Monday, November 18, 2019

Jeremiah: The New Moses

"Ah, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child” (Jeremiah 1:6).

Jeremiah was the son of Hilkiah, one of the priests of the temple. Because there were so many priests, God instructed David to set them up in 24 “courses” or groups (1 Chronicles 24). Each course served for two weeks in the year under its own chief priest. During the rest of the year, members of the courses resided in towns through Israel as teachers and preachers (compare Luke 1:8–9). Jeremiah grew up in the town of Anathoth in Benjamin.

God appeared to him, saying He had predestined Jeremiah to be a prophet. “Before I formed you in the womb,” said God, “I set you apart. I appointed you as a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5).

Jeremiah protested that he was both too young and a poor speaker. Nobody would listen to him. God should find someone else. This response reminds us of Moses who also protested that he had no speaking ability, but God called him to service anyway (Exodus 3–4).

God’s response to Jeremiah was similar. “Don’t say you are only a child. You will go where I tell you, and you will say exactly what I tell you to say.” This would have reminded the people of Jeremiah’s day of what God told Moses: “You will go to Pharaoh and tell him what I say.”

This is a chilling analogy. The call of Jeremiah establishes that Judah had become Egypt in God’s eyes. Her worship was like the Egyptian worship of false gods. Just as God made war on the gods of Egypt through Moses, so He will make war on the temple through Jeremiah.

This was not only a spiritually appropriate analogy. The people of Judah at this time were strongly drawn to Egypt. They looked to Egypt for protection against Nebuchadnezzar, rejecting God’s statement that He had given the world into Nebuchadnezzar’s hands (see Jeremiah 27). Judah was also adopting Egyptian worship practices when they put Egyptian gods in the temple; all the while they also pretended to worship the Lord. Just as God led His people out of Egypt, so God was going to lead the remnant out of Judah into the wilderness of Babylon and eventually restore them to the land.

Secular humanism is “Egyptian,” and many churches have sold out to this Egyptian leaven. We need Jeremiahs who will call God’s people out of such churches and into faithful remnant churches. Where do you stand? In Egypt or in a true church?