Fear Not: Jeremiah

Fear Not: Jeremiah

Fear Not: Jeremiah.

“The Lord gave me this message: ‘I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.’ ‘O Sovereign Lord,’ I said, ‘I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!’ The Lord replied, ‘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!’ Then the Lord reached out and touched my mouth and said, ‘Look, I have put my words in your mouth!'” (Jeremiah 1:4-9).

Spiritually speaking, Jeremiah was an astounding success story. He remained faithful to God’s calling during his entire forty years as prophet to the southern kingdom of Judah. Humanly speaking, though, Jeremiah was a dismal failure. Despite his consistent prophetic efforts as God’s spokesman, the nation refused to listen throughout his ministry. The people stubbornly refused to turn from their sins of idolatry and immorality. The people ignored his words all forty years, and the consequences were dire. He prophesied that Jerusalem would be destroyed because of their sinfulness, and his prophecies came true. Tragically, Jeremiah was witness to the fall of Jerusalem, the destruction of the Temple, and the people exiled into enemy territory. But all was not lost. Jeremiah also predicted that after the destruction and captivity, God would send a Messiah with a new covenant and an eternal hope. Despite his frequent gloom and doom, Jeremiah’s faithfulness and hopefulness makes him the ultimate success story.

When Jeremiah was still a young lad, he received a very specific calling on his life. God had his hand on Jeremiah’s life before he was even conceived. Evidently there was only one man for the job, and that man was Jeremiah. He was afraid of the assigned mission because of his youth and inexperience. But God didn’t give up, and finally convinced Jeremiah he was the chosen “prophet to the nations.” His initial reluctance reminds one of Moses at the burning bush. There were excuses put forth about his inadequacy, but the Lord prevailed in His divine appointment. God reached out and touched Jeremiah’s mouth, and put His words into Jeremiah’s mouth. Moses had Aaron to help him communicate, but Jeremiah was all alone. But God was enough. Jeremiah depended on the Lord’s sufficiency during his decades of lonely ministry to stubborn people. His fearfulness quickly turned into the fearlessness that only comes in faithful trust in God.

An Answer to Fear:  You never need to fear that God is a distant potentate somewhere. His personal hand is on every believer, beginning when we were an inspired thought in God’s mind. You are valuable and unique in God’s eyes, and are called to be a light in the darkness, no matter where that darkness is. Don’t be afraid of any inadequacy you might feel. All our adequacy comes from the Almighty God. And His hand is on us from the very beginning. So we needn’t fear opposition or inadequacy. God will make up the difference.

Take Heart: “The Lord is my light and my salvation – so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? When evil people come to devour me, when my enemies and foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident.” (Psalm 27:1-3).