The Most Important Promise
Jeremiah 1:19The Lord called Jeremiah to a daunting task. He was to be God’s “prophet to the nations” (1:5). In this role, Jeremiah would “stand up against nations and kingdoms. Some [he] must uproot and tear down, destroy and overthrow. Others [he] must build up and plant” (1:10). To his own people, Jeremiah would bear the bad news of coming judgment, as “terror” would come from the north and attack Judah (1:14-16).
It’s no surprise that Jeremiah didn’t jump at this opportunity to become God’s spokesman. But, apart from normal reticence to take on such a difficult task, Jeremiah had two specific reasons for saying “No” to the Lord. First, he believed that he was too inarticulate to speak for the Lord (1:6). Second, he was too young (1:6). We don’t know Jeremiah’s exact age, but can assume that he was in his late teens or early twenties.
The Lord was not persuaded by Jeremiah’s objections, however. God promised to put his words in the prophet’s mouth (1:9) and to make him strong (1:18). But then he added the most important promise of all: “For I am with you, and I will take care of you” (1:19).
Jesus echoed this promise to Jeremiah when he sent his disciples into the world to make more disciples. “And be sure of this,” he said, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). When we know that God is with us, we are able to act courageously in doing his will. When we know that God will empower us, we can be bold to take on that which is beyond our strength. With confidence in God’s presence, we will not let our personal limitations keep us from answering God’s call, even when that call is scary and overwhelming.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Have you ever found yourself in a position rather like that of Jeremiah? When has God called you to something that was far beyond your capability? Is God calling you to something scary right now? How will you answer?PRAYER: Dear Lord, I can easily imagine how overwhelmed Jeremiah must have felt when you called him to be your prophet. Not only was he young and untrained as a speaker, but also you were summoning him to a tough job. For the most part, he would bring bad news to the nations, most of all to his own people. Like Jeremiah, I wouldn’t have wanted this job.
But I would have wanted your promise to Jeremiah. I would have wanted to hear that you would be with me. Indeed, Lord, there is little in life better than this knowledge, except, perhaps, for the experience of your presence.
Thank you for being with me, even as you were with Jeremiah. Thank you for helping me, guiding me, and empowering me. May I continue to rely on you in each and every challenge of life.
May I live this day, gracious Lord, as if you were with me . . . because you are with me! Amen.