Friday, 29 May 2021
“Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” Jeremiah 1:6 [ESV]
The Book of Jeremiah opens with how Jeremiah is called and commissioned to be a prophet to Judah and the nations in speaking God’s words of both judgment and restoration. The twofold focus of God’s concern for repentance and judgment, is seen in the way God puts His words into Jeremiah’s mouth appointing him “over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant” (1:10). Knowing Jeremiah would suffer while fulfilling this ministry God promises to protect him (1:17–19).
Our reading today, while outlining Jeremiah’s commission also mentions the reluctance of Jeremiah in taking up his calling. This reminds us that there's no call without conflict. We too make excuses when we are asked to do something for the Lord as Jeremiah did (v.6). God promised to deliver Jeremiah from the conflicts by being with him. Just like Jeremiah received the Word from the Lord, we also have the far greater blessing of having the Word who became flesh dwell in us- Christ Jesus! So we are left with no excuse for refusing the calling. Excuses hinder us from becoming a sharp instrument in God’s hands. Ben Franklin wrote, "He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else." A bit harsh but so apt!
Hindrances in fulfilling our calling:
Most often we look at our own shortcomings or the insecurities of our past failures which becomes a sure guarantee for inaction. But God’s Word assures us that if He calls us He will equip us. We have the promise of God's provision. "Then the LORD reached out His hand, touched my mouth, and told me: I have now filled your mouth with My words" (Jer. 1:9). God is not interested in using the one with the fine speech but the one whose tongue has been touched with coals from the altar to make it like the pen of a ready writer.
Fear that we are not ready, that our time does not come because we think we need to prepare more, pray more. etc. God says in Vs.5 “I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born.” When God assigns us a task it is the assurance of His call on our lives that keeps us going like it did for Jeremiah.
Fear of the opposition that may come. But God promises to protect us. "Then the LORD said to me: Do not say, ‘I am only a youth,' for you will go to everyone I send you to and speak whatever I tell you. Do not be afraid of anyone, for I will be with you to deliver you. This is the LORD's declaration. 19 … for I will be with you and I will take care of you" (Jer. 1:7-8,19).
We have a responsibility. God has not refined and disciplined us through trials just to receive a blessing, but to make us perfect, complete and lacking nothing so that He can use us for His kingdom work. God commissioned Jeremiah: “But you, dress yourself for work; arise, and say to them everything that I command you. Do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them.” Christ too has given us the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. … ”
Application from Jeremiah 1:10: We are called “to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow (the hold of the powers and principalities), to build and,, to plant (His church)”