5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
And before you were born I consecrated you;
I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
6 Then I said, “Alas, Lord GOD!
Behold, I do not know how to speak,
Because I am a youth.”
7 But the LORD said to me,
“Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’
Because everywhere I send you, you shall go,
And all that I command you, you shall speak.
8 “Do not be afraid of them,
For I am with you to deliver you,” declares the LORD.
I was reading the commissioning of Jeremiah this morning. While I was doing that, I was reminded of Isaiah’s commissioning and noticed the differences in their respective initial reactions. Isaiah was “woe is me, I am a man of unclean lips living with people of unclean lips”, which is “I’m too filthy that you should send me” reaction. While Jeremiah’s was “I’m too young. I won’t know what to say”, which is “I’m not good enough”. Both are crisis of self worth – “I’m not good enough”.
In both cases, God cleansed them – interestingly their lips – presumably as they were called to be prophets. But each, in different ways, was given one promise: “I will be with you”.
And hence, they went.
There were a number of prophets commissioned in the Old Testament including Isaiah, Jeremiah, Moses, Gideon, Samuel, Ezekiel, Jonah, etc. But there seem to be some common objections (note: I would do a Jonah if I was called – he basically legged it. Read it here).
“Who am I that I should go?”
“What shall I say to them?”
“What if they do not listen?”
“I am slow of speech.”
“Send someone else.”
“I’m not good enough”
“I’m too young and inexperienced”
In various ways, God’s response to each of these objections is: “I will be with you.” Excuses are not in His realm – only possibilities.
And the promise that He will be with us. And that, I know.