The Message

Jeremiah 1

Demolish, and Then Start Over

11-4 The Message of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah of the family of priests who lived in Anathoth in the country of Benjamin. God’s Message began to come to him during the thirteenth year that Josiah son of Amos reigned over Judah. It continued to come to him during the time Jehoiakim son of Josiah reigned over Judah. And it continued to come to him clear down to the fifth month of the eleventh year of the reign of Zedekiah son of Josiah over Judah, the year that Jerusalem was taken into exile. This is what God said:

“Before I shaped you in the womb,
    I knew all about you.
Before you saw the light of day,
    I had holy plans for you:
A prophet to the nations—
    that’s what I had in mind for you.”

But I said, “Hold it, Master God! Look at me.
    I don’t know anything. I’m only a boy!”

7-8 God told me, “Don’t say, ‘I’m only a boy.’
    I’ll tell you where to go and you’ll go there.
I’ll tell you what to say and you’ll say it.
    Don’t be afraid of a soul.
I’ll be right there, looking after you.”
    God’s Decree.

9-10 God reached out, touched my mouth, and said,
    “Look! I’ve just put my words in your mouth—hand-delivered!
See what I’ve done? I’ve given you a job to do
    among nations and governments—a red-letter day!
Your job is to pull up and tear down,
    take apart and demolish,
And then start over,
    building and planting.”

Stand Up and Say Your Piece

11-12 God’s Message came to me: “What do you see, Jeremiah?”
    I said, “A walking stick—that’s all.”
And God said, “Good eyes! I’m sticking with you.
    I’ll make every word I give you come true.”

13-15 God’s Message came again: “So what do you see now?”
    I said, “I see a boiling pot, tipped down toward us.”
Then God told me, “Disaster will pour out of the north
    on everyone living in this land.
Watch for this: I’m calling all the kings out of the north.”
    God’s Decree.

15-16 “They’ll come and set up headquarters
    facing Jerusalem’s gates,
Facing all the city walls,
    facing all the villages of Judah.
I’ll pronounce my judgment on the people of Judah
    for walking out on me—what a terrible thing to do!—
And courting other gods with their offerings,
    worshiping as gods sticks they’d carved, stones they’d painted.

17 “But you—up on your feet and get dressed for work!
    Stand up and say your piece. Say exactly what I tell you to say.
Don’t pull your punches
    or I’ll pull you out of the lineup.

18-19 “Stand at attention while I prepare you for your work.
    I’m making you as impregnable as a castle,
Immovable as a steel post,
    solid as a concrete block wall.
You’re a one-man defense system
    against this culture,
Against Judah’s kings and princes,
    against the priests and local leaders.
They’ll fight you, but they won’t
    even scratch you.
I’ll back you up every inch of the way.”
    God’s Decree.

New International Reader's Version

Jeremiah 1

1These are the words Jeremiah received from the Lord. Jeremiah was the son of Hilkiah. Jeremiah was one of the priests at Anathoth. That’s a town in the territory of Benjamin. A message from the Lord came to Jeremiah. It came in the 13th year that Josiah was king over Judah. Josiah was the son of Amon. After Josiah, his son Jehoiakim was king over Judah. The Lord’s message also came to Jeremiah during the whole time Jehoiakim ruled. The Lord continued to speak to Jeremiah while Zedekiah was king over Judah. He did this until the fifth month of the 11th year of Zedekiah’s rule. That’s when the people of Jerusalem were forced to leave their country. Zedekiah was the son of Josiah. Here is what Jeremiah said.

The Lord Appoints Jeremiah to Speak for Him

A message from the Lord came to me. The Lord said,

“Before I formed you in your mother’s body I chose you.
    Before you were born I set you apart to serve me.
    I appointed you to be a prophet to the nations.”

“You are my Lord and King,” I said. “I don’t know how to speak. I’m too young.”

But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I’m too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to. You must say everything I command you to say. Do not be afraid of the people I send you to. I am with you. I will save you,” announces the Lord.

Then the Lord reached out his hand. He touched my mouth and spoke to me. He said, “I have put my words in your mouth. 10 Today I am appointing you to speak to nations and kingdoms. I give you authority to pull them up by the roots and tear them down. I give you authority to destroy them and crush them. I give you authority to build them up and plant them.”

11 A message from the Lord came to me. The Lord asked me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?”

“The branch of an almond tree,” I replied.

12 The Lord said to me, “You have seen correctly. I am watching to see that my word comes true.”

13 Another message from the Lord came to me. The Lord asked me, “What do you see?”

“A pot that has boiling water in it,” I answered. “It’s leaning toward us from the north.”

14 The Lord said to me, “Something very bad will be poured out on everyone who lives in this land. It will come from the north. 15 I am about to send for all the armies in the northern kingdoms,” announces the Lord.

“Their kings will come to Jerusalem.
    They will set up their thrones at the very gates of the city.
They will attack all the walls that surround the city.
    They will go to war against all the towns of Judah.
16 I will judge my people.
    They have done many evil things.
    They have deserted me.
They have burned incense to other gods.
    They have worshiped the gods
    their own hands have made.

17 “So get ready! Stand up! Tell them everything I command you to. Do not let them terrify you. If you do, I will terrify you in front of them. 18 Today I have made you like a city that has a high wall around it. I have made you like an iron pillar and a bronze wall. Now you can stand up against the whole land. You can stand against the kings and officials of Judah. You can stand against its priests and its people. 19 They will fight against you. But they will not win the battle over you. I am with you. I will save you,” announces the Lord.