Lectionary readings for today:
Thus says the Lord: Stand in the court of the Lord’s house, and speak to all the cities of Judah that come to worship in the house of the Lord; speak to them all the words that I command you; do not hold back a word. – Jeremiah 26:2 (NRSV)
When I read the Jeremiah 26:1-16, verse 2 stood out to me after reading the verses several times over a two week period. I thought about my call as an Elder and when I have led worship. I have had opportunities of praying for others and leading study groups by invitation, but still there was always a feeling of doubt in my ability to share God’s word. How did Jeremiah feel, really? I remember when Bob Clark called me about coming on session. The first thing I recall saying was Me, I am not old enough, and I don’t think I am mature in the word to do this. After reading this I went to Jeremiah 1:6 Then I said, Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy. 7 But the Lord said to me, Do not say,’ I am only a boy’: for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you. I went even further with this verse for the past two weeks at least. I read Moses even said He couldn’t take on this task as spokesperson, Gideon said, he was the least his family, and Solomon, was leery about being King, he thought he was too young. It was not by chance that Jeremiah was chosen to stand and speak. I read these verses over and read other verses; God chooses the weak and the sleepers on purpose.
Jeremiah and I had the same feelings I believe. We didn’t feel adequate to speak for God, but God knew from before we were born that here were two people willing to go, and that we would speak on His behalf no matter what pressure was put on us to stop. I took it further – God delights in this kind of willingness and meekness. When you are willing to go, stand and speak for God, He will give you an abundance of his Word. Jeremiah was really insecure about speaking for God. I could see him coming in the crowd, trying to get their attention. Clearing his throat a couple of times maybe, or saying “Excuse Me, Excuse Me, May I have your attention!” After he spoke all the words the Lord commanded, and then the threats of death came. I get nervous and feel I may not say the right thing with just being asked to pray or say a word of encouragement to someone sometime depending on the setting.
These are opportunities that we must take to stand and speak God’s word; we don’t know what change could come despite the threat of death or our own insecurity. Let us be like Jeremiah faithful to stand and speak all the words commanded.
Let us pray that the words of our mouth and the meditations of our hearts may be acceptable in thy sight, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.