Sunday, February 23, 2014

On any given Sunday, the pastor will read his sermon text from Scripture and my thoughts will spin away on side trails from his intended direction.

This time, it was the calling of the prophet of Jeremiah. When God first spoke to him to go to the people of Israel, he pleaded inadequacy on the basis of his age. God affirmed the call and told him not to be afraid.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve given this passage less and less attention because, well, it’s been less relevant to me. But it struck me this time that the “youth” Jeremiah was referring to can apply to inexperience in other areas.

I struggle with this on so many different levels, I hardly know where to begin. For all the years of experience I do have, I don’t feel fully qualified to serve in some of the places God has put me.

But as He’s said to me in so many different ways, He is with me. And if He’s the one who chose me, then He will give me the words. And the strength. And the confidence.

Our pastor commented on the phrase, “Do not be afraid of their faces.” He thought the particular wording interesting. Why not simply, “Do not be afraid of them”?

And I wonder, how many times does it fill me with terror just to think of standing in front of people, to have them looking at me?

But if I have the face of the Most High looking down on me—if He is the One before whom I truly stand or fall, not the human audience I see with my physical eyes—how do I dare to let the fear of man rule me?

Whether I am very young or very old, my God is the same. His power is not diminished by my lack of ability.

If anything, it is magnified.

Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
Then said I:
“Ah, Lord God!
Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.”
But the Lord said to me:
“Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’
For you shall go to all to whom I send you,
And whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Do not be afraid of their faces,
For I am with you to deliver you,” says the Lord.
Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me:
“Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. (Jeremiah 1, NKJV)


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