Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost (Sep 1st)

Pastor's Summary of Jeremiah 1:4-10

The people of Israel have strayed from God;s ways. In the late 600s BC, King Josiah guided the people back to godliness by removing all traces of foreign worship and by making Jerusalem the one place of worship. Jeremiah played a key role in Josiah's reforms.

"The word of the LORD" is a characteristic expression in this book: the message Jeremiah proclaims is God's word. The Hebrew word yashar, translated "formed" (v. 5), is a technical term for created; a potter forms clay into pottery. Recall Genesis 2:7-8, where God forms man. The idea that God himself forms a child in its mother's "womb" (v. 5) was accepted. God has known Jeremiah since his first moment of existence-both intellectually and in his capacity for action. Even before that, God dedicated him, separated him for his purposes ("consecrated"), to serve him.

Jeremiah is but a youth ("boy", v. 6-probably in his early twenties), without experience and authority, but God will give him all necessary leadership abilities and support. (Moses' reaction to God's command to lead the people of Israel was similar.) God commissions Jeremiah through the symbolic action of touching his mouth (v. 9). In vv. 5 and 10, the "nations" and "kingdoms" are most likely Assyria, Babylonia, Egypt and Judah: the history of Israel is intertwined with that of the whole Near East. Jeremiah's mission is to do away with corruption and ungodliness, and to promote ethical conduct and godliness, God's instructions to the prophet continue in v. 17. Jeremiah is to be ready for action ("gird up your loins"); he is to respond promptly to God's commands. Mighty as the ungodly are, he is not to flinch, but to "stand up" to them; if he fails to do so, God will "break" him. Even though the deviants will fight against him and persecute him, he will prevail, "for I am with you...to deliver you" (v. 19).