Summary: An exhortation to win souls.
Be Not Afraid of Their Faces: For I Am With Thee…
Since we are about to start Continuing Witness Training, I thought it would be good to discuss the call of Jeremiah. Many people do not witness because they do not feel called. Many have fear of rejection or physical harm. Many feel religion is a personal thing and ought not to be discussed like politics. Many feel they are not articulate enough or do not know enough theology to speak for God or about Him.
Those who have participated in the S.A.F.E program with me see the common flaw in the above arguments. That flaw is feeling. They have made presuppositions about witnessing based on their emotions or wrong information given to them.
Ps 107:2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy; (KJV)
1 Pet 3:15-16
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. (KJV)
Who says that you are not called? Somewhere along the line, the concept has been developed that the work of the ministry belongs only to a paid or volunteer clergy. Ephesians 4:11-17 clearly states that those who have been given the gifts listed in verse eleven are given them to train or equip the rest of the believers/redeemed to do the work of the ministry. The "clergy" are meant to be trainers not employees of the church. The Church is meant to be the ministers of the Gospel and that is why we teach at our church that every member is a minister. Therefore, every saint of God is ordained to perform ministry within the scope of his or her role and gifts. Every saint is called and thus dies that excuse. If you are redeemed and have a hope lying within you, you have met the criteria for being His witness. One day, we will disgust, I mean discuss that clergy nonsense.
Let us look at how Jeremiah reacted to his call. Jeremiah was born into the household of a priest and understood what that meant. He was most likely content with what he considered his lot in life and had plans related to his perception. Hmm, sound familiar? He was not much different than us.
Then God knocks on His door and makes some astounding remarks. Jeremiah would not have had much of a problem with the foreknowledge of God. He would have believed that God knew Him before conception. Time is a thing for man. God is the beginning and the end. He knew whatever day it was that Jeremiah was conceived from the foundations of creation just as He knew that I would be conceived in 1951 and delivered in 1952.
Having God know him was not the problem that Jeremiah had. His problem was what God was saying He had planned for him all this time. He was born in the house of a priest and thus sanctification was not an issue. Jeremiah understood it well. Being a prophet was another thing!
Not all priests had a vocal or a public ministry. Some maintained the building, the storehouse, the clothing, and other accouterments. Some may never even have had a need to leave the temple and if they did, they may not have spoken to anyone in a priestly sort of way. Only their clothing would give away their identity. A shy guy in the right priestly job would have no tension.
Jeremiah may have been such a guy. He told God that he could not speak. I am just a child (Jer 1:6). He may have been still an adolescent. He may have been 20 or younger. In the Old Testament, a man could not be called to serve as a soldier until he was twenty which is most likely where we got our original standard for a person not being an adult until they were 21 (Numbers 1:3).
The word babe can also mean a servant and he may have been referring to his own position in the priesthood as not being a leadership but a servant role. The word speak can also carry a connotation of subduing or convincing. Who am I? I have no position or age. Who in the world would listen to me? How many times have I heard that from children of God?
Yet God said, "Say not I am a child." Man, does not that just drive you nuts? I mean you have all these great, logical arguments and God says forget them. Does He not hear well or what? Can he not see? I am a child. I cannot speak. I have no position. I have no education. I am not a THD, for crying out loud! I get nervous talking to a waitress! Kids mock me! I am not prophet (or whatever else) material. There are a few hundred things I am willing and able to do for you, but I cannot do this.