Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.”But the Lord said to me,
“Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’;
for to all to whom I send you, you shall go,
and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
declares the Lord.”
A lot of people consider that if what they are truly like was known, then they would not be liked let alone loved. If their unfiltered thoughts were known they would not be trusted and they would be publicly shamed. These inner feelings of guilt or inadequacy then inhibits them from expressing other true feelings and thoughts. They lead to a conviction of unworthiness in the Lord’s service.
Jesus, when warning his disciples about the Pharisees’ hypocrisy said, ‘There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.’ Luke 12.2 We are an open book to God and that knowledge should not only lead to repentance but should also be a huge relief. We can stop pretending and covering up because he knew even before we were born. Even so he still loves us enough to send his Son to die for us. Now we can get on with our life of obedience, excuses are swept away.
As with Jeremiah, God knew us, loved us, planned our salvation and had a role for us before we were formed in the womb. We will have excuses, even Moses had excuses, but that is what they are. Jeremiah’s excuses were that he was too young and wouldn’t know what to say. We may have different ones. God’s answer will be the same. I know you completely and I will be with you. For Jeremiah the words are not to be his but the ones the Lord will put in his mouth.
Jesus had similar words to say to the twelve. He knew that the future held serious challenges including being held to account by governments and courts. He did not want them to be like gladiators in the arena but he did mean them to be trusting and faithful.
‘Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. 19 When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. 20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.’ Mathew10. 16-20
May we remember the Spirit of God is with us as we share his good news.
God is with us