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Sunday School is a vital part of any ministry. In it, one is able to experience a deeper knowledge of God’s Word. We here at “Word For Life Says” want to help you help others. Below you will find resources to help you prepare for your upcoming lessons. May God bless you!
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Please Note: All lesson verses and titles are based on International Sunday School Lesson/Uniform Series ©2013 by the Lesson Committee, but all content/commentary written within is original to wordforlifesays.com unless properly quoted/cited. As always you are encouraged to do your own studies as well. Blessings!)
Lesson Text: 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.”
When God calls one into His holy service and sets their life up for this extraordinary mission to fulfill, He does so with the confidence of the life He originally designed in that individual before they were even formed in the belly of their mother’s womb.
Think about it, in the womb is where the life conceived comes together. But, what God speaks to Jeremiah is His ability to know all about that life before even the time of conception. Characteristics, traits, flaws, color, hair, and so much more were already there before we were.
In a poem I previously wrote, it touches on this very idea that we see present in Jeremiah’s calling. It reads:
“Before . . .
Before any pain . . .
Before any disappointments . . .
Before any tragedies and hurts . . .
Before any suffering . . .
Before any upsets . . .
Before any misunderstandings and curse . . .
God knew you and formed you and created you to be,
A child victorious; sanctified to lead.
What you see right now is not all there is,
God designed you with potential for such a time as this.
He created and filled you with anointing for the task.
Don’t let what you see make you question and ask,
“Is this me? Do I make a difference? What’s the point of it all?”
You have it in you to succeed; to climb mountains so tall.
Believe more in His design of your life
Over any proposed animosity and strife.
Believe His perfect plan for your life will win out –
Therefore, shhh . . . silence the voice of doubt.
He formed you; He knew you; He brought you to be.
Go ahead and claim it – you’re a child of victory!”
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you . . .” – Jeremiah 1:5, NKJV (©Word For Life Says/ “Before”)
In this week’s lesson, we will examine this verse as well as others surrounding the prophet Jeremiah’s call. We will learn that no matter where God calls us to serve Him, we can trust Him with our future because He not only knows it all before it began; He knows how it will all turn out in the end (Jeremiah 29:11).
Tumultuous? Yes! But, it was during these times when Jeremiah was called.
Combative? Yes! But, it was to these people Jeremiah was instructed to deliver the word of the Lord.
Risky? Yes! But, it was still the mission God wanted from Jeremiah’s life.
Jeremiah was called into service through the reign of several kings of the day. He served under Josiah (a good king with good reforms who made a bad decision later in life, see 2 Kings 22-23:30), Jehoahaz (only lasted for 3 months, see 2 Kings 23:31-34), Jehoiakim (He gained his position through Egyptian installment but because of his injustice, he was prophesied to receive the burial of a donkey, see Jeremiah 22:19, see also 2 Kings 23:35-24:6), Jehoiachin (was carried off to Babylon never to return, (see 2 Kings 24:8-16), but later would be released from prison and received favor from Evil-Merodach, king of Babylon (see 2 Kings 25:27-30)), and Zedekiah (He would be Judah’s last king, installed by the king of Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar) and through his rebellion siege would be laid against the city of Jerusalem; see 2 Kings 24:17-25:7). From approximately 627 BC to 587 BC, a period of about 40 years (see Jeremiah 1:1-3), Jeremiah prophesied the word of the Lord to the people of Jerusalem before and during their captivity by the Babylonians.
But, before all that occurred and before he prophesied the word of the Lord, Jeremiah was first called.
“Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying. Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; And before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee.” Draw special attention to the word “before” which appears twice in these verses. “Before” signals God’s hand at work in Jeremiah’s life prior to there even being a Jeremiah. When God calls men and women into service He does not do so by a fly by night decision or a last call to a last resort issue. He goes in advance before there was a problem to advance through.
This is a key issue to faith that the men and women of God must understand. God, as we know Him, is not limited by time or years as we suppose. As sovereign Lord and Creator who formed everything this world holds, we tend to forget that individually His hand was on us at the forming of who we are. When we are born only then do we begin to gain a remedial understanding of our life, little by little, as we grow. But, God has prior knowledge of our being before there was a being. He “knew” us. So, as far as faith goes, He is worthy to be trusted with our life and our call, knowing He has it already figured out; knowing His plan has already been preordained before even our conception.
Psalms 139 reassures us of this great truth when the psalmist declared, “My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 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,” (Psalms 139:15-16). God is not only planning our days presently, He has already planned our days previously and they are written, but it is up to us to accept the call and fall in line with His holy, preordained plan for our lives individually.
“I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee.” These words ring to the separateness of the calling on Jeremiah’s life. He was already set apart (consecrated, holy) as a special man with a special mission and it was God Himself that put the order in action by stating “I” did it. God placed His stamp of approval on Jeremiah for the work He had in mind for him.
A “prophet’s” main job is passing on God’s message to the people to whom he is being sent. His hopes in doing so are that the words of God would not only be heard, but received; that people would take to heart that holy message, apply it to their lives, and repent and seek a restored relationship with God.
In truth, I believe this is many a modern day preacher’s hope today (or, it should be). God’s calling is always with purpose and God’s word goes out with purpose. The main mission for both is to usher souls closer to the kingdom of God and to enter a love on love relationship with Him.
For Jeremiah, his mission in his calling was to be appointed a “prophet unto the nations” (see also Jeremiah 25:15-26). As God’s messenger for those days, Jeremiah would be responsible for relaying what thus saith the Lord not only to those in Judah but to all other “nations” in the region as well. What does that mean? It means the chance for opposition on his life would be greater because his audience would be extended beyond the borders of the familiar. It means he had to address kings and princes from several areas (even Gentiles) with an unpopular message against their wickedness. It means he had to plead with inhabitants of varying locations, including home base, of the need to repent because their ways were not pleasing to the Lord. He would illustrate, through his life, concepts that would testify to the impending dangers that lay ahead of that stiff-necked generation (see Jeremiah 13:1-14; 19:1-13; 43:8-13).
All in all, we can surmise that although Jeremiah’s calling was before his conception that didn’t mean his life and mission were going to be easy. Jeremiah, as you read through his self-named book, experienced many troubles in his day (being mocked, ridiculed, beaten, thrown into prison more than once; just to name a few) only to be carried off to Egypt in the end against his will where his story stops with many believing he died there (Jeremiah 43) . This being said, Jeremiah may have fought with his feelings about his mission from time to time (see Jeremiah 15:10-18; 20:7-18), but he kept on and persevered in what God called him to do.
But, before any of that happened, at his initial calling Jeremiah’s response was, “Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a youth.” Here’s the thing about God’s calling on anybody’s life. He doesn’t confer with our human abilities or what we deem as natural talents to determine if He can do a work in and through us. Nor, does God need our credentials or proposed experience for the job He has appointed us for. All God needs is a willing vessel who will respond to His call, accept it, and work it in obedience. Jeremiah was mistaken in thinking that the mission he was designed to fulfill was going to be by his own ingenuity, skill, or strength. This calling was ordained by God and would be equipped and empowered by God. So, while we’re not exactly sure of Jeremiah’s young age at the time, we do know that for God, it just wasn’t an acceptable excuse.
He said, “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.” What may seem like a genuine reason for not answering a call of God to us, God views it totally different. First, and foremost, the message Jeremiah was going to carry was going to be tailored for a specified audience with specified words. All Jeremiah was going to do was follow the “command” of God and go where He wanted him to go and say what He wanted him to say.
The second reason Jeremiah’s excuse would not be accepted by God was that when God calls Jeremiah or us, He is not calling us to a place or a mission field where He is not going to be personally involved. Thus, He says, “Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.”
Knowing some of the fearsome audiences he would face (think of standing before angry kings and telling them they are living wrong); Jeremiah would need this bolstering of courage to endure the days ahead.
“For I am with thee,” God speaks to Jeremiah. These words hold the promise that through thick and thin, God will be present as Jeremiah fulfills the ministry He [God] has called him to. When God calls anyone out to stand and be His mouthpiece, rest assured, dear ones, there will be adversity to face. There will be days when the message and burden may seem too hard to bear. But, His presence promise is the balm to any ail we may face. Thus are these words needed, for they carry with them the holding and helping power of the divine intervention of God. He will be there to help Jeremiah.
This is why He could confidently reassure Jeremiah prior to this to “Be not afraid of their faces.” He didn’t say there wouldn’t be a reason to fear. He didn’t promise him a smooth ride with smooth sails; that everything would be peaches and cream. What He is saying is that in spite of it all, He has erased the reason for fear for Jeremiah’s strength would be in God alone.
In a previous article I wrote, I stated:
“Fear can render useless the one who entertains it because unlike physical limitations, fear messes with the mind. It changes one’s perspective on how they view the world, the people around them and their own lives.
Fear acts like a photographer. It snaps a picture and develops it in the dark recesses of your mind. When the picture is finished being developed it comes out for you to view a new reality, whether it’s true or not. Fear is not based on truth but it wants you to believe in the image it presents to you more than God. . .
The Bible tells us, ‘Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,’ (Heb. 11:1, KJV). Going against fear takes faith. Faith doesn’t concentrate on what is visible to the naked eye. Faith concentrates on the truth of God’s promises. And His promises declare, ‘Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness,’ (Is. 41:10, KJV).” (Word For Life Says/Take a Stand Against Fear!)
God knew there would be days when all that he was facing would feel overwhelming to Jeremiah; thus, He encouraged him beforehand of deliverance. God didn’t tell Jeremiah he wouldn’t face hardships or travail. But, He said, “I am with thee to deliver thee” in the midst of it all.
Psalms 68:20 tells us, “He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto GOD the Lord belong the issues from death.” He literally has it all in His hands and will be there for those who are called into His holy service.
“Then the LORD put forth his hands, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.” In the study we did of Isaiah, we see the seraphim touching his lips with a live coal from the altar (Isaiah 6:6). Here, Jeremiah’s mouth is touched by the hand of God. Not to purge sin as in Isaiah’s case, but for the purpose of planting His holy words in Jeremiah’s mouth.
Jeremiah’s case, when he stated his feelings of inadequacies to speak to God’s people on behalf of God Himself, was erased. God was the one equipping and anointing Jeremiah for the task that was being placed before him. There will come a time in his future that discouragement will make him want to shut his mouth and not speak any more in His name. “But,” he declared, “his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay,” (Jeremiah 20:9). He was specially ordained and anointed by the hand of God and deep inside of him he couldn’t refuse the call of God on his life.
The strength and depth of Jeremiah’s calling would go beyond being a mere mouthpiece for God. God spoke to him, “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.”
Pay attention to that word “over.” It gives a sense of special authority and power from God. God was going to position Jeremiah to prophesy the downfall and judgement (Jeremiah 18:7-11) of some and at others times restoration (Jeremiah 29:10-14) of His own people when their time of captivity was complete.
Jesus spoke in the New Testament regarding spiritual authority: “Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven,” (Matthew 18:18; see also Matthew 16:19). Even if the message isn’t well received, God’s called ones have the authority to declare it anyhow! And, whatever God’s Word says, it shall come to pass; in Jeremiah’s day, and in ours as well.
During the course of Jeremiah’s days and calling he would face some harsh things. He was betrayed (Jeremiah 12:6), his life was threatened (Jeremiah 11:18-23), beaten (Jeremiah 20:2), and thrown into prison (Jeremiah 32:3), just to name a few (for there are far more things he endured). But, through it all, and despite it all, Jeremiah remained faithful to the call of God on his life and did what he was anointed to do.
Through Jesus Christ; through the power of His Spirit in us, we have been called and blessed to walk in the power of all God designed each one of us to be. Don’t let your circumstances dictate your anointing. We may not be called to do what Jeremiah did, but I believe we have all been called with a purpose. It is up to each of us to walk in and fulfill it, in Jesus’ name!
Standard Print PDF: Prophets: Jeremiah Sunday School Lesson Summary Standard Print
Large Print PDF: Prophets: Jeremiah Sunday School Lesson Summary Large Print
Below are activities to support this week’s lesson. Enjoy!
Draw the Scene: Prophet: Jeremiah Draw the Scene
Memory Verse: Prophets: Jeremiah Memory Verse
Below are Activities/Links/Resources to support this week’s lesson. Enjoy!
“Yes You Can!” (Printables and group activities)
“God Knows Us and Chooses Us” ( A wonderful “Can Can” craft to do with students. Enjoy!)
“Known By God” (Lesson along with game and activity ideas available. Enjoy!)
“Children’s Activities for Jeremiah” (Included activity ideas for “The Call of Jeremiah” and “God and Idols.” Both are sure to compliment this lesson. Enjoy!)
“Prophets” (Old Testament prophets in review for reading age children to understand. Enjoy!)
“The Big Idea: Jeremiah” (Here is a very informative power point presentation that’s great for older students and adults. Select open or save when prompted at the bottom of your screen. Enjoy!)
“Unseen Faith” (This object talk can be linked to the power of God portion of this lesson. Enjoy!)
Below are activities from a previous lesson that will go well with this week’s lesson. Enjoy!
“Free Printable Crazy Glasses” (What a creative idea for vision. Have children pick and design which frames they want to use. Discuss the comparison to what we see in our circumstances to how God sees our future. I think I may try this one. I love crafts that become take home toys. Enjoy! I’m sure your students will.)
“Sunglasses” (This is another take on the glasses idea except these are made from black construction paper and leave space on the lenses for the students to draw what they see about their future. Enjoy!)
“Vision Board” (This is a gathering of all their ideas about their future into one space. Teach them to look to God and pray about their future; pray for His help and that His will be done. Enjoy!)
“A Vision of the Future Binoculars” (Using old toilet paper rolls these would serve as the same purpose as the glasses discussed. The future may be far off for us, but we have a God who already sees. Enjoy!)
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