“'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“
I inherited a house when my Mom went to be with the Lord. It had been her
home for fifty years. We still have the house, for instead of selling, it was
restored and turned into a rental property. The income is God’s blessing, for it
covers the mortgage payment on the home where we live. This is one of the
interesting ways God has provided for us since we responded to His call and
entered full-time ministry. Recently something happened which is a reminder that it is important for all
of us to not only receive from the Lord, but also to carefully tend that which
He has placed into our care. I am also reminded to not be afraid when trouble comes for He is with those
We received a “Notice” from an agency we had
never heard of before, called “Vector Management.”
Someone, probably a neighbor of the rental property, called the county and
complained of creatures running on electrical wires behind the property,
ostensibly in relation to the fruit trees in the back yard of my Mom’s home. All
tree limbs were to be cut back so they would be no more than three feet from the
electrical wires and any fruit that had fallen on the ground was to be removed.
Further action would be taken against us if the work was not done. We knew some kind of notice from some agency or another would be coming because
a neighbor to the property had called a couple of days before the notice was
received, telling us something was to happen because of “vermin”
on the wires, as he put it. I think the call was actually God preparing and
calming us in advance. We took bids from tree trimming companies, chose one of
them, and a few days later, the trees were remarkably smaller from pruning, the
yard had been cleaned of any fallen fruit from the trees and our wallets were
somewhat lighter in the experience. But God has entrusted that property to
us and He is with us in caring for it. Don't be afraid when complications
in life happen, for God is with us.
There was never any doubt as to whether we should trim the trees or not. As the Lord
has intended through the centuries, and as reflected in places like Romans
13:1-2 - “Let every soul be subject to the governing
authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that
exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the
ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.”
Agencies like “Vector Management” are there because
God intends good for everyone. If governments act badly, it is people who
are the problem; not God.
Our Scripture for today contains important elements. Six hundred years after
Jeremiah the prophet lived, Jesus said, “Many are
called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 20:16). As explored
previously, we are “chosen” by our
willingness to respond to His call. In today’s Scripture, we see Jeremiah’s initial response to the call of God.
He said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a
youth.” Jeremiah correctly understood that he did not have the maturity to
speak the words of God. He did not have the knowledge, experience or the
education for such a position. In relation to his contemporaries in the
employment category labeled “prophet,” he lacked the educational credentials
required. He did not graduate from a proper seminary or have a doctorate in
He was literally a boy, a teenager who would be “afraid
of (the) faces” and responses of those he
would speak to. The Lord’s answer to him contains words that we should all hear and
understand. God said, “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… for I am with you to deliver you,’ says the Lord"
Note the reasons WHY Jeremiah, you, me and all who are led by God do not
need to be afraid: Our limitations are not the issue, and yes, we do have them.
If all in ministry were somehow revealed to the world for what we really are,
ALL of us would be disqualified from serving. When the Holy
Spirit, through Paul, said, “ALL have sinned and come
short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), He wasn’t kidding. There are a
number of places in Scripture where the various offices assigned by God to
mankind are described. One is in 1 Timothy Chapter 3, where the qualifications
needed by “bishops” and “deacons”
are revealed. “Elders” are defined in Titus 1:5-9.
If you compare such qualifications with the teachings of the Sermon on the
Mount (Matthew Chapter 5 & forward), you’ll see that it’s not only our actions,
but it is also our thoughts and attitudes that are judged unacceptable by a holy
God. Jeremiah was right – he was unfit and could not, in his own strength,
respond to the call of God. We serve because of God’s grace, His unmerited
favor, not because of some inherent “goodness” in us. Does that mean we should
all run away and “continue in sin that grace may abound?”
as Paul asked in Romans 6:1. The response is “Certainly
not!... we died to sin” and must not “live any longer in it” (Romans
6:2). We can say “Yes!” to God because of His grace.
If you are being called by God to some work for His kingdom, such as teaching
a Bible class, you need not do it in your own strength. As the Lord
responded to Jeremiah, you can “go to all to whom
(He sends) you,” doing all that He has in mind, and
you do not need to be “afraid” for a very good
reason – God is WITH you when you respond to His call.
I remember a professor in college who scornfully said, in response to a
question I asked, “I’ll bet you’re one of those who
believe that, “When God guides, God provides!” He went on to give an
anecdote from his own experience, revealing that, to him, the statement and the
concept behind it were not true. Actually, for the past thirty years, I have
observed first-hand that (in all due respect) it was the professor who was wrong
on that issue.
If God calls you to teach or preach, He will be with you and help you know
what to write or say. If He calls you to give money, the fact that you don’t
have enough to give at the moment is not the issue. All money and everything
considered valuable in the world is HIS, not yours, mine or anybody else’s. As Corrie Ten Boom prayed for the needs of her orphans, “Lord, please sell one of Your cattle on those ten thousand hills
and provide what is needed.”
If there is a “Vector Management” in your life,
know that you can deal with it because God will help. If you don’t have money or
not be afraid," for He is with you.
Lord, help us to not be afraid. Let us respond, not to our limitations,
but to Your call. We say “Yes” to You. You are with us and we praise Your Holy
Jesus Name. Amen.