Scripture reading for August 5th: Jeremiah 1-6

“The word of the Lord came to me saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”” “Ah, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.” (Jeremiah 1:4-6)

Have you ever made excuses for why you can’t do something?   Has your mom or dad or preacher ever asked you to do something and you looked for all the reasons why you couldn’t?  Have you felt fear rise in your heart at the thought of beginning a new job or going to school?  Because of sin and Satan, we are creatures bound by fears and centered on ourselves.  Change is often difficult and we become our own worst enemy by positing endless excuses.

Jeremiah was a young man when God spoke to him about a plan for his life.  This plan would take Jeremiah out of his comfort zone and involved public speaking.  Jeremiah was being called to speak before nations, not just the local people.  He immediately thought up some excuses!  “I can’t speak” and “I am only a child” came first into his mind.  Public speaking is one of the top fears even today.  I know personally that as a young man, I was terrified to get up in front of people.

God immediately rebuked Jeremiah and told him to stop his excuses.  God made promises to Jeremiah to calm his fears.  He told him that He would be with him and rescue him!  What comfort that should have brought!   I wonder if Jeremiah’s mind raced to think of the kind of dangers that God might rescue him from?

God also touched Jeremiah’s mouth and put His words in his mouth.  He spoke a prophetic word to Jeremiah that would define his mission.  “See today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” (Jeremiah 1:10)  He then gave him a vision of an almond tree.  This tree was the first tree to bloom in Israel and signaled the coming of spring.  Everyone watched the almond to know when spring had arrived.  God promised Jeremiah, “I am watching to see that My word is fulfilled.” (Jeremiah 1:12)  God knows how to deal with our excuses!

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