Summary: The divine call never comes out of recognition of a special talent or particular piety or readiness to serve. It comes because God has decided you’re it!
That’s No Excuse – Jeremiah 1: 4 - 10
Intro: As a high school teacher I think you hear every excuse that was ever given. Things like: “My little brother tore up my homework.” “I had to work late and didn’t get to it.” “I didn’t understand it.” --- And when we leave school we do not leave behind our excuse giving. To a boss, “I was just a few minutes late.” “My alarm clock didn’t go off.” “I thought you wanted that report next week.” --- Excuses. We all have them and use them. So what’s your excuse?
I. The first three verses tell us the “who, where and when” that we know about the prophet Jeremiah. Three ideas expressed in Verse 5 reveal for us not only Jeremiah’s relationship to God; but also ours.
A. Before I formed you in the womb I KNEW you. 2 things are implied: knowing in the sense of choosing and knowing in the sense of watching over and caring for. Even before he was born, God was watching over and protecting Jeremiah.
B. before you were born I SET YOU APART. Consecrated or separated for a holy use. He was created for a specific reason, to be a prophet. We are also created on purpose for a purpose.
C. I APPOINTED you a prophet to the nations. The word appointed means “gave.” Jeremiah could have thought, “wait a minute. Don’t be so quick to give me away. I’ve got rights! You can’t just give me away. I can decide for myself what I want my life to be.”
II. I remember when I was in school and sides were being chosen. I always seemed to be among the last ones chosen, often standing in the middle of two teams realizing that having me on the team was a liability.
A. Verse 6, “Ah, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.” I’m not good enough or smart enough to be on your team.
B. Ah, Sovereign Lord – language that customarily belongs to prayer and complaint to God. Jeremiah’s response has a tone of lament and complaint to God.
C. Jeremiah is afraid of the task to which he is being called and of what may happen to him. - When I first sensed a call into the ministry my initial thought was, “but, I can’t leave here. I’m not good enough and I don’t know enough. What will become of me?”
III. Verses 7 and 8 are God’s answer to Jeremiah’s objection and our reluctance.
A. The Lord flatly refuses to accept the appeal to inexperience and youthfulness. Do not say, “I am only a child.” That’s no excuse!
B. Young or old, learned or uninformed, handsome or crippled, none of this matters. The issue isn’t what Jeremiah can or cannot do; but that his activity is totally under the initiative of God.
C. The divine call never comes out of recognition of a special talent or particular piety or readiness to serve. It comes because God has decided you’re it!
Conclu: God does not promise unmitigated and undeniable success. What he promised Jeremiah and us is ACCESS. Access to Him. God calls each and every one of us asking only that we be accessible which means being available to one who is equally available to us. Our circumstances have little or nothing to do with it. It is all a matter of attitude. There’s no excuse for you or me; only a job to do.