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"God's Message in Our Mouths" (posted November 5, 2016)
The words of Jeremiah....
The word of the Lord came to me, saying: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
Then said I: “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.”
- Jeremiah 1:1,4-6
Jeremiah, still quite young, is frightened at the prospect of this divinely appointed mission. He meekly protests, "I cannot speak, for I am a youth" (Jeremiah 1:6). You will recall that Moses, when much older, made the same objection when the Lord chose to send him into Egypt (Exodus 4:10). Amos reminds us that he was not the son of a prophet nor a prophet himself, but a simple and poor shepherd. God, however, had taken him while he was tending the flock and had said to him, "Go, prophesy to My people Israel" (Amos 7:14-15).
Isn't it true that we make similar objections? Sometimes we feel too young or too ignorant to pray in the presence of others. Often, in fellowship at the Lord's table, we feel too timid to pray in the assembly! The years go by, and we still feel too young or perhaps too inadequate, and we remain silent until middle age, and finally old age arrives!
And what about the outward testimony? How often we feel our own inadequacy to speak of the Lord and let the testimony of His grace shine! We forget that when the Lord invites us to serve in this way, there are resources in Him sufficient to enable us to respond to His invitation.
When the Lord miraculously fed the crowd in the desert, He commanded His disciples, "You give them something to eat" (Matthew 14:16). Hearing this order of the Lord's, the disciples could not understand how five loaves and two fish could possibly feed so many people. But what did Jesus say? "Bring them here to Me." Then He multiplied the meager resources of the disciples and not only satisfied the entire crowd but had a number of baskets of food still left over.
As for Jeremiah, the Lord deals with him in the time of his weakness by giving him words of encouragment as well as words of promise. First He gives him the definite order, "You shall go" (Jeremiah 1:7). God says further, "Whatever I command you, you shall speak." Then, calming his mind still further He states, "I am with you to deliver you" (verse 8).
Jeremiah was not to speak on the basis of what he had in himself. God put forth His hand and touched the young man's mouth, saying, "Behold, I have put My words in your mouth" (verse 9). God would reveal things to him which he must faithfully transmit to others.