed that this "book" was nothing else than the original autograph copy of the Pentateuch written by Moses (Deut 31:9-26). This remarkable discovery occurred in the eighteenth year of Josiah's reign (B.C. 624), a discovery which permanently affected the whole subsequent history of Israel. (See JOSIAH; SHAPHAN.)
(7.) Neh 12:7.
(8.) Neh 8:4.
B. His expected Ministry.
Since his father was a priest, and his fathers, father was a priest, etc., it was expected that Jeremiah would be a priest.
C. His Locality – AN-uh-thoth.
The name of one of the cities of refuge, in the tribe of Benjamin (Jos 21:18). The Jews, as a rule, did not change the names of the towns they found in Palestine; hence this town may be regarded as deriving its name from the goddess Anat. It was the native place of Abiezer, one of David's "thirty" (2Sa 23:27), and of Jehu, another of his mighty men (1Ch 12:3). It is chiefly notable, however, as the birth-place and usual residence of Jeremiah (Jer 1:1; Jer 11:21-23; Jer 29:27; Jer 32:7-9). It suffered greatly from the army of Sennacherib, and only 128 men returned to it from the Exile (Neh 7:27; Ezra 2:23). It lay about 3 miles north of Jerusalem. It has been identified with the small and poor village of 'Anata, containing about 100 inhabitants.
Trans: Jeremiah’s calling was Different then he expected. He naturally thought that he would be a Priest but God called him to be a Prophet.
“Serving as a prophet was much more demanding then serving as a priest. For one thing, a priests duties were predictable. Just about everything he had to do was written down in the Law…A prophet, never knew from one day to the next what the Lord would call him to say or do…Priests didn’t preach to the crowds very much, but ministered primarily to individuals.
Prophets, on the other hand, addressed whole nations, and usually the people they addressed didn’t want to hear the message. Priests belongs to a special tribe and therefore came with authority and respect, but a prophet could come from any tribe.
[Being from the Priestly tribe, Jeremiah was probably often told he should stick to what he was born to do!]. Priests were supported from the sacrifices and offerings of the people, but prophets had no guarantee income.” [Wiersbe]
God is often unpredictable. Often His calling is different then what we or others expect. It doesn’t matter – just be thrilled to be called! Eph. 2:10
Martin Luther King Jr., “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted or Beethoven played music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street-sweeper who did his job well” and we could add “for the glory of God.”
II. Furthermore, his call was during a time of Deceit.
A. King Josiah.
Son of Amon and great-grandson of Hezekiah, a pious king of Judah, who introduced great reforms in the temple worship, and in the religious character of the nation in general. No king set himself more earnestly to destroy every vestige of idolatry out of the land. Among other things, he defiled the altars of the idols at Bethel by burning upon them the bones from the tombs of their deceased priests; as had been foretold more than three centuries before, 1 Kings 13:2. While cleaning and repairing the temple at his command, the priests found the temple copy of the five books of the law, perhaps the original copy from Moses' own hand. The sacred book was too much neglected in those days of declension; and even the pious Josiah seems to have been impressed by the closing chapters of Deuteronomy as though he had never read them before. To avert the judgments there threatened, he humbled himself before God, and sought to bring the people to repentance. He caused them to renew their covenant with Jehovah, and celebrated the Passover with a solemnity like that of its first institution. The repentance of the people was heartless, and did not avert the divine judgments. Josiah, however, was taken away from the evil to come. He met death in battle with Pharaohnecho, whose passage across his territory to attack the king of Assyria, Josiah felt obliged to resist. The death of this wise and pious king was deeply lamented, by the prophet Jeremiah and all the people, Zechariah 12:11. He began to reign B. C. 641, at the age of eight years, and reigned thirty-one years, 2 Kings 22:1-23:37; 2 Chronicles 34:1-35:27. A Dictionary of the Holy Bible.