The beginning of Jeremiah is always a personal encouragement for me. Not because I’m a prophet. I’m not a prophet nor the son of a prophet. But I am a preacher and this passage has parallel truths that are meaningful to God’s preachers today.
First, we see Jeremiah giving an account of his calling from God in 1:4-19. He was not an eager prophet. He tried to beg out of the calling with what many would consider a valid excuse: “Then I said, “ Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” (6)
But God replied, “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.” (7) “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.” (9) God assured Jeremiah that his youthfulness was not a problem because he would tell him what to say and put the right words in his mouth. Finally, God exhorted him, “But you, dress yourself for work; arise, and say to them everything that I command you. Do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them.” (17) In other words, God said, “Now get busy doing what I’ve commanded you to do.”
I’m sure you can see the encouragement to preachers today. There is no promise from God that he will miraculously “put his words in our mouths.” But he doesn’t have to do that because he has written his Word down for us. And, just like Jeremiah, he wants us to say what he says in his Word to his people: only what he says but all of what he says. That is the task of the preacher today. I hope you are praying for me, our other pastors and others that you know to fulfill this task.
Prayer: Help me and help my brother preachers to be faithful to your Word. Help us to say only what you have said but also all of what you have said. Help us not to rely on our own cleverness or wisdom but on your power through the Holy Spirit as we prepare and as we preach.