KID’S CORNER 

 

Kid’s Corner
God Known Before We Were Born
July 16, 2017
Jeremiah 1:4-10

Jeremiah 1:4-10
(Jeremiah 1:4) Now the word of the LORD came to me saying,
Jeremiah preached forty years beginning in the thirteenth year of King Josiah (640-609 BC) and after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC (probably until 580 BC). Jeremiah was taken to Egypt against his will where he died. “The word of the LORD” means God spoke directly to Jeremiah, and he recorded God’s words to him through the scribe Baruch, who wrote them on a scroll (Jeremiah 36:4).
(Jeremiah 1:5) “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
God saw the apostasy of the Kingdom of Judah before He planned the birth of Jeremiah, and God knew the kingdom would not repent and return to obedience in response to King Josiah’s reforms or Jeremiah’s preaching. God created Jeremiah in the womb to be His prophet, and before Jeremiah was born God consecrated and appointed him to His service. Similar to Samuel and John the Baptist. God created Jeremiah to speak His words to His rebellious people and to the nations around them. History shows that God fulfilled all His words through Jeremiah and God’s words can be trusted.
(Jeremiah 1:6) Then I said, “Alas, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, Because I am a youth.”
Similar to Moses, Jeremiah told God with solemn humility that he was not good at public speaking; furthermore, he was too young or too inexperienced to represent God, and probably knew that people would not listen to him because he was so young. He thought no king or subject in the kingdom would heed his words or believe that God would speak through someone so young. He did acknowledge that God was his sovereign ruler, and he recognized God’s right to rule over him and all the nations of the earth. Jeremiah did not tell God “No,” but he thought he gave God good and reasonable excuses not to be a prophet at his young age. As his Sovereign LORD, Jeremiah acknowledged that he would do whatever God wanted him to do at whatever age.
(Jeremiah 1:7) But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ Because everywhere I send you, you shall go, And all that I command you, you shall speak.
God needed a young man who would have the strength to confront anyone high or low, and God would increase Jeremiah’s strength whenever needed. God also needed a young man who would preach effectively for at least forty years to Israel and the surrounding nations. Moreover, God had created Jeremiah to begin serving Him as a prophet when he was a young man. Jeremiah must go wherever God sent him and say whatever God commanded, and God wanted Jeremiah to begin as a young man. If Jeremiah preached what God commanded, he would not need to be an eloquent orator, and the repentance of the people did not depend upon Jeremiah being an eloquent speaker or upon his age.
(Jeremiah 1:8) “Do not be afraid of them, For I am with you to deliver you,” declares the LORD.
As a young man, Jeremiah was probably terrified to think of speaking to the King and nobles of Judah, but God began by sending Jeremiah to a good and godly king, King Josiah, and Jeremiah publicly supported King Josiah’s reforms. As Jeremiah gained confidence and experience, he courageously declared words of warning to all the corrupt kings and priests before and after the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC. No matter how young or how old, or how well or how poorly Jeremiah could speak, God promised to be with him and enable him to do whatever He asked Jeremiah to do. Jeremiah was persecuted and imprisoned for his preaching, but God always rescued him until his work was done.
(Jeremiah 1:9) Then the LORD stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me, “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.
Jeremiah did not describe his vision of the LORD as Isaiah did. Isaiah saw God high and lifted up, and Isaiah’s mouth was touched with a fiery coal by an angel to purify his lips. The LORD reached out his hand and touched Jeremiah’s mouth. God made clear to Jeremiah (and from his words, Jeremiah’s listeners should have believed) that He had put His words in Jeremiah’s mouth. Jeremiah was not preaching his political and religious conclusions based upon his observations and study; rather, he was preaching and would have Baruch record for others and us the very words of God.
(Jeremiah 1:10) “See, I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms, To pluck up and to break down, To destroy and to overthrow, To build and to plant.”
As God’s ambassador and prophet, Jeremiah represented God before the people and the kings and rulers of the nations. What Jeremiah foretold was what God planned to do because of the idolatry and evil ways of his people and the nations surrounding them. God would do what Jeremiah said, and Jeremiah declared what God would do in judgment against Judah, Jerusalem, and the nations. God fulfilled Jeremiah’s words through the Babylonians when they destroyed the temple and the city of Jerusalem as he foretold and warned. Most of Jeremiah’s preaching would be words of judgment and warning (plucking up and breaking down), but Jeremiah also foretold that the Judean exiles would return from Babylon, and they would rebuild their city and temple (to build and to plant): see Jeremiah 25:12 and 29:10. Moreover, he foretold that God would make a new covenant with His people, which Jesus fulfilled when He came and made a new covenant in His blood about 500 years later: see Jeremiah 31:31.
Jeremiah 25:12, 12 And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the Lord, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations.

Jeremiah 29:10, 10 For thus saith the Lord, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.

Jeremiah 31:31, 31 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:

God Known Before We Were Born
July 16, 2017
Jeremiah 1:4-10

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5).
In the Bible, we learn how God called special people to do special tasks. Pharaoh’s daughter saved Moses, and he met God at the burning bush. Isaiah saw God high and lifted up, and an angel cleansed his unclean lips. The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, and God told him that He had set him apart to be a prophet before he was born. John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit before he was born. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the virgin Mary. God called each one to do His work in His way to change history and countless lives. God has not called us to do what these people did, but let us remember two ways that we are like them. First, we know this truth about every person, “God created people in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). Second, in the womb, God personally creates and makes every person special: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalms 139:13- 14). We will never be famous Bible heroes, but God created each of us in His image for His purposes. Each of us can become servants of the Most High God, and every servant of God can love God and others, reflect the glory of God, and help others come to trust in and delight in God.
Genesis 1:27, 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Psalm 139:13-14, 13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

Thinking Further
God Known Before We Were Born
July 16, 2017
Jeremiah 1:4-10

1. Give some reasons why people can trust the Book of Jeremiah to be true.

2. Knowing the nation would not repent, give some reasons why you think God sent Jeremiah to preach in Jerusalem.

3. What are some ways Jeremiah and John the Baptist are similar and/or different?

4. What did God command Jeremiah to do?

5. What are some of the ways Jeremiah’s prophecies were fulfilled?

Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further
1. Give some reasons why people can trust the Book of Jeremiah to be true.The book is in the Bible, and God inspired the Bible. God fulfilled Jeremiah’s prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem. God fulfilled Jeremiah’s prophecy about the time of the return from exile in Babylon. God put His words in Jeremiah’s mouth. Jeremiah foretold God’s judgment on Babylon, which happened. Jeremiah foretold that God would make a new covenant, which God did when He sent Jesus Christ into the world to make a new covenant in His blood. The Holy Spirit helps us when we study Jeremiah.
2. Knowing the nation would not repent, give some reasons why you think God sent Jeremiah to preach in Jerusalem.God wanted to show that He could work through and with someone who thought he was too young and could not speak. Jeremiah’s preaching might save some individuals who would believe him and repent of their sins, either before or after Jerusalem fell. God wanted to show that His words could be trusted and He was the Sovereign LORD overall and over all nations. God wanted to show that He was a just God who expected all the nations of the earth to turn from their idolatry and obey His Law, the Law of Love. Through Jeremiah, God could show why a new covenant was needed, and God could foretell that He would make a new covenant.
3. What are some ways Jeremiah and John the Baptist are similar and/or different?Both were chosen and appointed by God to be prophets before they were born. Both foretold something about the coming of the Messiah or the making of a new covenant.
4. What did God command Jeremiah to do?Go wherever He sent him, say whatever He commanded him, and not be afraid. God appointed him over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.
5. What are some of the ways Jeremiah’s prophecies were fulfilled?The temple and the city of Jerusalem were destroyed. The exiles who survived returned from Babylon and the city of Jerusalem was rebuilt. Jesus came and made a new covenant in His blood.

Word Search
God Known Before We Were Born
July 16, 2017
Jeremiah 1:4-10
Name ________________________________

D N M F X K U B N S G X P B T
R X W S L P Q S X B T F D U N
C E D N U F A F W Q M C R I E
M K I O B L T N A L P O S L N
Z T A I A F D S M R D M W D G
B V R T H W U E O V T M X J I
X E F A O S D P T P G A Z G E
G O A N E E H R Y N M N X O R
C T X J U E Z P O O I D P T E
O N O C T C F H A L U O M G V
F V S O Y O R T S E D N P Y O
J E J M R J F O R M E D G P S
R T G L S P Z J K W N Q E V A
V Q D R O W U T M S A M H P M
R L M L Z Y M R Y W J K N E W

Word
Formed
LORD
Womb
Knew
Appointed
Prophet
Nations
Sovereign
Alas
Young
Command
Afraid
Rescue
Uproot
Destroy
Build
Plant

True and False Test
God Known Before We Were Born
July 16, 2017
Jeremiah 1:4-10
Name ___________________________

Circle the true or false answers. Correct the false statements by restating them.
1. When Jeremiah was reading the Law of God, he decided that he needed to share what he was learning, so he became a preacher. True or False
2. God knew Jeremiah before God formed him in the womb. True or False
3. Before Jeremiah was born, God set him apart and appointed him as a prophet. True or False
4. God told Jeremiah that he was to preach only to the Kingdom of Israel. True or False
5. Jeremiah told God that he did not know how to speak. True or False
6. God told Jeremiah that he was too young to become a prophet and that he needed to study the Law of God fifteen more years before he would know enough to serve Him. True or False
7. God told Jeremiah that he must go wherever He sent him and say whatever He commanded him. True or False
8. The LORD put His words in Jeremiah’s mouth. True or False
9. Everyone welcomed Jeremiah’s good news gladly! True or False
10. God told Jeremiah to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, and to build and to plant. True or False

Answers to the True and False Test
Jeremiah 1:4-10

1. False
2. True
3. True
4. False
5. True
6. False
7. True
8. True
9. False
10. True

Prayer
Father, help us avoid the extremes of fearful silence and go-it-alone arrogance! Let us rather be always and only Your instruments to speak the words of confrontation and comfort as You enable us. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Page 10 of 10

 

ADULT LESSON

 

Sunday School Lesson
July 16
Jeremiah

Devotional Reading: Psalm 75
Psalm 75, 1 Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare.
2 When I shall receive the congregation I will judge uprightly.
3 The earth and all the inhabitants thereof are dissolved: I bear up the pillars of it. Selah.
4 I said unto the fools, Deal not foolishly: and to the wicked, Lift not up the horn:
5 Lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck.
6 For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.
7 But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.
8 For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture; and he poureth out of the same: but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them.
9 But I will declare for ever; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.
10 All the horns of the wicked also will I cut off; but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.
Background Scripture: Jeremiah 1
Jeremiah 1:4-10
4 Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
6 Then said I, Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.
7 But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.
8 Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord.
9 Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.
10 See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.
Key Verse
Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord. —Jeremiah 1:8
Lesson Aims
After participating in this lesson, each learner will be able to:
1. Describe the Lord’s intent for Jeremiah’s prophetic ministry.
2. Explain how the gospel accomplishes the objectives given to the prophet in Jeremiah 1:10.
Jeremiah 1:10, 10 See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.
3. Propose a strategy for presenting the gospel to one or more people groups that are especially hostile to its message.
Introduction
A. When I Grow Up …
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
When children are asked that question, their answers are remarkably consistent. Occupations such as doctor, athlete, teacher, dancer, police officer, firefighter, scientist, musician, actor, and nurse are common responses.
Regional differences also affect the choices. A child growing up in Silicon Valley might want to be a video-game designer while a child from rural Wisconsin may aspire to be a dairy farmer. Of course, childhood fantasy becomes a consideration with the appearance of such goals as becoming a princess, a superhero, a dinosaur, a mermaid, etc. As people grow older, we expect the answers to that question to become more realistic and not grounded in fantasy. We would look with more than a little surprise at a 19-year-old who still wants to be a superhero!
We probably can recall being asked this same question many times as children, and our responses became more realistic as the years passed. But how many who are reading this now were ever told specifically and honestly, “When you reach adulthood, your career will be that of a ____”? As far-fetched as this may sound, something of the sort did happen to a young man named Jeremiah. He was not asked what he wanted to be; he was told! Jeremiah came from a priestly background (Jeremiah 1:1), but God had other plans for him.
Jeremiah 1:1, 1 The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin:
B. Lesson Background
The prophet Jeremiah began his ministry “in the days of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign” (Jeremiah 1:2). By modern reckoning, that was about 626 BC. These times were increasingly chaotic times in the southern kingdom of Judah. Although the Assyrian threat—which resulted in the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel in 722 BC (2 Kings 17:18)—no longer existed, it was being replaced by Babylonian aggression.
Jeremiah 1:2, 2 To whom the word of the Lord came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign.

2 Kings 17:18, 18 Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only.
Godliness and holiness on the part of the Judeans, not military might, was the key to staving off disaster. Only reliance on and dedication to the true God would turn aside the threat of foreign invasion. In that regard, things may have looked hopeful for a time because of godly King Josiah’s dedication to the Lord (2 Chronicles 34:1-35:19). But the spiritual condition of Judah took a quick and fatal turn for the worse after he died in 609 BC.
2 Chronicles 34:1-35:19, 34 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem one and thirty years.
2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left.
3 For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images.
4 And they brake down the altars of Baalim in his presence; and the images, that were on high above them, he cut down; and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images, he brake in pieces, and made dust of them, and strowed it upon the graves of them that had sacrificed unto them.
5 And he burnt the bones of the priests upon their altars, and cleansed Judah and Jerusalem.
6 And so did he in the cities of Manasseh, and Ephraim, and Simeon, even unto Naphtali, with their mattocks round about.
7 And when he had broken down the altars and the groves, and had beaten the graven images into powder, and cut down all the idols throughout all the land of Israel, he returned to Jerusalem.
8 Now in the eighteenth year of his reign, when he had purged the land, and the house, he sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, and Maaseiah the governor of the city, and Joah the son of Joahaz the recorder, to repair the house of the Lord his God.
9 And when they came to Hilkiah the high priest, they delivered the money that was brought into the house of God, which the Levites that kept the doors had gathered of the hand of Manasseh and Ephraim, and of all the remnant of Israel, and of all Judah and Benjamin; and they returned to Jerusalem.
10 And they put it in the hand of the workmen that had the oversight of the house of the Lord, and they gave it to the workmen that wrought in the house of the Lord, to repair and amend the house:
11 Even to the artificers and builders gave they it, to buy hewn stone, and timber for couplings, and to floor the houses which the kings of Judah had destroyed.
12 And the men did the work faithfully: and the overseers of them were Jahath and Obadiah, the Levites, of the sons of Merari; and Zechariah and Meshullam, of the sons of the Kohathites, to set it forward; and other of the Levites, all that could skill of instruments of musick.
13 Also they were over the bearers of burdens, and were overseers of all that wrought the work in any manner of service: and of the Levites there were scribes, and officers, and porters.
14 And when they brought out the money that was brought into the house of the Lord, Hilkiah the priest found a book of the law of the Lordgiven by Moses.
15 And Hilkiah answered and said to Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord. And Hilkiah delivered the book to Shaphan.
16 And Shaphan carried the book to the king, and brought the king word back again, saying, All that was committed to thy servants, they do it.
17 And they have gathered together the money that was found in the house of the Lord, and have delivered it into the hand of the overseers, and to the hand of the workmen.
18 Then Shaphan the scribe told the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath given me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king.
19 And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the law, that he rent his clothes.
20 And the king commanded Hilkiah, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Abdon the son of Micah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah a servant of the king’s, saying,
21 Go, enquire of the Lord for me, and for them that are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found: for great is the wrath of the Lord that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord, to do after all that is written in this book.
22 And Hilkiah, and they that the king had appointed, went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvath, the son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college:) and they spake to her to that effect.
23 And she answered them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Tell ye the man that sent you to me,
24 Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the curses that are written in the book which they have read before the king of Judah:
25 Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be poured out upon this place, and shall not be quenched.
26 And as for the king of Judah, who sent you to enquire of the Lord, so shall ye say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel concerning the words which thou hast heard;
27 Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard thee also, saith theLord.
28 Behold, I will gather thee to thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered to thy grave in peace, neither shall thine eyes see all the evil that I will bring upon this place, and upon the inhabitants of the same. So they brought the king word again.
29 Then the king sent and gathered together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem.
30 And the king went up into the house of the Lord, and all the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the priests, and the Levites, and all the people, great and small: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant that was found in the house of the Lord.
31 And the king stood in his place, and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep his commandments, and his testimonies, and his statutes, with all his heart, and with all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant which are written in this book.
32 And he caused all that were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin to stand to it. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers.
33 And Josiah took away all the abominations out of all the countries that pertained to the children of Israel, and made all that were present in Israel to serve, even to serve the Lord their God. And all his days they departed not from following the Lord, the God of their fathers.
35 Moreover Josiah kept a passover unto the Lord in Jerusalem: and they killed the passover on the fourteenth day of the first month.
2 And he set the priests in their charges, and encouraged them to the service of the house of the Lord,
3 And said unto the Levites that taught all Israel, which were holy unto the Lord, Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon the son of David king of Israel did build; it shall not be a burden upon your shoulders: serve now the Lord your God, and his people Israel,
4 And prepare yourselves by the houses of your fathers, after your courses, according to the writing of David king of Israel, and according to the writing of Solomon his son.
5 And stand in the holy place according to the divisions of the families of the fathers of your brethren the people, and after the division of the families of the Levites.
6 So kill the passover, and sanctify yourselves, and prepare your brethren, that they may do according to the word of the Lord by the hand of Moses.
7 And Josiah gave to the people, of the flock, lambs and kids, all for the passover offerings, for all that were present, to the number of thirty thousand, and three thousand bullocks: these were of the king’s substance.
8 And his princes gave willingly unto the people, to the priests, and to the Levites: Hilkiah and Zechariah and Jehiel, rulers of the house of God, gave unto the priests for the passover offerings two thousand and six hundred small cattle and three hundred oxen.
9 Conaniah also, and Shemaiah and Nethaneel, his brethren, and Hashabiah and Jeiel and Jozabad, chief of the Levites, gave unto the Levites for passover offerings five thousand small cattle, and five hundred oxen.
10 So the service was prepared, and the priests stood in their place, and the Levites in their courses, according to the king’s commandment.
11 And they killed the passover, and the priests sprinkled the blood from their hands, and the Levites flayed them.
12 And they removed the burnt offerings, that they might give according to the divisions of the families of the people, to offer unto the Lord, as it is written in the book of Moses. And so did they with the oxen.
13 And they roasted the passover with fire according to the ordinance: but the other holy offerings sod they in pots, and in caldrons, and in pans, and divided them speedily among all the people.
14 And afterward they made ready for themselves, and for the priests: because the priests the sons of Aaron were busied in offering of burnt offerings and the fat until night; therefore the Levites prepared for themselves, and for the priests the sons of Aaron.
15 And the singers the sons of Asaph were in their place, according to the commandment of David, and Asaph, and Heman, and Jeduthun the king’s seer; and the porters waited at every gate; they might not depart from their service; for their brethren the Levites prepared for them.
16 So all the service of the Lord was prepared the same day, to keep the passover, and to offer burnt offerings upon the altar of the Lord, according to the commandment of king Josiah.
17 And the children of Israel that were present kept the passover at that time, and the feast of unleavened bread seven days.
18 And there was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did all the kings of Israel keep such a passover as Josiah kept, and the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel that were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
19 In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah was this passover kept.
Four ungodly kings followed him, the final one being his son Zedekiah. It was he who was on the throne when the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem and destroyed Solomon’s great temple in 586 BC (2 Kings 24:18-25:7; Jeremiah 1:3).
2 Kings 24:18-25:7, 18 Zedekiah was twenty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.
19 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that Jehoiakim had done.
20 For through the anger of the Lord it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, until he had cast them out from his presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.
25 And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he, and all his host, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it; and they built forts against it round about.
2 And the city was besieged unto the eleventh year of king Zedekiah.
3 And on the ninth day of the fourth month the famine prevailed in the city, and there was no bread for the people of the land.
4 And the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled by night by the way of the gate between two walls, which is by the king’s garden: (now the Chaldees were against the city round about:) and the king went the way toward the plain.
5 And the army of the Chaldees pursued after the king, and overtook him in the plains of Jericho: and all his army were scattered from him.
6 So they took the king, and brought him up to the king of Babylon to Riblah; and they gave judgment upon him.
7 And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him with fetters of brass, and carried him to Babylon.

Jeremiah 1:3, 3 It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month.
Another issue of background is Jeremiah’s hometown of Anathoth (Jeremiah 1:1). This village was located in the tribal territory of Benjamin, about three miles north-northeast of Jerusalem. Anathoth was a Levite town, a convenient residence for workers in the Jerusalem temple. As a resident of this town, Jeremiah undoubtedly thought he would follow in his father’s footsteps in terms of career. But God had other plans.
Jeremiah 1:1, 1 The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin:
I. God’s Plan (Jeremiah 1:4, 5)
A. Jeremiah Foreknown (vv. 4, 5a)
4. Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying.
The first three verses of the book are written in the third person; now the text switches to first person (me). Although we’re only four verses into the book at this point, this is not the first mention of the word of the Lord coming to Jeremiah. The previous two verses indicate that the word of the Lord begins to come to him during the reign of Josiah and continues to do so through the reign of Zedekiah (see the Lesson Background). This is a total of about 40 years (626-586 BC).

How to Say It
Anathoth An-uh-thoth.
Assyrian Uh-sear-e-un.
Babylonian Bab-ih-low-nee-un.
Goliath Go-lye-uth.
Hananiah Han-uh-nye-uh.
Jehoiakim Jeh-hoy-uh-kim.
Josiah Jo-sigh-uh.
Leviticus Leh-vit-ih-kus.
Seraphims sair-uh-fims.
Zedekiah Zed-uh-kye-uh.

5a. Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee;
The Lord has been active on Jeremiah’s behalf long before this moment. The four verbs used of the Lord in the three segments of verse 5 reveal the intimacy of His care for Jeremiah.
First, we note that the word formed translates a Hebrew verb that is rendered as a noun as “the thing framed” by a potter, one who shapes objects from clay, in Isaiah 29:16. Jeremiah will later be commanded by the Lord to go to a potter’s house and learn a lesson from watching the potter work with clay (compare Jeremiah 18:1-11).
Isaiah 29:16, 16 Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?

Jeremiah 18:1-11, 18 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying,
2 Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.
3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.
4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.
5 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.
7 At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it;
8 If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.
9 And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it;
10 If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.
11 Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: return ye now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good.
In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word translated belly is used of a person’s stomach (Judges 3:21, 22) and an animal’s stomach (Job 40:15, 16), as well as of a woman’s womb, as here (also Genesis 25:23, 24; 38:27). It is synonymous for the word that is rendered womb in verse 5b, next. The intent is clear: God’s creative activity includes the life in the womb, a point underlined by David in Psalm 139:13.
Judges 3:21, 21 And Ehud put forth his left hand, and took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly:

Judges 3:22, 22 And the haft also went in after the blade; and the fat closed upon the blade, so that he could not draw the dagger out of his belly; and the dirt came out.

Job 40:15, 15 Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox.

Job 40:16, 16 Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly.

Genesis 25:23, 23 And the Lord said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

Genesis 25:24, 24 And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.
Genesis 38:27, 27 And it came to pass in the time of her travail, that, behold, twins were in her womb.

Psalm 139:13, 13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.
The verb in the phrase I knew thee conveys a sense of intimacy. This word is often used to portray sexual intimacy between a husband and his wife (Genesis 4:1, 17; 1 Samuel 1:19), but that is not the case here, of course. David conveys in Psalm 139:1, 2 a similar message about God’s knowledge of the present (“Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising”), connecting it with God’s foreknowledge in 139:16.
Genesis 4:1, 1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord.

Genesis 4:17, 17 And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.

1 Samuel 1:19, 19 And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before theLord, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the Lord remembered her.

Psalm 139:1, 139 O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.

Psalm 139:2, 2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.

Psalm 139:16, 16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
Ownership
Pottery making is a very old art, still practiced around the world. In developed countries it tends to be done for artistic reasons more than practical ones.
In few places is this more evident than in the one-stoplight town of Seagrove, North Carolina. More than 100 potters call it home, and Seagrove is one of the oldest and largest pottery-making centers in the nation. The town’s pottery businesses are housed in old homes, log cabins, and former stores and gas stations.
Deposits of natural clay in the region make the abundance of pottery possible. Even so, no tourist thinks, I have a right to take any pottery with me for free because the stuff it’s made from is little more than abundant dirt. The potters’ work in forming and shaping creates the value!
God used the language of forming pottery in calling Jeremiah to be a prophet. This reminded Jeremiah of the divine claim on him that existed before his birth. It is the same claim that God has on us today (Romans 9:20, 21). He formed us, not we Him (Acts 17:29). —C. R. B.
Romans 9:20, 20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?

Romans 9:21, 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

Acts 17:29, 29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.
B. Jeremiah Foreordained (vv. 5b, c)
5b. And before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee,
To be sanctified is to be set apart. It is applies in the Old Testament to both people (such as the Israelites in Leviticus 20:26, who are described as “severed”) and objects (such as altars and their accessories in Exodus 40:10).
Leviticus 20:26, 26 And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the Lord am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.

Exodus 40:10, 10 And thou shalt anoint the altar of the burnt offering, and all his vessels, and sanctify the altar: and it shall be an altar most holy.
For Jeremiah this setting apart will become much more than just ritual or ceremony. It will also define the (sometimes harsh) reality of his prophetic ministry. Jeremiah’s uncompromising message of judgment will set him apart from rebellious kings (like Zedekiah), fraudulent priests (like Pashur in Jeremiah 20:1, 2), false prophets (like Hananiah in chapter 28), and those of the general populace who believe that the mere presence of the temple will guarantee safety from any foreign oppressor (7:1-15). Even the people of Jeremiah’s hometown will command him to stop prophesying or face death (11:21-23).
Jeremiah 20:1, 1 Now Pashur the son of Immer the priest, who was also chief governor in the house of the Lord, heard that Jeremiah prophesied these things.

Jeremiah 20:2, 2 Then Pashur smote Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the high gate of Benjamin, which was by the house of theLord.

Jeremiah 7:1-15, 7 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying,
2 Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the Lord.
3 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.
4 Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, are these.
5 For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour;
6 If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt:
7 Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.
8 Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit.
9 Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not;
10 And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?
11 Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the Lord.
12 But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel.
13 And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the Lord, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not;
14 Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh.
15 And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim.

Jeremiah 11:21-23, 21 Therefore thus saith the Lord of the men of Anathoth, that seek thy life, saying, Prophesy not in the name of the Lord, that thou die not by our hand:
22 Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, Behold, I will punish them: the young men shall die by the sword; their sons and their daughters shall die by famine:
23 And there shall be no remnant of them: for I will bring evil upon the men of Anathoth, even the year of their visitation.
What Do You Think?
How does the fact that God knows people even before their birth affect your worldview?
Points for Your Discussion
Concerning life-purpose
Concerning sanctity of life
Concerning personal accountability
Other
5c. And I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
The Lord reaches the climax of his initial message to Jeremiah and gets specific as to what the man is being set apart to do. The fact that he is to be a prophet unto the nations implies a ministry that extends beyond the borders of Judah (see Jeremiah 1:10; 25:15-26). The particular construction of the Hebrew phrase translated I ordained thee is also used in describing roles given by God to Abraham (Genesis 17:5), Moses (Exodus 7:1), the servant of the Lord (Isaiah 49:6), and Ezekiel (Ezekiel 3:17).
Jeremiah 1:10, 10 See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.

Jeremiah 25:15-26, 15 For thus saith the Lord God of Israel unto me; Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it.
16 And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them.
17 Then took I the cup at the Lord’s hand, and made all the nations to drink, unto whom the Lord had sent me:
18 To wit, Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, and the kings thereof, and the princes thereof, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, an hissing, and a curse; as it is this day;
19 Pharaoh king of Egypt, and his servants, and his princes, and all his people;
20 And all the mingled people, and all the kings of the land of Uz, and all the kings of the land of the Philistines, and Ashkelon, and Azzah, and Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod,
21 Edom, and Moab, and the children of Ammon,
22 And all the kings of Tyrus, and all the kings of Zidon, and the kings of the isles which are beyond the sea,
23 Dedan, and Tema, and Buz, and all that are in the utmost corners,
24 And all the kings of Arabia, and all the kings of the mingled people that dwell in the desert,
25 And all the kings of Zimri, and all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of the Medes,
26 And all the kings of the north, far and near, one with another, and all the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the earth: and the king of Sheshach shall drink after them.

Exodus 7:1, 1 And the Lord said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.

Isaiah 49:6, 6 And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.

Ezekiel 3:17, 17 Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.
Does God set us apart in a similar way—even before birth? One should be cautious in expecting a “call” similar to that of Jeremiah. His call is recorded not so much to give us a specific example to follow, but to tell us why we need to heed the words that we are about to read in the text at hand.
The primary call that we are to answer today is that of the gospel to call on the Lord and be saved (Acts 2:21; Romans 10:13). After that we are to pursue the Lord’s will and use our talents and spiritual gifts in His service. For some, that may involve full-time service in the church; for others, it may entail ministry in a more secular setting.
Acts 2:21, 21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Romans 10:13, 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
II. God’s Corrective (Jeremiah 1:6, 7)
A. Human Self-Doubt (v. 6)
6. Then said I, Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.
Jeremiah’s initial response to the Lord’s call is as hesitant as Moses’ was (Exodus 3:11, lesson 5). Jeremiah claims a weakness in the area of his speech due to lack of age. One may find it somewhat ironic that Jeremiah is speaking while claiming an inability to speak. But he is likely thinking in terms of lacking the more polished or trained speaking ability that comes with the experience of years. Perhaps like Amos (lesson 9), Jeremiah is concluding that he is “no prophet” nor “a prophet’s son” (Amos 7:14).
Exodus 3:11, 11 And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?

Amos 7:14, 14 Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit:
The Hebrew word rendered child can describe a wide range of ages from an infant (Exodus 2:6) to a man old enough to marry (Genesis 34:19). Thus it is difficult to know Jeremiah’s age at this point. He seems to fear that his age could be a hindrance to addressing others, since youths are generally expected to remain quiet and respect those who are older (Job 32:6, 7).
Exodus 2:6, 6 And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews’ children.

Genesis 34:19, 19 And the young man deferred not to do the thing, because he had delight in Jacob’s daughter: and he was more honourable than all the house of his father.

Job 32:6, 6 And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew you mine opinion.

Job 32:7, 7 I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.
What Do You Think?
How can we overcome the habit of making excuses for not serving God more fully?
Points for Your Discussion
Regarding age-related excuses
Regarding time-related excuses
Regarding ability-related excuses
Other
B. Divine Reassurance (v. 7)
7. But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.
The Lord does not deny that Jeremiah is a child (whatever age he may be). Rather, the Lord is telling him that he must not allow that to be an excuse for why he cannot answer the Lord’s call. The key to Jeremiah’s fulfillment of his ministry will not lie in who he is but in who the Lord is and in Jeremiah’s obedience to the Lord’s directions. Both audience and message are to be determined by the Lord: thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.
Given the hostile responses Jeremiah will receive to his message, he may be tempted to give in to fear or intimidation, altering his message to avoid conflict. But the prophet must remember who is calling him and to whom he is accountable. To use Paul’s words, Jeremiah must “look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen” (2 Corinthians 4:18).
2 Corinthians 4:18, 18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
III. God’s Provision (Jeremiah 1:8-10)
A. Deliverance (v. 8)
8. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord.
Ezekiel will also be told during the Lord’s call to him not to fear the faces or looks of his audience (Ezekiel 3:9). Those faces will be in Babylon, where the prophet is among those taken captive (1:1). The faces that threaten Jeremiah, on the other hand, are in Jerusalem. They will also include the faces of those in his hometown of Anathoth, who will threaten him with death if he does not cease prophesying (Jeremiah 11:21).
Ezekiel 3:9, 9 As an adamant harder than flint have I made thy forehead: fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house.

Jeremiah 11:21, 21 Therefore thus saith the Lord of the men of Anathoth, that seek thy life, saying, Prophesy not in the name of the Lord, that thou die not by our hand:
I am with thee is one of the most frequent assurances from the Lord in Scripture. It is the same assurance that was offered to timid Moses (Exodus 3:12, lesson 5). It is the same assurance given to followers of Jesus today as they carry His gospel to the nations (Matthew 28:18-20).
Exodus 3:12, 12 And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.

Matthew 28:18-20, 18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
The Hebrew word translated deliver is used of the Israelites’ deliverance from their oppression in Egypt (Exodus 3:8; 18:10) and of David’s deliverance from the lion, the bear, and Goliath (1 Samuel 17:37). Jeremiah will require such divine deliverance from the enemies that oppress and harass him throughout his ministry.
Exodus 3:8, 8 And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

Exodus 18:10, 10 And Jethro said, Blessed be the Lord, who hath delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of Pharaoh, who hath delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians.
What Do You Think?
In what ways should others see in us fearlessness (but not recklessness) in service to God?
Points for Your Discussion
Regarding personal safety
Regarding economic security
Regarding emotional safety (ridicule, etc.)
Other
B. Message (v. 9)
9. Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.
Now comes a visual aid intended to offer additional support to Jeremiah. The Lord’s action is reminiscent of what happens to Isaiah, only with Isaiah one of the seraphims comes to him and touches his lips with a live coal taken from an altar (Isaiah 6:5-7, lesson 6). Here it is the Lord who puts forth his hand and touches Jeremiah’s mouth.
Isaiah 6:5-7, 5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.
6 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:
7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.
By adding behold, I have put my words in thy mouth to this action, the Lord specifically addresses Jeremiah’s earlier objection that he “cannot speak” (v. 6, above). Now, having received the Lord’s words, he must speak! Or as Amos puts it, “The Lord God hath spoken, who can but prophesy?” (Amos 3:8).
Amos 3:8, 8 The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord God hath spoken, who can but prophesy?
The Lord’s declaration of putting His words in Jeremiah’s mouth calls to mind the Lord’s promise to Moses in Deuteronomy 18:18: “I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.” While this prophecy is said to be fulfilled in Jesus (Acts 3:22, 23), perhaps it can also be applied to God’s provision of the prophetic ministry to His people, as illustrated by Jeremiah.
Deuteronomy 18:18, 18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.

Acts 3:22, 22 For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.

Acts 3:23, 23 And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.
God also says through Moses that “whosoever will not hearken unto my words which [the prophet] shall speak in my name, I will require it of him” (Deuteronomy 18:19). This too comes to pass through Jeremiah; when the people of Judah fail to heed his words, they pay the price through their country being conquered and the citizens taken captive.
Deuteronomy 18:19, 19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
What Do You Think?
What are some specific steps to take to ensure that the words we utter are consistent with God’s Word (Psalm 39:1; 119:13)?
Psalm 39:1, 1 I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.

Psalm 119:13, 13 With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.
Points for Your Discussion
In steps of personal devotion (Psalm 119:148; Matthew 6:6-15; etc.)
Psalm 119:148, 148 Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.

Matthew 6:6-15, 6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
In steps to seeking godly counsel and teaching (2 Chronicles 25:16; Hebrews 13:7; etc.)
2 Chronicles 25:16, 16 And it came to pass, as he talked with him, that the king said unto him, Art thou made of the king’s counsel? forbear; why shouldest thou be smitten? Then the prophet forbare, and said, I know that God hath determined to destroy thee, because thou hast done this, and hast not hearkened unto my counsel.

Hebrews 13:7, 7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.
In steps to gain understanding of the times (1 Chronicles 12:32; Matthew 16:3; etc.)
1 Chronicles 12:32, 32 And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.

Matthew 16:3, 3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?

C. Mission (v. 10)
10. See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.
Jeremiah will spend most of his life in Judah (chapters 41-44 of the book of Jeremiah record his journey to Egypt after the fall of Jerusalem). But his prophetic ministry will have an impact far beyond Judah. He is set … over the nations and over the kingdoms, but not due to any of his own achievements or merit. This occurs only because the Lord has placed His words in Jeremiah’s mouth. The authority is from the Lord alone. Chapters 46-51 of the book of Jeremiah include the prophet’s oracles directed against various nations and kingdoms of his day. It includes a particularly lengthy one against Babylon (chapters 50 and 51).
The nature of Jeremiah’s ministry to the nations is then pictured through a series of verbs: to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant. The first four are negative; the final two are more hopeful and promising. This may indicate that Jeremiah’s ministry will be more negative than positive, but it will conclude on a positive note: hope will prevail beyond the current tragic circumstances in Judah that will culminate in divine judgment. Jeremiah does offer hope—of a future king who will “execute judgment and justice in the earth” (Jeremiah 23:5, 6) and of a new covenant (31:31-34).
Jeremiah 23:5, 5 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.

Jeremiah 23:6, 6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord Our Righteousness.

Jeremiah 31:31-34, 31 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord:
33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
The language of the verse before us is used elsewhere in the book of Jeremiah to highlight God’s activity in fulfilling Jeremiah’s prophetic words (Jeremiah 18:7-10; 24:6; 31:28; 32:41; 42:10; 45:4). This is a way of affirming that the Lord makes certain that Jeremiah’s prophetic ministry will accomplish no less than what the Lord intends.
Jeremiah 18:7-10, 7 At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it;
8 If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.
9 And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it;
10 If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.

Jeremiah 24:6, 6 For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up.

Jeremiah 31:28, 28 And it shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict; so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the Lord.

Jeremiah 32:4141 Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul.

Jeremiah 42:10, 10 If ye will still abide in this land, then will I build you, and not pull you down, and I will plant you, and not pluck you up: for I repent me of the evil that I have done unto you.

Jeremiah 45:4, 4 Thus shalt thou say unto him, The Lord saith thus; Behold, that which I have built will I break down, and that which I have planted I will pluck up, even this whole land.

Word Power
The source of the adage “The pen is mightier than the sword”—the wording if not the concept itself—is the 1839 play Richelieu, by English playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton. The idea is that communication gets things done more effectively than does the violence of armed confrontation.
But it’s not always a simple either-or choice, since written and spoken communication can lead and has led to use of the sword. The twisted words of Adolf Hitler persuaded his country and its allies to launch a world war; the candid words of Winston Churchill galvanized his country and its allies to meet violence with violence to defeat that threat.
Twisted communication seems almost to be an art form these days, designed to influence behavior rather than to communicate truth. George Orwell, writing in 1949, predicted as much (and worse) in his novel 1984: “If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” Since the year he wrote that, the world has seen no fewer than 17 countries include the wording or idea of Democratic Republic in their designations; yet the citizens in the majority of these countries enjoy few of the freedoms available in Western democracies.
None of this should come as a surprise to readers of the Bible. The Scriptures record numerous instances in which human communication results in violence being avoided, as well as violence being initiated or intensified. (Contrast the results of Gideon’s tactful response to the angry “men of Ephraim” in Judges 8:1-3 with those of Jephthah’s confrontational response in 12:1-6.)
Judges 8:1-3, 8 And the men of Ephraim said unto him, Why hast thou served us thus, that thou calledst us not, when thou wentest to fight with the Midianites? And they did chide with him sharply.
2 And he said unto them, What have I done now in comparison of you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer?
3 God hath delivered into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb: and what was I able to do in comparison of you? Then their anger was abated toward him, when he had said that.

Judges 12:1-6, 12 And the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and went northward, and said unto Jephthah, Wherefore passedst thou over to fight against the children of Ammon, and didst not call us to go with thee? we will burn thine house upon thee with fire.
2 And Jephthah said unto them, I and my people were at great strife with the children of Ammon; and when I called you, ye delivered me not out of their hands.
3 And when I saw that ye delivered me not, I put my life in my hands, and passed over against the children of Ammon, and the Lord delivered them into my hand: wherefore then are ye come up unto me this day, to fight against me?
4 Then Jephthah gathered together all the men of Gilead, and fought with Ephraim: and the men of Gilead smote Ephraim, because they said, Ye Gileadites are fugitives of Ephraim among the Ephraimites, and among the Manassites.
5 And the Gileadites took the passages of Jordan before the Ephraimites: and it was so, that when those Ephraimites which were escaped said, Let me go over; that the men of Gilead said unto him, Art thou an Ephraimite? If he said, Nay;
6 Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him, and slew him at the passages of Jordan: and there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand.
Given how much power human words have to incite violence and to quell it, to hurt and to heal, to depress and to encourage, how much more must the same be true of the Word of the living God! He still seeks those who will take His Word to build so that He does not have to destroy (compare Ezekiel 22:30). What will be your response to His invitation? —C. R. B.
Ezekiel 22:30, 30 And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.
What Do You Think?
What is God calling you to do on a daily basis?
Points for Your Discussion
Regarding things “to destroy”
Regarding things “to build and to plant”
Conclusion
With certain tasks, one’s ability to go it alone without any assistance is the measure of success. A would-be pilot must fly his or her plane solo. A young driver takes great pride in being able to drive to and from school or work without Mom or Dad riding along. From youth, it seems, to do something “all by myself” becomes the standard of success in many areas of life.
In contrast, God said that His presence, His words, and His purpose were to identify Jeremiah’s ministry. Never would there be a time when he would have to go solo, even as he suffered perhaps more persecution and harassment than any other prophet in the Old Testament. “No solos” can be a difficult concept to accept and apply in many areas of one’s life, but it is absolutely vital to apply in our service for the Lord.
Let us remember that there was never a self-made prophet or a self-made apostle. And there are no self-made servants of Jesus in the twenty-first century. We must draw our strength from the Lord! It was a go-it-alone philosophy that led humanity into the tragedy of sin in the Garden of Eden, the consequences of which still reverberate. If the temptation to “fly solo” spiritually grows as you gain skills and knowledge with the passing years, remember: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).
Zechariah 4:6, 6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of theLord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.
B. Prayer
Father, help us avoid the extremes of fearful silence and go-it-alone arrogance! Let us rather be always and only Your instruments to speak the words of confrontation and comfort as You enable us. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
C. Thought to Remember
A child of God is no mere child!
Page 9 of 27

Kid’s Corner
Why Believers Want to Serve God
July 9, 2017
Isaiah 6:1-8
Isaiah 6:1-8
(Isaiah 6:1) In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.
Some scholars believe that Isaiah was a member of the royal family; therefore, he had access to the royal family that recognized he was a true prophet of God and some of the kings called upon him in time of trouble. Isaiah dated his call to serve God as a prophet the year King Uzziah died (perhaps between 742-740 B.C.). Isaiah met God while worshiping in the temple. He saw that God is so majestic that the hem of His robe (or “train” in KJV) filled the temple. God is far greater than any manmade temple on earth can contain.
(Isaiah 6:2) Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
Isaiah’s vision extended beyond the temple to the throne room of God, which far exceeded the dimensions of the temple (which the hem of His robe filled). Isaiah saw angels who continuously served God. Two of their wings covered their faces, because even though they were holy angels they were unworthy to look upon God face-to-face, even as sinful human beings are unworthy to see the face of God. Perhaps they covered their feet because they knew they were unworthy to serve God. They flew because they wanted to always and immediately obey and serve God when He called upon them.
(Isaiah 6:3) And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.”
These holy angels called out to one another in the hearing of Isaiah and all with ears to hear and minds to understand the ultimate moral and spiritual fact about God: God is holy. As Christians, we know that God the Father is holy; the Son of God is holy, and the Holy Spirit is holy. They also declared the ultimate authority of God: God is the LORD of hosts (a number of beings too large for us to count or understand). God rules in holiness over the hosts, over all rational beings, over all of creation. God is the Lord over all, and the angels declared that His name is LORD (which translates God’s Hebrew name as Jehovah or Yahweh in the English language). The whole earth reveals the glory of God, because God created the whole earth. Those with spiritual discernment see the work of our Creator and learn some truths about God when they look at His creation. Because creation is fallen and no longer as God created it, God has spoken in the Bible to give us truths we could never learn by observation alone.
(Isaiah 6:4) And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke.
Perhaps no other building in Jerusalem rivaled the size, construction, and importance of the temple (though King Solomon’s palace may have come close). Still, when the angels declared the holy character and majesty of God, their powerful voices shook the very temple in which Isaiah worshiped. In his vision, smoke filled the temple as a possible result of the holy fire of God on the holy altar or the incense used in temple worship. Where there is smoke, there is usually fire, and fire is used for cleansing, especially for the purification of precious metals such as silver and gold. For God to appear and speak to Isaiah, God’s temple first needed cleansing.
(Isaiah 6:5) Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”
When we consider the immensity of Isaiah’s experience, no wonder he felt unworthy to see what he saw. He saw how horrible his sins were and the sins of God’s people in the context of God’s holiness, power, and absolute authority as King of kings. Our holy God is worthy to be served and worshiped in complete holiness and with unimpeachable moral purity. But even God’s highest and holiest angels know they are not worthy to serve God apart from God’s love and grace. As believers, we only become worthy to serve God after we entrust our lives to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and He cleanses us from all sin and sends the Holy Spirit to live within us.
(Isaiah 6:6) Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs.
Isaiah confessed and declared that he was sinful and totally unworthy of seeing God the King in all of His holiness and glory. Then, God sent an angel to cleanse the lips of Isaiah, using a coal from God’s holy altar. Because this was a true experience in a vision, Isaiah did not report any pain, but he did experience a moral and spiritual cleansing and renewal. God cleansed Isaiah’s lips, and Isaiah would use his lips in the service of God.
(Isaiah 6:7) He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.”
The angel explained to Isaiah the meaning of his actions. With Isaiah’s guilt removed and his sins blotted out so no one would ever see again or remember those behaviors of Isaiah that demonstrated his past rebellion against God the Lord, Isaiah could now hear the words of God and reply to the words of God with all feelings of guilt and shame removed. His sinful past would no longer make him unworthy to serve God, for God had made him worthy by His cleansing.
(Isaiah 6:8) Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
Before Isaiah even knew the tasks that God wanted him to perform, he told God that He could send him, that he was willing to do whatever God wanted done. In this sense, Isaiah became as the holy angels that worshiped God day and night: he was ready to do immediately whatever God asked of Him and he was eager to tell others the truth about the true God, the LORD of hosts. Isaiah’s love for God and thankfulness that God had forgiven and cleansed him motivated him and made him willing to serve God.

Why Believers Want to Serve God
July 9, 2017
Isaiah 6:1-8
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’” (Isaiah 6:8).
The highest angels flying above God’s throne were the seraphim. They covered their eyes and their feet with their wings, because they knew they were unworthy to proclaim the glory, holiness, and magnificence of the LORD. They had never sinned; they were morally and spiritually pure, but they acknowledged the fact before all creation that they were undeserving to see or serve God. Only God’s love and grace gave them the honor and enabled them to proclaim to one another for all to hear, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isaiah 6:3). When Isaiah saw the LORD high and exalted and seated on a throne, he cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty” (Isaiah 6:5). When Isaiah saw God’s glory, he knew immediately that he had sinned against God and thought God had come to condemn him. Graciously, God had not come to condemn but to save him from his sins and empower him to serve Him. With the cleansing fire of God, God atoned or compensated for Isaiah’s sins, which pointed to what God wants to do for all who place their faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ, who by dying on the cross graciously compensated for our sins and made God’s just forgiveness possible. When God asked for someone to serve Him, Isaiah immediately responded, “Send me!” Indeed, all those God makes clean want to serve Him.

Thinking Further
Why Believers Want to Serve God
July 9, 2017
Isaiah 6:1-8
Name ______________________________
1. Where was Isaiah when he received his call and vision from God? What might this reveal to us about the importance of regular worship in God’s house?

2. Are you as ready as the angels were in Isaiah’s vision to serve the Lord? Are you as willing to serve God as Isaiah became after the angel cleansed his lips?

3. If you are not eager, ready, and willing to serve God in whatever God asks of you, what do you need to make you ready and willing?

4. How can your sins be removed and blotted out today? Do you really want to live free from the practice of any sins?

5. Read Isaiah 6:8 again, why do you think God used the plural “us,” in “who will go for us”?

Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further
1. Where was Isaiah when he received his call and vision from God? What might this reveal to us about the importance of regular worship in God’s house?From Isaiah 6, we learn that in his vision Isaiah saw the train or the hem of God’s kingly robe filling the temple; such is the majesty of Almighty God. Therefore, we believe that Isaiah had his vision in the temple in Jerusalem. By truly worshiping in the house of God regularly, we are more apt to have a deeper relationship with God and more meaningful experiences with God. Regular worship attendance with sound Bible preaching can show God that we are serious about living and obeying Him; therefore, we become more open to receiving knowledge from God about how we can serve Him in better, new, and more specific ways suited to the gifts and talents He has givenus.
2. Are you as ready as the angels were in Isaiah’s vision to serve the Lord?Are you as willing to serve God as Isaiah became after the angel cleansed his lips? With regard to the angels in Isaiah’s vision, most probably not, because the angels around the throne of God serve the LORD continually and never sin. They direct all of their attention toward the Lord in all of His glory and to declaring the holiness of God. Isaiah had a wife and two children; yet he did and said what God wanted him to do and say; so, he was a man with responsibilities similar to everyone on earth. In many ways, we may not be much different from Isaiah with respect to family responsibilities and work commitments. Since Jesus has cleansed and forgiven by the shedding of His own blood those who love and trust Him, believers today should be even more willing to serve God than Isaiah, who was cleansed by a coal from the altar of God. When Christians know clearly what God wants them to do, they do what God wants.
3. If you are not eager, ready, and willing to serve God in whatever God asks of you, what do you need to make you ready and willing?If we are not eager, ready, and willing to serve God whenever God asks, we can begin to attend worship regularly and before leaving to attend worship in God’s house we can pray for the service of worship to draw us closer to God and teach us more about God and reveal to us what we can do to serve God. We can pray and ask God to show us daily what He wants us to do each day, whether small or large endeavors. We can show God that we are serious about learning what we can do to serve God by reading the Bible daily with the prayer that God will help us believe and obey all of the truths we learn, and that God will help us believe and obey in the wisdom and strength that His Holy Spirit gives us. We can pray and study to learn more about Jesus Christ so when we have the opportunity and seek the opportunity we can tell others about Jesus and help them come to trust and obey Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
4. How can your sins be removed and blotted out today? Do you really want to live free from the practice of any sins?Our sins can be removed and blotted out when we believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, for He shed His blood to remove our sins and guilt. In order to live free from the practice of sinning, we need to go to Jesus for help and power to obey and for a way of escape when we are tempted. We need to cling to Jesus as our Savior at all times to overcome the practice of any sinful habits.
5. Read Isaiah 6:8 again, why do you think God used the plural “us,” in “who will go for us”? I do not believe God meant the holy angels and himself (or the heavenly court), because no angel is worthy to be included with God as one of “us.” I believe God meant the Holy Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit. In the next chapter, Isaiah will begin to teach about the Messiah, the “Mighty God,” and he will continue to teach about the deity of the Messiah through the end of chapter 12.

Word Search
Why Believers Want to Serve God
July 9, 2017
Isaiah 6:1-8
Name ______________________________

B W Y D I T L Y E D M O S E S
V P H L C S D N H U A X Z F D
Z G O G O P R X S N C O E O V
M R R F I H J A G P T S W M W
I O E J A E Q E E S F A E H O
S U B S T G L B E L M C Z R K
E N P H U M U I Y F I F E O N
R D R J E S R X L V C T X K A
Y O C A H P E O U H X M E O I
E X F D C D C J C Q J F Z S D
W K N J R K V T F U C G I L I
P Q S F A O P H A R A O H R M
K E B W U E L J X V M V S X E
F Q J S A N D A L S C H Q K A
X K Y Z D V S N A I T P Y G E

Angel
LORD
Moses
Jethro
Midian
Israelites
Egyptians
Horeb
Flock
Bush
Fire
Sandals
Holy
Ground
Misery
Rescue
Priest
Pharaoh

True and False Test
Why Believers Want to Serve God
July 9, 2017
Isaiah 6:1-8
Name _____________________________

Circle the true or false answers. Correct the false statements by restating them.

1. Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, was a priest of Midian. True or False

2. Moses took long quiet, contemplative walks in the mountains by himself and was an avid mountain climber while his wife worked hard and tended their sheep. True or False

3. Mount Horeb and Mount Sinai may be the same mountain with twodifferent names. True or False

4. Moses went to see a burning bush that did not burn up. True or False

5. The angel of the LORD saved Moses from being burned by a blazing brush fire. True or False

6. The LORD called to Moses from the burning bush. True or False

7. When he heard God call his name, Moses ran like a scared rabbit. True or False

8. The LORD told Moses to take off his sandals because he was on holy ground.True or False

9. The LORD expressed His concern for the Israelites because the Egyptians were oppressing them. True or False

10. Moses felt honored and was glad when the LORD commended his qualities as a leader who was able and prepared to confront Pharaoh and free God’s people from slavery in Egypt. True or False

Answers to the True and False Test

1. True
2. False
3. True
4. True
5. False
6. True
7. False
8. True
9. True
10. False

Prayer

Father, help us each day to examine ourselves for unholiness that may interfere with saying, “Here am I; send me.” We pray this in the name of the Lord of all holiness. Amen.

 

ADULT LESSON

Sunday School Lesson
July 9
Isaiah

Devotional Reading: Isaiah 66:18-23
Background Scripture: Isaiah 6
Isaiah 6:1-8
1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.
6 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:
7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.
8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

Key Verse
I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. —Isaiah 6:8
Lesson Aims

After participating in this lesson, each learner will be able to:
1. List the circumstances of Isaiah’s call.
2. Explain Isaiah’s initial reaction to what he saw and heard at his call.
3. Write a letter of appreciation and encouragement to a missionary for answering the Lord’s call as he or she has.

Introduction
A. Wash Up!

What do you expect of a cook at your favorite restaurant? Should the person have experience as a cook, know the basics of food preparation, and follow recipes? Of course. But there is an even more basic expectation you have of your chef: clean hands!
Any business that deals with preparing food must be extremely conscientious about maintaining high standards of cleanliness. For example, no one would want to eat at a restaurant if news surfaced that a customer there found evidence that such standards had in some way been violated. In restrooms at restaurants, one will see the omnipresent sign that reads, “Employees must wash hands before returning to work.”
Almost any job requires a person be qualified in some way to do it. But what qualifies a person to be a prophet of the Most High God? One might conclude that such a servant of God would need to meet a long list of qualifications. As we consider Isaiah’s call to be a prophet, we may be surprised to learn that a standard that applied to him as a deliverer of spiritual food is similar to what we expect of those who prepare physical food: cleanliness. Let’s review the call of this great prophet.

B. Lesson Background

Isaiah received his call to be a prophet approximately 200 years after the nation of Israel separated into two kingdoms in 931 BC: Israel (the northern kingdom) and Judah (the southern kingdom). Isaiah was living when the northern kingdom fell to the Assyrians in 722 BC, but his primary ministry was to the southern kingdom of Judah. (The kings mentioned in Isaiah 1:1 are all kings of Judah.)

The life of Isaiah illustrates the wide range of circumstances in which a prophet of the Lord could find himself as he carried out his mission. He served the Lord during the reign of one of Judah’s most wicked kings (Ahaz) as well as during the reign of one of Judah’s best (Ahaz’s godly son, Hezekiah). In fact, Isaiah’s counsel guided Hezekiah during an Assyrian invasion that threatened the southern kingdom in 701 BC (Isaiah 37:5-7, 21-35). Hezekiah prayed to the Lord in trusting faith (37:14-20), and Judah was spared the onslaught that had befallen the northern kingdom of Israel 21 years earlier.

The fact that the call of Isaiah is not found until Isaiah 6 causes some to wonder why it is not recorded closer to the book’s beginning, as is the case with Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:4-19) and Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:1-3:15). Some suggest that Isaiah’s call actually did precede his messages, but the account of the call is placed in chapter 6 to make a specific and important point. The messages in the first five chapters explain why a prophet like Isaiah was so desperately needed to confront God’s people. The fifth chapter in particular elaborates on what has happened to a people originally called by God to be “a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation” (Exodus 19:6). Isaiah 5 features a word picture of a vineyard to describe both the Lord’s care for His people and His disappointment that they had not produced the desired crop (Isaiah 5:1-7).
A Jewish tradition says that Isaiah suffered a cruel death of martyrdom by being sawn in two during the wicked reign of Hezekiah’s son, Manasseh. This incident may be referred to in Hebrews 11:37.

How to Say It

Ahaz Ay-haz.

Assyrians Uh-sear-e-unz.

Azariah Az-uh-rye-uh.

Babel Bay-bul.

cherubim chair-uh-bim.

Elijah Ee-lye-juh.

Ezekiel Ee-zeek-ee-ul or Ee-zeek-yul.

Hezekiah Hez-ih-kye-uh.

hypocrisy hih-pah-kruh-see

Isaiah Eye-zay-uh.

Jeremiah Jair-uh-my-uh.

Judah Joo-duh.

leprosy leh-pruh-see.

Manasseh Muh-nass-uh.

seraphims sair-uh-fims.

Sinai Sigh-nye or Sigh-nay-eye.

Uzziah Uh-zye-uh.

I. So High

(Isaiah 6:1-3)
A. Exalted Lord (v. 1)

1a. In the year that king Uzziah died.
The year that king Uzziah died was 740 BC. He had been one of Judah’s more godly kings. But he did not finish well because at one point he defiantly entered the temple to offer incense, an act reserved only for the priests. When he reacted angrily to the priests who confronted him, he was immediately stricken with leprosy and had to be quarantined for the remainder of his life (2 Chronicles 26:16-21).
Uzziah’s reign was one of the longest during the divided monarchy, covering a span of 52 years (792-740 BC). Note that Uzziah is sometimes called Azariah (2 Kings 14:21; 15:1).

What Do You Think?
​How should Christians react to transitions in political leadership, if at all? Why?
Points for Your Discussion
• In the form and content of prayers
• In discussions with fellow believers
• In discussions with unbelievers

1b. I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.

Deaths of national leaders are accompanied by varying degree of uncertainty about the future. What follows in our text shows that any such concerns are unnecessary regarding Judah’s future. Judah’s ultimate king is still in control, as Isaiah declares in the verse before us.
Some individuals in the Old Testament are privileged to see the Lord or a limited revelation of His glory (Exodus 24:9-11; 33:17-23; etc.). The Lord himself determines to what extent and by what means He allows himself to be experienced by humans. In the case of the prophet Elijah, He came in “a still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12); in the case of Job, He presented himself “out of the whirlwind” (Job 38:1). Isaiah’s experience of the Lord is likely by means of a vision since the word saw is used.
The manner in which Isaiah sees the Lord is similar to John’s description of one who “sat on the throne” (Revelation 4:2). John speaks of himself as being “in the spirit” on that occasion; perhaps something akin to this occurred with Isaiah (note also Ezekiel’s testimony in Ezekiel 2:2; 3:12-15, where “the spirit” can be understood as the Holy Spirit). The train refers to the hem of the Lord’s robe (compare Revelation 1:13). The fact that it fills the temple conveys an image of the Lord’s majesty and splendor.
It is difficult to say whether the temple Isaiah sees is the earthly temple of Solomon in Jerusalem or the heavenly temple. Clearly John’s vision in Revelation is one of Heaven (Revelation 4:1, 2). In Isaiah’s case, one should keep in mind how King Uzziah had violated the sanctity of the Jerusalem temple by offering incense when he was unauthorized to do so. Perhaps Isaiah’s vision is of this earthly temple in order to show him (and in turn, the nation of Judah) that the Lord has not departed from the temple (contrast Ezekiel 11:22, 23).

B. Heralds of the Holy (vv. 2, 3)

2a. Above it stood the seraphims.

Seraphims are mentioned in the Bible only here and in verse 6 (see below). The term comes from a Hebrew word meaning “fiery.” For the seraphims to have such an appearance would certainly be fitting, since fire is indicative of God’s presence as noted in last week’s study of Moses and the burning bush (Exodus 3:1-6; compare Exodus 24:17; Revelation 4:5).

2b. Each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
We are not told how many seraphims Isaiah sees, but we are told that each has six wings. This characteristic highlights another similarity to John’s vision where the four beasts “round about the throne” each have six wings (Revelation 4:6-8). The covering of both face and feet may represent complete submission to the one seated on the throne. One might say that “from head to toe” the seraphims recognize His authority.

3a. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts.
The cry of the seraphims is similar to that of the four beasts in Revelation 4:8. The threefold repetition of the word holy serves to emphasize that quality. The concept of holiness implies “separation” or “distinctiveness.” Such separation is primarily ethical or moral and only secondarily positional or geographical. This is why Isaiah becomes so distraught at being in the Lord’s presence (v. 5, below); he knows how unholy, how sinful, he and his people are.

What Do You Think?
What are some ways to manifest personal holiness as befitting our holy God?

Points for Your Discussion
• As the holy temple of the church at worship
• As the holy temple of the church meets needs
• Other

3b. The whole earth is full of his glory.

Isaiah is seeing God’s glory in the temple (whether earthly or heavenly), but His glory cannot be confined to any structure. Solomon acknowledged this same truth at the dedication of the temple he constructed in Jerusalem: “Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?” (1 Kings 8:27).
The whole earth, God’s creation, is a testament to His glory. This theme is echoed often in Psalms (examples: Psalms 8:1; 72:19).

II. So Unworthy
(Isaiah 6:4, 5)

A. Overwhelming Scene (v. 4)

4. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.

Isaiah has heard the proclamation of God’s glory from the seraphims; now he begins to experience it in an intensely personal way. The shaking and the presence of smoke remind one of what the Israelites witnessed at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:18). They were terrified by such a demonstration of holy power. The stage is set for Isaiah to express similar anxiety.

B. Overcome with Guilt (v. 5)

5. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.

Just as the Israelites trembled at the presence of God at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:16), Isaiah is overcome with a sense of his unworthiness to be in such sacred surroundings. His sense of feeling terribly out of place reminds us of how Adam and Eve attempted to hide from God after breaking His commandment (Genesis 3:8).
Isaiah finds himself gasping for breath in a spiritual sense. He is painfully aware of the immeasurable gap between himself and the holy God into whose presence he has been ushered. He knows he has no business seeing what he does. King Uzziah may have died, but Judah’s real and ultimate King, the Lord of hosts, still rules!
Isaiah’s mention of his unclean lips and the fact that he dwells in the midst of a people of unclean lips seems to focus on speech. Perhaps Isaiah initially desired to join the seraphims in their praise of God, but now he realizes that to do so would be the height (or depth) of hypocrisy. How can holy words be spoken by an unholy person?

What Do You Think?
In what ways can and should we acknowledge our own accountability for having and being among “unclean lips”?
Points for Your Discussion
• Regarding sins of commission
• Regarding sins of omission

In the previous chapter, the prophet pronounced a series of six woes on the people (Isaiah 5:8, 11, 18, 20, 21, 22) and then stated this indictment: “Therefore is the anger of the Lord kindled against his people, and he hath stretched forth his hand against them, and hath smitten them” (5:25). Isaiah’s seventh woe, directed at himself in the verse before us, completes the sequence. (The number seven often represents “completeness” or “totality” in Scripture.) Perhaps he fears that the hand of the Lord will also be stretched angrily against him as well.

III. So Fitting
(Isaiah 6:6-8)

A. Action and Result (vv. 6, 7)

6. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar.
As if in response to Isaiah’s admission in the previous verse, one of the seraphims goes into action on Isaiah’s behalf. The altar from which he takes a live coal possibly refers to the altar in the temple Solomon built. But an altar in a temple of the heavenly environs cannot be ruled out because an altar is present there as well (Revelation 6:9).
Isaiah must be watching the unfolding scene with great apprehension. Having just confessed his own sinful unworthiness, is he about to be punished?
7. And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.
It is not unusual for prophetic visions to appeal to the senses. This helps the recipient understand that what is happening is real (compare Jeremiah 1:9-13; Ezekiel 1:4-28). Regarding Isaiah, four of his five senses have informed his experience thus far. By sight he beholds the Lord (Isaiah 6:1); by hearing he perceives the declaration of the seraphims (v. 3); by sight and smell (assumed) he is aware of smoke (v. 4); and now touch comes into play.
We do not know if Isaiah feels any sting or pain from the red-hot coal that is touched to his lips. If so, it must be temporary, as the words thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged speak not of judgment, but of forgiveness.
The association of fire with the presence of God bears revisiting. While God is indeed a “consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29), what Isaiah experiences is the fire of cleansing or purging, as fire removes impurities from metals (see 1 Peter 1:7). Isaiah is not “undone” as he had earlier feared (Isaiah 6:5). Instead, he has received a great work of grace.
Destroyed? Tested? Purified?
The horror of destruction by fire was realized to a massive degree in World War II. Germany was the first to firebomb cities, doing so in nighttime terror raids. Allied forces eventually did the same in return. The morality of the firebombings of Dresden, Tokyo, and other cities is still debated.
Fire changes things. Biblically, such changes can be seen in at least three contexts: judgmental destruction, testing, and purification. Judgmental fire is depicted throughout the Bible, from Genesis 19:24 to Revelation 20:14. Fiery testing is seen in 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 and 1 Peter 4:12. Purification by fire is described in Numbers 31:22, 23.
Not infrequently, these concepts overlap. For example, testing and purification overlap in cases when the former results in the latter, as in Zechariah 13:9. We also see overlap between testing and purification in today’s text as the prophet experienced a “live coal” placed on his lips. But the overlap seems to be in the reverse direction: purification came first; then the testing of Isaiah’s resolve came later as he preached judgment to a hostile audience that God foresaw would not listen (Isaiah 6:9-13). Since God states that fact after Isaiah accepted his call, we wonder if the man would have volunteered had he heard the prediction of “mission failure” first!
That question is relevant today, since Jesus described His own mission by quoting Isaiah 6:9, 10 in Matthew 13:14, 15. Before we “go” (Matthew 28:19, 20), we must recognize our own sin and the need for having had it purified (Hebrews 1:3). But all our preparation will not equip us for the testing of sorrow that comes as we encounter cold, unrepentant hearts. We are Isaiah. —R. L. N.

What Do You Think?
What are some ways our church can audibly and visually stress the reality of sin taken away by Christ?
Points for Your Discussion
• During baptisms
• In observances of the Lord’s Supper
• Other

B. Challenge and Acceptance (v. 8)

8a. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?
To this point, Isaiah has not heard the Lord speak—only the seraphims. Given what happens when they speak (see v. 4, above), what must Isaiah think will happen as the Lord himself does so? Elsewhere in Scripture the voice of the Lord produces utter terror in those who hear it (Exodus 20:18, 19; Deuteronomy 5:25). It is described as “powerful” and “full of majesty,” with awe-inducing results (Psalm 29:4-9).
Yet when Isaiah hears the voice of the Lord, the tone is not terrifying. Instead, the tone appears to be that of pleading for assistance. The Lord is fully aware of the “people of unclean lips” whom Isaiah has mentioned (Isaiah 6:5). He needs someone to go to them, so He asks who will go for us?
The use of the pronoun us is similar to the language used in the creation of human beings and in response to the building of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 1:26; 11:6, 7). The plural pronoun may refer to God plus the seraphims who have been present throughout Isaiah’s vision. Or it may refer to the persons of the Trinity. It is interesting to consider how much Isaiah has to say about the persons of the Trinity in his prophetic messages (see Isaiah 11:1-3; 32:15; 42:1; 44:3; 48:16; 52:13-53:12; 59:21; 61:1-4; 63:10-14).
Discerning God’s Call

Charles Spurgeon, the famous nineteenth-century preacher, had no formal theological education. Yet he preached to thousands every Sunday for more than 40 years!
How did God call him to such a task? Once when describing his call to ministry, Spurgeon said it was “an intense, all-absorbing desire for the work.” Those who like neat logical categories may be unsatisfied with that description. They may desire to have the idea of God’s calls examined in specific terms of form, content, etc.
Perhaps we may discern a more practical approach in the New Testament, where God’s calls seem to come about as character and spiritual giftedness are observed. The first-century church chose “seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom” to serve in a certain capacity (Acts 6:3-5). Can we not conclude that they answered God’s call to do so? Barnabas seems initially to have simply grown into his leadership role, having been recognized by others as a “son of consolation” (4:36) who led by example (4:37) and spoke up on behalf of others (9:27; compare 15:37-39). These traits were evident before he was set apart for missionary travels by specific directive of the Holy Spirit (13:2).
Martin Luther was on target when he described his call as “God’s voice heard by faith.” When our aptitudes, spiritual gifts, circumstances, and opportunities come together, let us make sure we are not overlooking God’s call. —C. R. B.

8b. Then said I, Here am I; send me.
Isaiah has just declared his own lips to be “unclean” (v. 5, above). But since these have now been touched by the live coal and purged (v. 7), he is free to speak words of commitment to service on behalf of the holy God: Here am I; send me. Isaiah’s unholiness came to be corrected through the cleansing action taken by one of the seraphims—but the prophet’s own admission of unholiness had to come first.

It is interesting to contrast Moses’ hesitant reaction of “Who am I?” in response to God’s call (Exodus 3:11) with Isaiah’s seeming eagerness to respond. Whereas Moses’ reply could be summarized as “Why me?” Isaiah’s may be restated as “Why not me?”
Consider how each man experienced a powerful, unforgettable demonstration of God’s presence. Yet each reacted to God’s call quite differently! Even so, God is able to take each man as he is and shape him into the man he needs to be. Both Moses and Isaiah learned an important lesson that is still true: in the Lord’s training ground, surrender is the key to victory.

What Do You Think?
What should others see in Christians who claim to be answering God’s call?

Points for Your Discussion
• In use of our time
• In use of money
• In relationships
• Other

Conclusion

A. Surprised by Holiness
The edge that spiritual words are meant to possess can be dulled with misuse. Without thinking, we may utter insipid interjections such as “Holy mackerel!” We may refer to a misbehaving child as “a holy terror,” etc.
Isaiah’s vision of the holy God had an intensity that we will probably never experience in this earthly life. The intensity of his experience will be further diminished for us as we misuse the word holy. The holiness of God must be understood in an absolute sense. That understanding was what caused Isaiah to be utterly dismayed by his own lack of holiness.
To take a nonchalant view of one’s own unholiness probably indicates a failure to understand what it means to be holy. We know that “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16). Do we also know that God is “holy, holy, holy”?

B. Prayer
Father, help us each day to examine ourselves for unholiness that may interfere with saying, “Here am I; send me.” We pray this in the name of the Lord of all holiness. Amen.

C. Thought to Remember
May Isaiah’s vision of a holy God leave us wholly committed to Him