Today we start reading Jeremiah, who was born as “one of the priests” (verse 1). We are fascinated by the many words from God that he speaks. He was to be the mouthpiece of God to Israel for many years beginning in the reign of good king Josiah, to the disaster of the last king Zedekiah.

“The LORD came to me”, Jeremiah says, telling him, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations” (verse 5). Jeremiah protests, “Ah Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth” (verse 6). God tells him not to say this, “… whatever I command you, you shall speak, Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you” (verses 7,8).

“Then the LORD put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the LORD said to me, ‘Behold I have put my words in your mouth’” (verse 9). It is clear from the words that follow that these divinely inspired messages have applications to situations developing in Israel in the prophet’s lifetime to the future of other nations; and also to events to come in the latter day restoration of Israel: our days. These, as we will see in future chapters, really challenge our thinking.

Jeremiah is a type of Christ, from his birth, through the later traumas of his life till the destruction of Jerusalem. As the inspired mouthpiece of God, he is told, “See I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and break down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant … I am watching over my word to perform it” (verses 10,12). As we read God’s word let us search to see how it has been performed – and will be. The climax of its fulfilment will surely be the most dramatic of all. How close are we to that time? May we ‘hear’ God saying to us, “Be not dismayed … for I am with you, declares the LORD, to deliver you” (verses 17,19).