Immediately following Jeremiah’s call to the prophetic ministry, the prophet was given two visions that would serve to encourage him in the face of great adversity and opposition: the almond branch and the boiling pot. The almond tree was among the earliest blooming trees in the spring, thus encouraging Jeremiah that, as the almond tree quickly blooms, so God will quickly do what he has announced. Furthermore, God was constantly watching over his word to bring it to pass. Jeremiah needed to know that the Lord will accomplish all that he has spoken. He will not rest until his purposes are accomplished. An important lesson for Jeremiah and for us: Let no one think that the Lord is slack concerning the carrying out of his word!
The second vision teaches Jeremiah that judgment is coming against Judah, and it will come from the north. The coming judgment is pictured as overflowing from a pot, like a boiling and steaming torrent, from the north. And, so, with these visions in hand, Jeremiah is told to do three things: One, “Gird up your loins” (Get ready for action!). Two, “Speak to the people what I command you,” and three, “Trust me.” That is, “Jeremiah, do not be dismayed. I am with you.” With these encouragements, we can also live boldly for God and for the gospel.