Willing to Risk Ridicule
But the Lord said to [Jeremiah], “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 1:8–9
The young priest Jeremiah was minding his own business when God came to him and said, “I appointed you as a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5).
But Jeremiah resisted. “I do not know how to speak; I am too young” (v. 6). In other words, “Thanks but no thanks, God. I’m not the one for that job.”
And who could blame him? He lived in a culture God described this way: “My people are fools; they do not know me. They are senseless children; they have no understanding. They are skilled in doing evil; they know not how to do good” (4:22).
Who wants to speak the truth to people who don’t want to listen?
Like Jeremiah, I sometimes resist when God prompts me to do something. Maybe you do too. I consider my skill set and say, “I’m not the right person for that job. Better find someone else.” What motivates that sort of reaction? For me, it’s fear—fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of looking foolish.
Maybe those same fears welled up within Jeremiah, but God didn’t allow the young priest to give in to his fears. God reached out, touched his mouth, and said, “Now, I have put my words in your mouth” (1:9). And Jeremiah served God as a prophet for forty years.
We also live in a culture that has, for the most part, rejected God’s righteous decrees. God is calling each of us to stand up and speak up for Him. We are His messengers, called to bring the light of truth into “a warped and crooked generation … [to] shine among them like stars in the sky as [we] hold firmly to the word of life” (Philippians 2:16).
God promised to go with Jeremiah on his truth-speaking journey (Jeremiah 1:8). God also assured his prophet that “they will fight against you but will not overcome you” (1:19). God also promises that he will never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).
So the next time God prompts you to stand up and speak up for truth, will you resist or will you move forward in faith as Jeremiah did?
Compare Jeremiah 4:22, 6:10, 7:24, and 8:5–6 with Romans 1:28–32. Do the descriptions of the people described in these passages sound like people in our culture? How did Jeremiah and Paul stand up for God? How do you stand up for God?
Denise K. Loock
This devotion is part of our “Do Not Be Afraid” series.