Does this sound a bit familiar? We read Jeremiah 1:1-3:5 today and listen to God choosing Jeremiah to speak truth to power. Jeremiah, a young prophet in the smallest tribe of Israel responds with the question so many of God’s chosen leaders have said, “Who am I to be chosen?” Moses claimed he was not eloquent also. Samuel was just a lad when he first heard God’s voice. We look at ourselves and feel inadequate but God often sees that which we do not even realize in ourselves and he calls. We whine, “I do not know how to speak; I am too ….” But God says, “I have chosen you.”
God is distressed with Israel whom he compares to being his bride. “But my people have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols….My people have committed two sins; they have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” Israel has turned its back on the history of God’s faithfulness to chase false idols. He compares the idols to a block of wood that the idol maker carves into an idol to sell to someone who puts it on the shelf and then the maker burns the wood shavings to bake his bread. I wonder if so many of the things we chase after, things like money, fame, and talent are not indeed empty idols that can only carry us so far in life but not into eternity.
One famous verses that people love to quote from Jeremiah comes from Jeremiah 29:11, “’For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”’ Despite the waywardness of Israel, God continues sending prophets to speak truth, to remind them of their history and who they are, and to remind them that he is the real God who cares for them.
Can you think of a problem that is confronting you right now? It might be that you feel young and unequal to the task of living into the situation and yet somehow God has allowed it to come into your life. Or perhaps you need to push the “reset” button and take a break and remember all of God’s goodness to you through your life. It is so easy to focus on our problems. God is not a wooden block that we use half to cook our meal and use half to carve an idol to pray to. God is a real being who sees us as his cherished bride and desires to grow a relationship with us.