I’ve often thought why am I writing a blog. I seem to put my thoughts down. I hope some of these writings will encourage or even help someone. The time is drawing near, the world is getting messier and messier these days. And we will be out from under the Almighty God’s cover of protection at some point. While people don’t seem to understand or even care. I’m sure that with time, they will.
You were made for such a time as this. But the fact is people need to stop making excuses and get to work for God, before it’s to late.
The following is written with the context of the book of Jeremiah in mind.
Make No Excuses
God may assign you a demanding task, but His call keeps us going when we don’t want to go and are ready to quit,
We are skillful at the art of making excuses, aren’t we? “I don’t know how.” “I didn’t understand.” “I couldn’t find the right tools.” “The voices told me to clean all the guns today.” “I threw out my back exercising today.” “I have a Doctors appointment.” “There’s been a death in the family.” Or maybe “When I got up this morning I accidentally took two Ex-lax in addition to my blood pressure pill. I can’t get off the john, but I feel good about it.
In the Christian world, we can find all sorts of excuses not to obey God’s voice. It’s the preacher’s job. “It’s not my gift.” I’ve already served, let someone else do it.” “I’m too busy or too tired or too old or too young.”
It’s been said. “Excuses are tools of the incompetent, and those who specialize in then seldom go far.” Ben Franklin wrote, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”
Jeremiah had every excuse ready when God called him to be a prophet. His excuses are often our excuses for not heeding God’s voice when He calls. Countering each excuse was a promise from God.
1. The excuse: The Task Is Demanding
Jeremiah was called to be “a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5), not a priest like his father and grandfather. A prophet was a chosen authorized spokesperson for God who deflated God’s word to the people. We often think of prophets as people who can tell the future. But a prophet speaks messages to the present that had future ramifications. They were forthtellers more than they were foretellers, exposing the people’s sins and calling them back to their covenant responsibilities before God.
Being a prophet was more demanding than serving as a priest. The priests duties were predictable. Everything was written down in the law. The prophet never knew from one day to the next what the Lord would call him to say or do. The priest worked primarily to preserve the past. The prophet labored to change the present so the nation would have a future. Priests dealt with external – rituals, sacrifices, offerings, services – whereas the prophet tried to reach and change hearts. Priests ministered primarily to individuals with various needs. Prophets on the other hand, addressed whole nations, and usually the people they addressed didn’t want to hear the message. Priests belonged to a special tribe and therefore had authority and respect, but a prophet could come from any tribe and had to prove his divine call. Priests were supported from the sacrifices and offerings of the people, but prophets had no guaranteed income.
Jesus, too, was called to be a prophet. He traveled from place to place challenging the people to change so that their future in heaven would be guaranteed. Jesus spoke to the hearts of people. Most did not accept his message of repentance, because they didn’t want to change.
God may assign you a demanding task, but his call keeps us going when we don’t want to go and are ready to quit. We have the promise of God’s purpose. “ I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born” (Jeremiah 1:5). The verb know has much more meaning than simply being aware of. It carries the idea of recognition of the worth and purpose of him who is known. God knew Jeremiah, chose Jeremiah, and appointed Jeremiah. He was known by name, hand-picked by God, and commissioned to serve. Those acts give one great sense of purpose. The promise of God’s purpose allows us to let go of our own plans and receive God’s plan without fear. Like Jeremiah and Jesus, we need to accept that our future is not our own. We are God’s. He has a distinct plan and purpose for our lives.
2.The Excuse: My Talent Is Inadequate
“But, I protested, Oh no, Lord, God! Look, I don’t know how to speak since I am only a youth” (Jeremiah 1:6). Jeremiah felt inadequate as a public speaker. By the way, this excuse was also shared by Moses (Exodus 4:10).
Yep first time my pastor asked me to speak in front of the church. I answered him with an abrupt No. I was terrified he even had asked me, he knew my life story, what I had endured in my childhood. I told God, “how could he ask such a thing? There was no way, I could even imagine doing such a thing, I barely spoke to the people who were in regular contects. How could I stand up in front that many people and talk? He had asked me on a Sunday after church, and 3 days later a phoned him and told him, I would. After I prayed for 3 days about it, I knew I needed to get out of the boat and walk on water you might say. It was time to take that step.
God has a way to overcome weaknesses and our inefficiencies. I have learned over the years, however, that the person most aware of their own inadequacy is usually the person most dependant on God’s all-sufficiency. My inadequacy has caused me to rely upon God. His strength is made perfect in my weakness. His glory is manifested through my flaws.
Our talent may seem inadequate, but God always equips those he calls. We have the promise of God’s provision. “Then the Lord reached out His hand, touched my mouth, and told me:: I have now filled your mouth with my words” (Jeremiah 1:9). The touch was not so much to purify as it was to inspire and empower. It was symbolic of the gift of prophecy bestowed on Jeremiah.”
Jesus experienced this touch in a visible, yet profound way. Following His baptism, immediately coming out of the water, the heavens opened and the Spirit of God descended on Him like a dove. And God spoke, “This is my beloved Son, I take delight in Him (Matthew 3:17).
God blesses not the silver-tongued orator, but the one whose tongue has been touched with coals from the alter. God uses not the most gifted and talented person, but the one touched by the hand of God. God uses the most unlikely persons to shake a church or a community or a nation. Never underestimate the power of the touch; especially when God does the touching.
3. The Excuse: The Times Not Right
Jeremiah said. God, “I am only a youth” (Jeremiah 1:6). The World youth – unfortunately, rendered child in some versions of the Bible – ordinarily denotes a young, unmarried man in his teens or early 20’s. His reply is not so much revealing his age as much as a deep sense of immaturity. He felt inferior, inexperienced, and intimidated by the size of the task to which God was summoning him.
God’s call may come at an inopportune time, but He never sends forth His servant alone. We have the promise of God’s presence, “Then the Lord said to me: Do not say. “I am only a youth, for you will go to everyone I send you to and speak whatever I tell you. Do not be afraid of anyone, for I will be with you to deliver you. This is the Lord’s declaration “ (Jeremiah 1:7-8).
Note the condition to this promise. Before Jeremiah could experience God’s presence he had to go where God sent him, speak what God told him, and reject fear. Someone once said that when God calls us to a task, he does not give us a road map to follow and then leaves us to our resources. God walks with us. His presence gives us the strength to stand in the face of every assault.
Jesus felt that same presence. He and the Father we’re one. He could go on because God walked with Him.
What a difference it makes knowing that when we are being sent, someone is going with us. We know we do not have to walk the lonesome road alone, that we always have a traveling companion.
4. The Excuse: The Teaching Is Dangerous
The Lord did not give Jeremiah a joyful message of deliverance to announce, but a tragic message of judgment. Consequently, Jeremiah would be misunderstood, persecuted, arrested, and imprisoned. More than once his life was threatened. The people did not wan to hear the truth. Jeremiah told them plainly they were disobeying the law and destined for judgment.
God used the image of a boiling pot to communicate His coming wrath. “Again the word of the Lord came to me inquiring, what do you see? And I replied, I see a boiling pot, it’s lip tilted from the north to the south (Jeremiah 1:13). Jewish homes would have a fairly large wide-mouthed washing or cooking pot. The unusual thing about the pot Jeremiah saw was that it was not level. It was tilted away from the north. This pot could at ant moment spew it’s boiling content towards the south, scalding the people of Judah. The pot represented the nation of Babylon that would invade and conquer Isreal. The reason for the judgment was Isreal’s Idolatry and rebellion against God’s righteous will.
Jesus’ teaching contained mercy and judgment, grace and punishment. Jesus’ teachings were dangerous, too. In fact, it was his teachings that cost Him His life.
What God says through us may be dangerous, but God gives us the strength to endure. We have the promise of God’s prevailing. “Today I am the One who had made you a fortified city an iron killer, and bronze walls against the whole land – against the kings of Judah , it’s officials, it’s priests, and the population. They will fight against you but never prevail over you, since I am with you to rescue you” (Jeremiah 1:18-19).
Notice the architectural terms: a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls. They are solid and unshakable like the God who conceived them, and the prophet whom they would come to characterize. God reassured Jeremiah: Attack you they will; overcome you they can’t.
The person who stands with God will prevail. Someone once said: “One with God is a majority.” Aline we are helpless. With God we prevail.
5. The Excuse: Do I Have To Go Now?
God was expecting immediate action from Jeremiah. God said, “Now. get ready. Stand up and tell them everything I con and you” (Jeremiah 1:17). In Jeremiah’s day the men had to tie their loose robes together with a belt in order to run or to work. Jeremiahwasin for a struggle. He had a fight on his hands. So the phrase “dress yourself for work” or “grid up your loins” was a metaphor that meant “Get ready for action!” Today we would say, “ Roll up your sleeves!”
God called Jeremiah to act. He was called to move out among people. He was called to deliver an offensive message. He would not be welcomed, nor would he be excepted. He would anger his hearers.
God expects obedience, immediately, if we don’t, we are in danger of God’s wrath. We have the promise of God’s power. “Do not be intimidated by them or I will call you you cower before them“ (Jeremiah 1:17). Immediate obedience is the only appropriate response when God calls.
Jesus obeyed. Whatever you think of Jesus remember this, His heart was a willing and obedient heart. He always did what His Father directed. There was no hesitation, no questioning, no circumventing. Only immediate action.
We have become so lax in obedience to God in our world day. It’s no wonder our world is in such shambles. We all need to ask God for forgiveness and start being who we are meant to be. Who God wants us to be.
Has God called you? Then He will fulfilled His purpose in you. He will equip you, He will enable you, He will protect you, He will accompany you. Are you obeying His commands? Then He is with you to protect you. Are you sharing the word? Then He will accomplish His purpose no matter how the people respond.
I urge to read or re-read The book of Jeremiah in the Bible.
God Bless You