Jeremiah 1:1 - 19
NKJV - 1 The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. 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.
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The almond tree was used in Jeremiah 1:11 as a form of pun or word play in Hebrew, because the Hebrew word for almond (anglicized as "shaqedh") closely resembles the Hebrew word for "watching" (anglicized as "shoqedh"), as used in the next verse (Jeremiah 1:12), in which God said that He was watching over His word (which in this case was a threat of punishment of the southern kingdom of Judah for its idolatry) to make sure that it was performed or carried out. (This was the reason that Jeremiah 1:11 indicated that the branch of the almond tree had been made into a whip or scourge.)
This picture of an almond tree was simply a test of Jeremiah's faithfulness, his willingness to clearly understand and then communicate the messages that God was going to give him. When God called Jeremiah it was an astounding event. God spoke these words to a teenager: “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's initial response was unworthiness: “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” (A lot like Moses response when God called him). Was Jeremiah willing or unwilling to be the Lord's prophet. A simple test was a natural course of action. God puts a mental picture of a branch of an almond tree into Jeremiah's mind and then asks him what he sees. Jeremiah answers, it is simply a branch of an almond tree. Jeremiah doesn't try to find another meaning in the picture that God has not told him. God confirms that Jeremiah has seen correctly and declares to Jeremiah that he is watching to make sure his Word is fulfilled (communicated correctly). Then God speaks to him again, this time with a motion picture, a video clip, that had real meaning behind it. The word of the Lord came to me again: “What do you see?” “I see a pot that is boiling,” I answered. “It is tilting toward us from the north.” The Lord said to me, “From the north disaster will be poured out on all who live in the land. I am about to summon all the peoples of the northern kingdoms,” declares the Lord. “Their kings will come and set up their thrones in the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem; they will come against all her surrounding walls and against all the towns of Judah. I will pronounce my judgments on my people because of their wickedness in forsaking me, in burning incense to other gods and in worshiping what their hands have made. God was calling this teenager to pronounce disaster on the nation of Israel. How would that be received by the king and other leaders. God saw a heart of trust and courage in Jeremiah to fulfill this call on his life. No other training was required than a simple test of what he saw, as branch of an almond tree. Why? Because God would be with him to protect and encourage him every step of the way.
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