Jeremiah started out as a deeply insecure young man. He was called to be a prophet to the nations which meant that he had to say whatever God told him to say, regardless of how it would be received. Prophets are given special insight into how God is going to operate. They warn of upcoming danger, encourage those who have lost hope, and speak God’s message to whomever they are with.
Jeremiah did not feel up to the task. When God revealed Jeremiah’s destiny to him, Jeremiah’s response was, “Ah, Sovereign LORD, I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.”
(A.K.A. “They won’t listen to me!”)
God’s reply, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you.” It was a declaration of his faith in Jeremiah’s ability to do what he was called to do. My pastor always says, “God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called.” If God asks you to do anything, He will make a way for you to do it.
When you have, been graced to do something (especially if it is for God), the only thing that can revoke it is your willingness to attain it. When Jeremiah hears what God wants him to do, he brings up the only thing that will disqualify him: his age. As a prophet, he will have to speak God’s word to people twice his age, most of whom will not like what he has to say.
In order for Jeremiah to fulfill God’s purpose for his life, he had to get over his inferiority complex. The truth of the matter is that Jeremiah was qualified because he was blessed by God.
No one can usurp God’s authority.
In a way, Jeremiah’s trepidation was understandable. Prophets, by their nature, are uncompromising truth-tellers. Their role is to either build you up, or tear you down, to either build something or destroy it, depending on what the situation warrants. While everyone glories in being built up, being torn down is never welcome. Yet this is what young Jeremiah had to do. He had to tell the people of Israel that if they continued to be unfaithful to God, they would have to live with the consequences of their actions.
People don’t like to hear that their actions have ramifications, so most prophets were either forced to flee for their lives, persecuted, or killed. When Jeremiah tells God he doesn’t know how to speak, he is thinking about how he, as a young man, will be accepted by the people.
Well, Jeremiah wasn’t accepted. He prophesies, prays, and complains in 52 more chapters. He is plotted against. He calls out false prophets who only tell people what they want to hear, and he says verbatim what God told him to regarding the people of Israel.
In order for Jeremiah to get over his insecurity with people, he had to find security with God. When God told Jeremiah, “I have put my words in your mouth.” He confirmed what Jeremiah was too afraid to believe. He was the only one who could do what he was supposed to.
He knew that God always had his back, even as his enemies were trying to kill him. (They really don’t like hearing the truth!) And God did have his back. Israel was defeated by her enemies because the people refused to heed Jeremiah’s (God’s) warnings. Jeremiah started out as an insecure young man, but he became a holy prophet, who was powerful in speech, intransigent in his resolve, and entirely dependent on God to lead him.
One of the most well-known verses in this book is Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah had his share of setbacks, but because he knew that God would be there for him always, he was able to accomplish what God said he would do, even though the outcome wasn’t quite what he was expecting.
Pretty decent for a youngster.