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I am reading from the book of Jeremiah chapter 1 (NIV), the heading is titled-The call of Jeremiah,and it is about Jeremiah becoming a spokesman for God.

Chapter 1:4-8 explains the calling and the concerns of Jeremiah, and God reassures Jeremiah in verse 8, that he is with him and will rescue him.God again reassures Jeremiah in verse 19, that the adversaries of Jeremiah will fight against him but they will not overcome him,for God is with him and he will rescue Jeremiah.

In the middle of the above two scriptures at verse 17, God tells Jeremiah,

17 ‘Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them.

God (on one hand) appears to be reassuring Jeremiah, but in verse 17, he gives Jeremiah a severe warning, should Jeremiah be frightened by them.

Why does God give Jeremiah this warning in verse 17? What is the message behind this scripture in the way God deals with Jeremiah?

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Like you said,

He gives Jeremiah a severe warning

It is commonly said that God's people are "a God Fearing People", this means that they fear and respect God, He has power to destroy His enemies, So they should do what God commands them to do.

In this specific passage, God is telling Jeremiah that his faith in God is what will save them.

If God's people fear these enemies it might be seen that these enemies have more power than God, which they don't, and their lack of faith will be their undoing. When you believe in God there is no enemy that can overcome you.

God says, there is only one you should fear, God Himself.

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