An excerpt from our chronological Bible reading this past week:
Now the word of the LORD came to me saying, “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.” Then I said, “Alas, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, Because I am a youth.” 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. Do not be afraid of them, For I am with you to deliver you,” declares the LORD. Jeremiah 1:4-8 (NASB)
We live in a world awash with the profusion of words. The value is to talk, though often there’s no depth to match length in speech. Politics, “news” and social media are noisy specimens. Yes, you note I did not include sermons in my examples.
You may recall a time when the value was in words few and measured, with weighty thought behind them, chosen to persuade and effect change. The shift today is value in a torrent of words, and cleverness or crudeness of phrases. The goal is not to dialogue, but to “cancel” detractors, and embolden minions holding to the “correct” view. Attacks shift to personal levels, and every perceived slight is amplified through a flood of rhetoric, designed for reaction, not reason.
So here we are. And this is the world our children inherit.
Jeremiah was certain his place was to be silent, and offered his youthful inexperience as his hall pass. The Lord counseled him with some truths that we might be sure to pass to our children, as we also live them out ourselves.
The Lord informed Jeremiah that He was sending him, and obedience was not optional. It is a good reminder that God has divine appointments for us in our days, and we are to respond to the Lord’s direction for us. Think of Noah, Abram, Moses, Jonah, the Prophets, the Disciples, Paul…
The power behind the words we speak will be from the Lord. That implies we are listening to and allowing Him to form us, in thought, deed and word. “I think” is not as weighty as, “The Lord tells us.” I know this from experience. Are we teaching our children of the importance to listen to God (in His Word, prayer, godly counsel) and then unapologetically communicating what He reveals to us?
The fear of man is a warning throughout scripture. When we walk with our Lord, and are used of Him in situations easy or stressful, we can leave the outcomes to Him as well. Our deliverance is already secured through the power of the Risen Christ, and what have we to fear, whether standing before paupers or kings?
A great example of this truth in life is found in Acts 3 and 4, where Peter and John are hauled before the authorities to give account. Their response, and the response of the believers (at 4:23 and forward) is something worth reading carefully and discussing fully with your family.
There would be more I might share, but I’ll take my own medicine, and refrain from talking further at this time…