Opening Prayer

Lord, even when I lack physical vitality, I long for spiritual vitality. Keep my spirit strong and eager, flexible and teachable.


1 The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the priests at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin. The word of the Lord came to him in the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah, and through the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, down to the fifth month of the eleventh year of Zedekiah son of Josiah king of Judah, when the people of Jerusalem went into exile.

The Call of Jeremiah

The word of the Lord came to me, saying,

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew[a] you,
    before you were born I set you apart;
    I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

“Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”

But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.

Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth. 10 See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”

11 The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you see, Jeremiah?”

“I see the branch of an almond tree,” I replied.

12 The Lord said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching[b] to see that my word is fulfilled.”

13 The word of the Lord came to me again: “What do you see?”

“I see a pot that is boiling,” I answered. “It is tilting toward us from the north.”

14 The Lord said to me, “From the north disaster will be poured out on all who live in the land. 15 I am about to summon all the peoples of the northern kingdoms,” declares the Lord.

“Their kings will come and set up their thrones
    in the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem;
they will come against all her surrounding walls
    and against all the towns of Judah.
16 I will pronounce my judgments on my people
    because of their wickedness in forsaking me,
in burning incense to other gods
    and in worshiping what their hands have made.

17 “Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them. 18 Today I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land—against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests and the people of the land. 19 They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.


  1. Jeremiah 1:5 Or chose
  2. Jeremiah 1:12 The Hebrew for watching sounds like the Hebrew for almond tree.

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


Lay aside your preconceptions and invite God to open these chapters to you in a new, vivid, and relevant way.

Think Further

Like a Hollywood blockbuster, the book of Jeremiah opens with the set-up: the context and the potential narrative. The book spans over 40 years and the reigns of three kings of Judah: Josiah, Jehoiakim, and Zedekiah. Jeremiah’s backstory is given: his priestly heritage and, more importantly, his role in a divine plan that existed from before his conception. Next comes the commission: to go where God sends him, to speak the words God commands and to face the fears within and without, knowing that God is with him. Our hero’s initial response is that of many a biblical character chosen by God: ‘Who? Me?’ Finally, however, with God’s encouragement, he turns to face the task ahead, symbolized in two visions: the evil hordes pouring out of the north toward the gates of Jerusalem, and God (like the branch of an almond tree) overlooking the drama.

Jeremiah’s expectation in life was to become a priest. A man was a priest by birth into a priestly family. A prophet, by contrast, was a prophet by God’s choice, a spokesman (or occasionally a woman) for a specific time. Jeremiah’s prophetic responsibility was to deconstruct the social, political and religious life of Judah in the hope of rebuilding and replanting. The nation, despite the reforms initially introduced in Josiah’s reign, had drifted into idolatry.

There is a prophetic imperative given to all Christian believers. We are to speak truth to power, not merely within the confines of our church community but also in local, national, and international contexts. God overlooks, empowers, and protects us as we highlight anything that devalues his perfect plan and purpose for his creation.


Choose an issue of injustice. What prevents you from speaking out? Youth? Age? Insignificance? Lack of education? Invite God to touch your mouth and to provide his words.

Closing prayer

Merciful Lord, my natural inclination is to be served, rather than to serve. Help me to embrace the reverse, and to be your faithful servant as Jeremiah was.

Last Updated on April 19, 2023 by kingstar

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