Around the year 628 B.C. God called on Jeremiah, a young man from a priestly family to be a prophet. The mantle of priesthood was generally passed from father to son, so as the son of a priest Jeremiah was expected to enter the priesthood as well.
Priests were very important to the Hebrew people. They were the bridge between the people and God. Priests taught the law and guarded the covenant between God and God’s people. They offered incense and offerings on God’s altar on behalf of the people. They sacrificed animals as an act of atonement for their sins.
Even though the priesthood required a huge amount of work and responsibility, the position also had its perks. Priests were highly respected. They had an honorable and secure position in society. The people usually took very good care of their priests.
But Jeremiah never got to experience these joys of priesthood because God had other plans for Jeremiah’s life. When he was a young man God called on Jeremiah to become a prophet—a much less cushy job than the priesthood. And a job that few people relished.
Has God ever done something like that to you? You know…changed your plans midstream? Has God ever turned you around and sent you off in an unexpected direction? Or has God ever called on you to do something that you were absolutely, positively sure that you could not and would not do?
Many of us have had this happen to us, and often our response was to offer excuses. Jeremiah did. “I’m too young. I wouldn’t know what to say. I don’t have the experience for that kind of thing.”
God’s response was, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born I set you apart.” (Jeremiah 1:5)
In other words, “Quit making excuses. If I have set you apart to do this special work, then I will provide the words and deeds and strength that you need to accomplish it.”
God sometimes calls on us to do difficult things. We sometimes make excuses too, and run away from God’s calling for our lives. True faith is not necessarily having the confidence that you can do anything. It is stepping out to take on a challenge even when you think you cannot do it. Faith is believing the word of God when God says, “Do not be afraid. I am with you.”
Tim Hobbs, Pastor
When has God asked you to do something difficult and you accepted the challenge? Share your story with us here.