Read: Jeremiah 1:4-9
Bible in a Year: 1 Samuel 1-3; Luke 8:26-56
Before you were born I set you apart. —Jeremiah 1:5
In 1986, John Piper nearly quit as minister of a large church. At that time he admitted in his journal: “I am so discouraged. I am so blank. I feel like there are opponents on every hand.” But Piper didn’t walk away, and God used him to lead a thriving ministry that would eventually reach far beyond his church.
Although success is a word easily misunderstood, we might call John Piper successful. But what if his ministry had never flourished?
God gave the prophet Jeremiah a direct call. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,” God said. “Before you were born I set you apart” (Jer. 1:5). God encouraged him not to fear his enemies, “for I am with you and will rescue you” (v. 8).
Jeremiah later lamented his commission with ironic language for a man with a prenatal calling. “Alas, my mother, that you gave me birth, a man with whom the whole land strives and contends!” (15:10).
God did protect Jeremiah, but his ministry never thrived. His people never repented. He saw them slaughtered, enslaved, and scattered. Yet despite a lifetime of discouragement and rejection, he never walked away. He knew that God didn’t call him to success but to faithfulness. He trusted the God who called him. Jeremiah’s resilient compassion shows us the heart of the Father, who yearns for everyone to turn to Him. —Tim Gustafson
Do you sense a call from God? Where in your calling have you encountered discouragement? How do you define success, and how do you react to it when you experience it?
Beware of giving up too soon. Our emotions are not reliable guides. John Piper
INSIGHT: Today’s reading recounts God’s setting apart of Jeremiah the prophet. The Scriptures tell us that God appointed him as a prophet at a young age. His ministry would last for over 40 years and would coincide with the reigns of five kings of Judah—Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah. Jeremiah is called “the weeping prophet,” and it was during his ministry that Israel’s disobedience prompted the exile and captivity by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian empire. Jeremiah’s ministry saw many heartbreaking things, including the forced march of Daniel and other young men from the royal families of Israel into Babylonian exile (Dan. 1:1-6). Dennis Moles