By John Ed Mathison
The prophet Jeremiah begins his book with a personal witness for why he was doing what he was doing. It’s not just his witness – it can be your witness and my witness. Jeremiah 1:4 – 8 reveals God’s relationship to Jeremiah. Here are four ingredients of that relationship:
1. God’s eternal love – God loved us and knew us even before we were formed in our mother’s womb. (v.5) His love is not something that occurs when we do good or right – it’s an everlasting love forever and ever and ever.
It’s humbling to think how much God has loves you and me – His love is not based on our performance, but rather on His eternal affirmation of us. It began before we were born and will never end. He loves us, and He loves every person that has yet to be born. If God has a refrigerator today, our pictures are on it!
2. God’s divine purpose – Jeremiah testified that he had appointed him as a spokesman to the world. (v.5) He was created for a divine purpose.
God has a plan and purpose for everyone He creates. The quality of life we enjoy depends on whether or not we find ourselves in the middle of God’s purpose. God has a plan for your life and mine. He’s created a niche for you to fill. He has designed a task for you to accomplish.
Many people just run around in circles and never get anywhere because they haven’t submitted to God’s purpose. For many people life is just a merry-go-round of meaningless activity. It’s so easy to substitute activity for purpose. Life without purpose is like an octopus on roller skates – you see a lot of activity, but he’s not going anywhere!
3. Our human response – The natural response to God’s purpose is seen in verse 6 when Jeremiah said, “I can’t do that.” When God calls us to do something, our natural response is to think that we can’t do it. But God never calls us to any purpose that we can’t fulfill. He never makes a mistake in His call to us.
Jeremiah even had an excuse. He said he was too young. It’s easy for us to make excuses when God places His hand on our shoulder. God did not create us for excuses – He created us for the execution of His plan in our lives. Making excuses only delays what God has planned for us.
4. God’s success promise – God counters Jeremiah’s human response with a promise that “I will be with you and see you through.” (v.8) If we try to live life thinking that we have to be able to do everything, we will be a miserable failure. If we live life knowing that God will be with us and see us through it, we will be successful. God never calls us to a task that, with His strength, we can’t accomplish.
Modern culture teaches us to be “self-made” people. We hear about “pulling ourselves up by our boot straps.” We don’t even have any boots – much less straps! What we do have is a God who can redefine what is possible. Our strength and power comes when we surrender to His will. Trying to accomplish things on our own strength, intelligence, ability and money is futile. Approaching anything in life in God’s strength is a guaranteed success!
Jeremiah’s description of his relationship with God can be our relationship to God. We must recognize and respond to His eternal love and His divine purpose. We can’t settle down in the human response of what we can’t do. We must be always moving forward on His promise that He is with us and will see us through!
I’m joining Jeremiah!