"Do not be afraid of them, For I am with you to deliver you," declares the LORD.Jeremiah 1:8(NASB)
Jeremiah lived in the midst of a world at war. The northern kingdom had been enslaved by Assyria, and the kingdom of Judah had fallen into gross apostasy, which would shortly result in divine punishment - the Babylonian exile. The Times of the Gentiles began with this invasion into the beautiful Land, by Nebuchadnezzar. His invasion also was the starting point of Israel's prolonged, worldwide dispersion, which continues to this day.
It was during this dark period of Israel's history, that the Lord called and commissioned this young man as a prophet to His erring people. He was of the priestly line of Anathoth of the tribe of Benjamin, and God 'knew' Jeremiah. God had chosen and consecrated this man into lifelong service, before he was even formed in his mother's womb.
It was in the thirteenth year of Josiah, king of Judah, that Jeremiah received his 'call'. He was to act as 'conscience' to God's rebellious people and deliver warnings to the Gentile nations. It was a daunting task that Jeremiah faced, and he became very fearful as he considered the tremendous responsibility. The young man pleaded with the Lord to release him from such a difficult duty.
Jeremiah was fully aware of his shortcomings, inabilities, and inexperience. He knew that he was neither a fine orator nor a seasoned elder, and pleaded with the Lord, "Alas, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, because I am but a youth!"
Jeremiah acknowledged his many limitations and used a possible speech impediment, a lack of learning, and his tender age as legitimate excuses to be released from God's demanding and overwhelming assignment on his life.
But when God has a call on the life of a man or woman, He equips that servant with supernatural strength and the sufficient grace to carry out the assignment and complete the task God has prepared for them to do. And so the Lord reassured His trembling servant, by declaring to Jeremiah, "Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you."
The same supernatural strength and sufficient grace that God bestowed on Jeremiah and other holy men in His service, is equally available to all that are called and chosen today. Like Jeremiah, we do not have to be fearful of the circumstances we face, or the people with whom we have to deal. He is with us moment by moment, to lead and guide, to instruct and warn, to help and comfort, and to deliver us from those that despise us or would do us harm.
As with Jeremiah, the Lord knew us before we were conceived. He knitted us together in our mother's womb, and scheduled every day of our lives. We do not need to fear what man can do to us, nor become unnerved by Satan's wiles. We have an anchor for our soul and a strong tower in which to hide. God promised to rescue Jeremiah from every danger and distress, and that same promise of protection is our inheritance too, "for greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world."
God has prepared a good work - a unique work, for each of His people to carry out, to contribute towards His greater purpose. Every member of the Body of Christ has a part to play in God's progressive plan of redemption, and He Who started the good work in our lives at salvation is faithful to complete it, until the day of Christ Jesus.
Just like Jeremiah, the enormity of the task that God places before us may prove to be intimidating and cause us to shrink back into the shadow, hoping that someone else will pick up the baton God has given us. BUT we must never lose heart at the enormity of the problems we face, for His grace is sufficient and HE will work the works of God in our lives, for our eternal benefit, and for His greater glory.
May we never forget that the work God gives us to do is not dependent on our abilities, expertise, education, or personality, although He may choose to use them. We are not required to equip ourselves for the task ahead. The Lord God has promised to equip each of us for the duties to which we have all been called - both individually and collectively. "Do not be afraid of them," is God's instruction to all of us today and throughout the rest of our sojourn on earth, " Fear not, for I am with you to deliver you," declares the LORD.
Jeremiah lived in the midst of a world at war and we too, live in a world that is equally dysfunctional, angry, and evil, but may we never forget that we have the eternal promise of our God and Saviour to deliver us. May we never be afraid of those who come against us, for Christ's sake. There is nothing that man can do to us that can remove us from His protective love and care. He has promised to deliver us from the snare of the fowler, the noisome pestilence, the terror of night.. and the arrow that fly by day. "Do not be afraid of them", is God's promise to each one of us, "For I am with you to deliver you," declares the LORD.
Heavenly Father, thank You that there is nothing in heaven or earth, of which to be afraid. Thank You that You are with me and have promised to deliver me from all forms of evil and to protect me, and those I love, from all that would do me harm, just as You did with Jeremiah, and other men of God, who trusted Your name. Thank You for the witness of people like Jeremiah, whom You equipped as a mighty man of God, yet was attacked on all sides. Thank You that Your promises to him stood fast throughout his lifetime, just as they do for your people today. Thank You that You are my Defence and my Deliver, through time and into eternity. This I pray in Jesus' name, AMEN.