As I was reflecting on my own calling into full-time service, I remembered that of my favorite prophet: Jeremiah. I identify with him more than anyone else in Scripture. His father was a priest, and at a young age, he was called out by God to “go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.” He proclaimed God’s truth to the residents and rulers of Judah during some of her darkest days.
Often misunderstood and persecuted for his words, Jeremiah—periodically and understandably—questioned his calling. He wondered if God had truly set him apart for this purpose since people were not responding they way he thought, hoped, and expected they would.
His prophecy to King Jehoiakim was so entirely unwanted and rejected that “when Jehudi [an officer of the king] had read three or four columns [of Jeremiah’s prophecy]…the king cut it with the scribe’s knife and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the scroll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth” (Jer. 36:23). I just have to pause here for a moment and take that in…Wow!
Every word burned up by his king. As devastating as that must have been, Jeremiah persisted with what the LORD had called him to do, even going so far as to have his scribe re-write the entire scroll.
Despite his personal doubts and questions, in the face of opposition from the very people he was trying to help, Jeremiah remained obedient to the LORD. He never quit—even though he wanted to from time to time— and God used him in a mighty way, equipping him for each and every task.
And despite things not working out how he hoped they would, Jeremiah had such an impact on his community that his words remain for us to this day.
Jeremiah’s life inspires me! And his words resonate with my soul:
But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. (Jeremiah 20:9)