It took a lot for me to not post this right after my last piece on Jeremiah, but I did promise I would try to write about my overflow of Jeremiah thoughts on Fridays AFTER our Bible study class meets on Thursdays. I am, however, actually writing this immediately after the last Jeremiah post because I can’t quite move on in my mind and I am still trying to unpack the wealth of treasure God placed in that first AMAZING chapter.
Going back to the first three verses from last week, God reveals some very important personal information about Jeremiah: he was “the son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin.” In that sentence God tells us that Jeremiah was a priest, which means he was a Levite, the only tribe set apart by God to serve as priests. By telling us that Jeremiah was “of the priests of Anathoth” (a city set apart for the sons of Aaron, see Joshua 21), it is also very possible that Jeremiah was an Aaronite. Aaronites were a very specific group of priests who made all the offerings to the Lord. They also took turns serving as High Priest in the Temple. Other Levites could not serve in these ways.
What has captivated my thoughts is this, Jeremiah grew up expecting to serve in the priesthood just like his father. He expected it and his family expected it. If he was indeed an Aaronite He probably spent time studying and learning how to be a priest and how to appropriately offer all the sacrifices God required (just read the book of Leviticus). His future was defined in many ways simply by the fact that he was born into a certain family. According to God’s own law Jeremiah’s occupation was predetermined for him.
But then, when he was still a youth, “the word of the Lord came” to him and his life was changed forever. He was set apart and called to speak for God Himself as a prophet not just to his own people, but to the nations (and to us if you will). When we explore all 52 chapters of Jeremiah, we find that he carried out his new career plan faithfully. Faithful – that word doesn’t seem adequate to describe a man who endured death threats, beatings, imprisonment and near starvation so that God’s wayward people would hear the truth of His love – there must be a much bigger word to describe a man like that.
The question that is rolling around in my mind is, how do I respond when God’s plan doesn’t match my expectations? Do I faithfully walk in the way He puts before me? Or do I sulk and take myself out of the game because I don’t like the new play God’s calling? Am I willing to lay down my own expectations, even when they seem to be godly, to be part of what God is doing or do I make it all about me?
I don’t know about you, but in a lot of ways my life looks nothing like I expected. Honestly it’s been a lot more difficult than anything I imagined, but would I change any of it? Absolutely not! It’s all brought me to this place, at this time with the people I couldn’t imagine living without. And it’s all brought me to my knees in surrender to the One who sees it all.
Is there something God’s calling you to that doesn’t match your expectations? How will you respond?