“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’” (Jeremiah 1:6-8).
Jeremiah had a difficult task. Though he began his ministry during the reign of King Josiah, one of the best kings Judah would ever know, he still prophesied during a time of great spiritual darkness. The people were still rebelling against God, and it would only grow worse as the years drew on. By the time Jeremiah began to declare God’s messages to the people, there was practically no chance left of restoration. Judgment was coming; the only question now was when.
This message was difficult enough in itself. But to compound the difficulty, Jeremiah was afraid. He was young, and he didn’t think he had what it took to speak these powerful words. When God called him, he imitated Moses, protesting that he didn’t know how to speak. He also insisted he was too young for this job.
God, however, thought otherwise. He had called Jeremiah for a reason, setting him apart from before his birth to prophesy among the nations (Jeremiah 1:5). He knew Jeremiah was timid; He knew all of his weaknesses. But He still called him. Jeremiah was the one God wanted, and it didn’t matter what character flaws he had. God was still going to use him in mighty ways. Jeremiah’s excuses meant nothing to the Almighty God. The rest of the book is a testament to how God used this fearful man for His incredible glory.
Being called by God is terrifying. He tends to call us to things we can’t do on our own, things we’d never have chosen for ourselves if we had a choice. But our weaknesses don’t stop God. He is more than happy to work through our weaknesses, bringing great glory to His name because of the mighty works He does through the weak vessels He chooses as His instruments.