Summary: When God calls us we will know it and he will equip us to do the job.
Iliff and Saltillo UM Churches
February 1, 2004
“You Can Do This”
INTRODUCTION: How does God communicate with you? Are his plans always clear? Never clear? Are you ever unsure whether it was really God speaking to you?
We probably all have uncertainties that we didn’t hear right. That maybe it wasn’t God after all. Maybe it was “just me” thinking something. We fear “missing God” and “messing up.”
In today’s scripture Jeremiah was a priest by birth and a prophet by calling. His call to be a prophet came in 626 B. C. just five years before the important reforms of Josiah. He lived at a time when society was deteriorating economically, politically, and spiritually and God’s Word was offensive to many people. Sound like our day? Jeremiah was minding his own business when God suddenly barged into his life calling him to be a prophet to the nations. God would “set him over kingdoms, to uproot and tear down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.” It was a big assignment; and if Jeremiah had had any inkling of what God was really calling him to do, he might have protested all the more. His job was one of the toughest ones of all the Hebrew prophets. He had to preach an unpopular message to people who did not want to hear anything he had to say.
1. He Knew It Was the Word of the Lord: Scripture points out specifically that Jeremiah knew it was God speaking to Him. This was probably due more than anything else to his personal faith and fellowship with God. He knew God in a personal way in his life. One theme that he preached over and over was unconditional surrender --the priority of the spiritual over everything else. He indicated that only faithfulness to God could guarantee the nation’s security. Jeremiah recognized God speaking because of his close relationship to Him. He had heard God speak before and he again recognized the Word of the Lord when it came to him.
We can also know that it is God speaking to us when we are living in a close relationship and in fellowship with Him. When we make Him our number one priority, we can identify his Voice in the crowd. John 10:4, 5 likens us to sheep who know the Shepherd’s voice. “He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out...he goes ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice” (v. 4).
There were four things that indicated God knew Jeremiah as well:
a. In verse 5 He said before I formed you...he was a valued person to God His creator. We are valued in the sight of the Lord. Sometimes we don’t think so.
STORY: A preacher was walking past a tattoo shop in Hong King and one tattoo in the window stood out to him--Born to Lose. He went inside and asked, “Why would anyone want to be branded with such a gloomy statement?”
The Old Chinese man shrugged his shoulders and said, “before the tattoo is put on the body it is on the mind.” If “Born to Lose” is implanted in the mind, it shapes the way we live.
God wanted Jeremiah to know that he had value in the sight of God. He was in the sight of God. He was in no way “Born to Lose.”
We need to lift our eyes from circumstances that cause us to think less of ourselves. God has a plan for each of us just like he did when he formed Jeremiah. If we have a “Born to Lose” attitude in our minds, it will hold us back to where we will not be open to what God wants for us.
b. God also said to him, “I knew you or I chose you. I approved of you. God believed in Jeremiah enough to choose him. He picked him out for something special. The Message Bible says, “Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you.” He does the same for each one of us. We have to believe in God’s opinion of us.
c. He went on to say, “I set you apart--consecrated you and sanctified you.
d. The fourth thing he said was, “I appointed you, I gave you a commission--a special assignment. I ordained you a prophet to the nations.
These four blessings were significant to Jeremiah:
c. set apart
If you were to hear these words from God and you knew it was God, would they be a surprise? What evidence in your life do you see of God’s knowledge of your life?
2. Jeremiah’s Response: Immediately Jeremiah spoke up and said, “Hold it right there God.” “Thank you, but no thank you.” Jeremiah was struck with terror over the magnitude of His Word. He pled youth and inexperience. “Not me, God. Let George do it. I’m too young. They won’t listen to me. I’m only a child. No Way. I can’t do this.”