Strength For The Task.
“For see, today I have made you strong like a fortified city that cannot be captured, like an iron pillar or a bronze wall. You will stand against the whole land — the kings, officials, priests, and people of Judah.” – Jeremiah 1:18 NLT
Jeremiah was 20 years old. He was an unknown young man from the little town of Anathoth, just three miles northeast of Jerusalem. He was the son of a priest, but did not seem to have received any priestly training himself. One minute he was just another young Jewish man planning out his future, then everything changed. He received a call from God informing him that he was being appointed God’s prophet to the nations. Jeremiah knew what this meant. He had lived long enough to see and hear the words of Zephaniah, God’s current spokesperson. He knew being a prophet was not an easy task. It was not for the weak or timid. So Jeremiah responded, “O Sovereign Lord, I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!” (Jeremiah 1:6 NLT). He gave God an excuse. He used his youth and inexperience as a reason to reject God’s calling. But God had set him apart for this job before he was even born. He knew what Jeremiah would be doing before he was even conceived in his mother’s womb. God had plans for Jeremiah and told him so. “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” (Jeremiah 1:7-8 NLT). God’s call was non-negotiable. This was not a request, but a command. He was going to do what God was calling him to do, and God wold equip him to do so.
The message Jeremiah was going to have to deliver to the people of Judah was not an easy one. He would not be popular. He was not going to be invited to a lot of parties or find himself with a lot of friends. His was going to be a message of judgment and coming destruction. He was to call the people to repentance and warn them of God’s coming wrath if they didn’t. Jeremiah was going to be a social pariah, an outcast. He would be hated. He would be ostracized. He would be threatened with death. But God assured him, “I have made you strong. You will stand against the whole land. They will fight you, but they will fail.” (Jeremiah 1:18-19 NLT). God was going to be with Jeremiah and take care of Him all along the way. His message was God’s message. He was going to be God’s spokesperson delivering His words to His people. God never promised Jeremiah that this would be an easy job. He told him that he would face opposition. He warned him that he would have to stand against the whole land – from the kings and officials to the priests and people. Speaking truth is never easy. Being a prophet was not a popularity contest. It was about obedience and faithfulness to God’s word. For the next four decades Jeremiah was going to have a full-time job speaking on behalf of God, delivering a less-than-pleasant message to a more-than-stubborn people. But God was with Him. He would protect and use Him. He would provide strength for the task. And He’ll do the same thing for you today.
Father, the life You have called us to is not an easy one. In many ways, we are prophets speaking Your truth in the midst of a people who don’t want to hear it. We are called to live lives that are set apart, distinctive and different from the world around us. We are to called to love those around us by telling them the truth about sin and the hope for salvation through Jesus Christ. Give us the strength we need for the task. Help us learn what it means to obey from the life of Jeremiah. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men