I had all intentions of sharing with you the nuggets that I recently uncovered from my time reading the book of Jeremiah, however, because of the situation we all find ourselves in at this time I wanted to first write down my thoughts about the Coronavirus in my last post “A Fiery Trial, An Invisible Enemy, and God’s Promise.” If you didn’t get a chance to read it you will find it in my blog archives.
Now I want to start digging in the words written by the prophet Jeremiah. I have to admit that with the Coronavirus at the forefront of my mind, like everyone else, I seem to be reading my Bible in a different context, but that’s a good thing, right? To read the Bible and apply it to our lives?
So Here Goes . . . Jeremiah Chapter One
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak,
for I am only a youth.” But the Lord said to me,
“Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’;
for to all to whom I send you, you shall go,
and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
declares the Lord.”
Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me,
“Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.
See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms,
to pluck up and to break down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant.”
This is so good . . . so let’s dig!
Before you and I were even formed in our mother’s womb God knew us! Grab hold of that statement. Even before we were FORMED, God knew us. How? God knows EVERYTHING–past, present, and future.
Not only did He know us before we were formed, He sanctified us–that is He set us apart. And He appointed us–He has a purpose for each one of us, and He has given us the gifts to accomplish our purposes. (The sad thing is so many of us don’t realize this and even if we do, we don’t use the gifts that we were given.)
I love the next part . . .
Jeremiah began making excuses.
Isn’t that just like us sometimes? We are told by someone that we would be good at something, or that we should consider doing something bigger than we could imagine and what do we sometimes do? We begin making excuses. We also do it with God when we feel Him prompting us to do something, just like Jeremiah did. We say “I do not know how to _____________ (fill in the blank), for I am only ____________ (fill in the blank.) But the Lord then said to Jeremiah, and to us, “Do not say . . .”
Then God goes on to declare to the author and us that:
1. He will send us to whom He will send us, and we shall go.
2. Whatever He commands us, we will speak.
3. We do not need to be afraid.
4. He is with us and will deliver us.
Our Excuses . . .
Yes. The excuses. If God has always known me (and you) and He has set me apart (and you) and has appointed me to do something (and you too) then what am I waiting for? I will go first. My excuses right now are: I don’t know where to start or what direction to even begin, I’m too old, (don’t laugh), and I don’t have time. There they are, my excuses–how I would fill in the blanks.
What about you? What are your excuses?
God wants us to . . .
Let’s look at what He told Jeremiah. He told him not to say those things . . . in other words, He didn’t want to hear his excuses and He doesn’t want to hear ours either. He has told us what He wants us to do and more:
For you shall go to all whom I send you…
Whatever I command you, you shall speak…
Do not be afraid of their faces…
I am with you to deliver you…
Then He went on to say:
I have put My Words in your mouth…
I have set you over to:
root and to pull down,
to destroy and to throw down,
to build and to plant.
We don’t have to be ministers or on staff of a church to share God’s word to others. And what better time than now, when people’s hearts are soften to God’s Word during this crisis, to speak God’s truth into the lives of others.
Let’s don’t make this hard . . . God said He will send us, He will tell us what to say, that we don’t need to be afraid, and that He will be with us to deliver us from anything we may endure. Then He went on to say that He has already put His Words into our mouths, and He is sending us to root and pull down, to destroy and to throw down . . . what? Lies of the enemy, false teaching, worldly ideas. And then we are to build and to plant . . . what? Build others up and plant the truth in them to replace what we rooted out, pulled down, destroyed and threw down.
What’s our response?
How is God wanting to use you at this time? Whose life could He be wanting you to speak truth into? How could you be His hands and feet?
I hope Jeremiah’s words have encouraged you as much as they have encouraged me. Take to heart that you are so significant and so special that the creator of the universe knew you BEFORE you were formed, that the same ONE set you apart, and appointed you for a purpose.
Take time to examine why you aren’t doing something you feel prompted to do and what excuses you may be using. God doesn’t really want to hear them–they don’t matter to Him. What He does want to hear from us is that we beleive Him when He said: “For you shall go to all whom I send you…Whatever I command you, you shall speak…Do not be afraid of their faces…I am with you to deliver you…”
Your Turn . . .
I want to know your thoughts. What has God shown you in this Scritpure? If you have read this for the first time, what are your thoughts?
Our world is so different right now: social distancing, no church services, no Bible studies (in person), no family gatherings . . . and I could go on. But, I’m seeing my neighbors more, what about you? And I see more people “talking” and “sharing” online. I see people looking for encourgament and hope. I also see people in fear, meandering through each day without hope, and listening to the lies from the enemy. We have the answer. We have the HOPE. We have Jesus who is our All in All.
Has God prompted you to reach out to someone? Given you an idea? Pricked your spirit and made you want to draw closer to Him?
I love the line in the book of Esther when Queen Esther’s uncle was encouraging her to do something unprecidented in an unprecidented time . . . He said, “For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
So I say to you in closing, as we all find ourselves in unprecidented times . . . “Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom (your home, your family, your generation) for such a time as this?”
Until next time,
May the Lord bless you and keep you!
Scripture from the New King James Version of the Bible