“Do Not Say
‘I am only______ ’”
God is Calling You!
The Rev. Wendy Berthelsen
NALS Regent / Pastor, Hope Lutheran Church, TX
The Call of Jeremiah
The Call of Jeremiah
4 Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
6 Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.”
7 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.
8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord.”
9 Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me,
“Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.
10 See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms,
to pluck up and to break down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant.”
“Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,”
The Lord is speaking to Jeremiah, giving him direction. How has the “word of the Lord” come to you or how has the Lord spoke to you? In the past? In the present? Share your experience.
Read John 10:3–4. Jesus is saying that we, his sheep, recognize His voice, that is the living God’s voice.
How do you recognize Jesus through the Holy Spirit speaking to you? Are there practices you use to increase your ability to recognize His voice and hear His “words?”
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born
I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Like Jeremiah, these words in verse 5 are words to you also. What is each of these phrases, these “words” from God saying? How do each of them make you feel? What do they say about how you are valued by our God?
- “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…”
- “Before you were born I consecrated you…”
- “I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
A “prophet” is a mouthpiece for God… a human through whom God speaks directly to others. The Lord is “calling” and “appointing” Jeremiah to be a prophet, to speak His Word to His people. The remainder of the book of Jeremiah in the holy Scriptures is the Lord speaking through Jeremiah to his people.
Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.”
Consider that Jeremiah was very young when he experienced this. What is Jeremiah’s response? How does Jeremiah feel insecure or inadequate for what the Lord is calling him to do?
How might you respond to God? How would you feel inadequate? Fill in the blanks.
- “I do not know how to _____________, for I am only _____________.”
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.
How does God respond to Jeremiah’s objection and feelings of inadequacy? How does God respond to your objections and inadequacies? Fill in the blank.
“Do not say, ‘I am only _________________.’”
“… for to all to whom I send you, you shall go …” The words, “mission” or “missionary” come from the Latin word, “missio,” meaning to “send.” With these words, Jeremiah is being “called” and “sent” by the Lord God.
“… and whatever I command you, you shall speak …” Who will give the words that Jeremiah will speak? Here the Lord God is assuring Jeremiah that He will provide what is needed for Jeremiah to fulfill his “calling” as a prophet (a mouthpiece for God).
Read 1 Corinthians 1:25-31. In this passage, the apostle Paul is addressing ALL of the ordinary everyday Christian people in Corinth. Paul’s words are also God’s words spoken to you. Paul is implying that all Christians, including you, are “called” by our living God. What is your reaction to these words?
Like Jeremiah, you are “called” by our living God. How does this make you feel? Is this a new thought?
A call is a beckoning, a divine nudge towards your unique multi-faceted part in the mission of our living God. It is compelling. What is our living God calling you to be and to do? What is your unique part or role in the mission of our God?
Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord.”
How does the Lord God’s word in verse 8 make you feel?
Often in the Scriptures when God “calls” someone for His mission and purposes, He tells them: “Do not be afraid…” Compare Luke 1:30-31 for another example.
“Do not be afraid…” is the most common phrase in the Holy Scriptures. Our Lord desires to take away our fears and inadequacies and use each of us in important ways for His mission and purposes.
The prophet Jeremiah was persecuted greatly for the words he spoke on behalf of God. How might these words of promise (found in verse 8) spoken by God to Jeremiah when God called him … later give him confidence and peace to face this persecution and to continue serving God as a prophet?
Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me, “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.”
How does God help and provide for Jeremiah so he can fulfill His call as a prophet, speaking on behalf of God?
“See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”
Here the Lord God gives Jeremiah authority (the right and power to accomplish) and a picture of his coming prophetic ministry. What will Jeremiah’s ministry as prophet accomplish?
Find a time and space to be quiet. Ask the Lord God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to speak to you, directing your thoughts and desires. Now read Jeremiah 1:4-10 again, slowly reflecting upon one word at a time before moving to the next. Pay attention to the thoughts, feelings, and desires that come to you. These may be our living God, Christ Jesus through the Holy Spirit whispering to you, calling you. Then:
Write a letter to God. Tell him your thoughts, feelings, and desires. Ask for His help with your fears and inadequacies. Offer your life to God as a living sacrifice, surrendering it to Him (Romans 12:1-2). Ask the Lord God to “call” you continually.
God’s call involves your entire life: work, family, church, and the whole world, local to global. How is the Lord God calling you?
Share your experience with a trusted Christian friend.
Try this “Reflection Exercise” over and over. It will help you to develop and fine tune your ability to recognize and to hear our living God speak to you, specifically and personally. This exercise combines two practices used by Christians throughout the centuries: “lectio divina” and spiritual journaling. These time-tested practices have been helpful to many.
Now listen to our living God speaking to you and all ordinary Christians through this encouraging exhortation:
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, am earnestly calling you to walk in conformity with the worth and weightiness of the calling to which you have been called”
– Ephesians 3:20-4:1