I originally had a much longer title for this, but I like this one because (1) alliteration and (2) Star Wars. It is a little vague though. My original title was more along the lines of “Jeremiah Went Through a Heck of a Lot More Than You Ever Will and Still Lived Out God’s Calling For His Life, So You Should Too.” It’s much more specific than Standing Solo, but there’s no alliteration and no Star Wars references, so I changed it. But now you know the original title too, so I guess you get the best of both worlds, lucky you!
As you probably noticed, this post is only part one. This is actually a sermon that I got to preach last week that I’m adapting for my blog. I was going to put the whole thing in one post, but that would make it way longer than anything else I’ve posted before, so it’s getting split up into probably three parts. So look out for the next part in a few days!
Anyways, back to the task at hand. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m talking about the prophet Jeremiah today. Here’s a little background in case you’re not caught up on your Biblical history: Jeremiah was a prophet to the kingdom of Judah (the southern kingdom). He started his ministry in 626
B.C. which was about 100 years after Israel (the northern kingdom) had been captured by the Assyrians, and he continued to minister up until Judah fell to the Babylonians about 40 years later. The reason why Israel fell and the reason why Judah was about to fall was pretty obvious: they turned their backs on God and worshiped idols. Jeremiah was God’s last effort to reach out to His people before He turned them over to their enemies. But no pressure.
So let’s start right at the beginning: Jeremiah chapter 1. Verses 4 and 5 should be pretty familiar to you if you’ve grown up in church: “The word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.'” Now then, we may not all be called to be prophets to the nations, but we do all have a calling on our lives. Most of us, though, tend to respond exactly the same way Jeremiah did in verse 6: “‘Alas, Sovereign Lord,’ I said, ‘I do not know how to speak; I am too young.'” Maybe I’m alone here, but that sounds a lot like me. Not necessarily being too young, but when God wants me to do something, my immediate reaction is to tell God why I can’t do it. It doesn’t matter how cool of a thing it is that God’s asking me to do, I’m never good enough. And what does God think about that? “But the Lord said to me, ‘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” (v7-8). You see, God already knows every excuse, every reason, every shortcoming you have. He knows your weakness better than you do, but that didn’t stop Him from calling you. He knows exactly what will cause you to fail, and He’s already answered it: “I am with you and will rescue you.” Now then, that doesn’t mean it’ll be easy. God also says “Do not be afraid,” and the only reason why He would say that is because there’s something to be afraid of. For Jeremiah, it was “them.” Who is the “them” God refers to? Well, it’s actually the people that he’s ministering to. So right off the bat we can see that Jeremiah isn’t going to be having a great time. I mean, just imagine this situation for a minute: Hey Kyle, I really need you to go work at this new job. I know that you don’t really have the qualifications necessary for it, but don’t worry, I’ve got it covered. Ok, I guess I can do that. Oh, and whatever happens, don’t be afraid of the customers. What? Why would I be afraid of the customers? Well, they’re probably not going to be very happy that you’re doing your job. But like I said, don’t worry about it. Just follow my instructions and don’t worry about how they’ll react, I’ll take care of it. Oh…ok. Super encouraging, right? But Jeremiah went ahead and did what God told him to despite his fear, which is what the rest of the book is about. So when God puts something on your heart for you to do, be like Jeremiah. Face up to the fact that there are things that are worth fearing, but realize that the only power they have over you is when you allow them to paralyze you.