Prophetic Call of Jeremiah


According to Gerald “Jeremiah does not deny his call to be a prophet, but he affirms it from the very depth of his inner self. He realized his nothingness in order to find strength in God and poured out his nothingness to God.  “But Yahweh is at my side, a might hero- Sing to Yahweh, praises Yahweh, for he had delivered the soul of the needy form the hands of evil men.” (Jer 20:11, 13).[1] Jeremiah realized the nearness of God even though he found it was a challenge to accept the call of God. And it was indeed a chance to experience the strength form God even though he found difficult to accept the divine call.

The prophets were anointed with oil. But they received a spiritual anointing for their mission as “God’s spokesmen.” In the case of Jeremiah, prophetic consecration is identified with his vocation to be prophets: “Before you were born, I consecrated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you” (Jer 1: 5).[2]  Jeramiah is the spoke person for God’s word. In God’s relationship with Jeremiah, the initiative is God’s.  Only once it is reported that Jeremiah himself speaks in v6. Jeremiah is God’s person- formed, known, consecrated, and appointed for the particular task of being ‘a prophet to the nations.’[3]

The call of Jeremiah, presents itself as a conversation between Yahweh and Jeremiah. Yahweh is the one who immediately takes the initiative. The Lord “chooses” Jeremiah before birth, “set him apart,” and “appoints” him “a prophet to the nations.”[4]  The call of Jeremiah had actually been issued much earlier before Jeremiah was born and before Yahweh formed him in his mother’s womb. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jer 1:5). [5]  If we accept the Biblical truth that God has a purpose in calling every one of us to Himself, then there is matching sense in which each of us needs to seek the out working of God’s calling in daily life and work. The account of Jeramiah’s call then should not be used simply as a model for pastors and ministers. Doubtless there is a calling to the ministry of the word, for which the stories of the call of the prophet has a particular resonance.[6] For Jeremiah, God was the fountain of Living waters, the source of the life and sustenance of his people Israel. So, he could trust in the divine providence of God.  For his mission he found a real source of strength in the providence of God.[7]

The prophetic vocation of Jeremiah shows that, it is the intention of God. It is not accidental that Jeremiah became the prophet but specifically intended by God Himself. It is the story of every vocation. In this way vocation is a gift – a gratuitous gift of God for whom he intended to give.  Jeremiah was called to an office both sublime and appalling. First, he had to castigate, foretell doom and destruction; only after that could he comfort, offer hope, build and plant.[8]

[1] Gerald A. Arbuckle, Refounding Religious Congregations: Out of   Chaos (New York: Paulist press, 1998), 122.
[2] Gerald A. Arbuckle, Refounding Religious Congregations: Out of   Chaos, 118.
[3] John Martin Bracke, Jeremiah 1-29 (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 200), 17.
[4] Luis Stulamn, Abingdon Old Testament Commentaries: Jeramiah (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2005), 56.
[5] Jack R Lundbom, Jeremiah among the Prophets, 2.
[6] Christopher J.H Wright, The message of Jeremiah (USA:  Intervarsity Press, 2014), 50.
[7] J. A Thompson, A Book of Jeremiah (Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1980),
[8] Walter Brueggemann, Old Testament Theology (New York Cambridge University Press, 2007), 64.

What do you think?