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Daily Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, January 28, 2022  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Jeremiah 1:4–10

Now the word of the Lord came to me saying,

“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.”

Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.” But the Lord said to me,

“Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’;
for you shall go to all to whom I send you,
and you shall speak whatever I command you.
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
says the Lord.”

Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the Lord said to me,

“Now I have put my words in your mouth.
See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms,
to pluck up and to pull down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant.” (NRSV)

One of the fascinating and underappreciated aspects of the biblical text is how often those whom God calls into ministry end up expressing hesitation or a sense that they are unworthy of such a great calling. Moses lays out a case to God that he is not the right person to lead Israel (Exodus 4:10–13). Paul describes himself as “the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle” (1 Corinthians 15:9). The prophet Jonah doesn’t even say anything at first—he just gets up and runs away (Jonah 1:3)!

In these verses today, we see Jeremiah express a similar hesitation at God’s calling: “Who am I,” Jeremiah wonders, “to give a message to those with more experience and wisdom?” Yet in these verses we see God make Jeremiah a similar promise to the one that was once made to Moses: God will be with him and will give him the words to speak. Jeremiah’s youth and inexperience do not matter, just as they did not matter when David was chosen as Israel’s next king (1 Samuel 16). What matters is our willingness to listen to God’s call in our lives.

I’m guessing we all have times when we resist listening to God’s call in our lives—rationalizing away our resistance by telling ourselves we don’t have the right experience or skills or convincing ourselves we’re not the right person for the role. But perhaps we are being asked to listen for God once more. Perhaps, like Jeremiah, we are being asked to take a leap of faith, trusting that God’s presence will be with us every step of the way.

Almighty God, we are grateful for your constant presence in our lives—as well as for your persistent call to live a life that proclaims your message of hope and love. Amen.

Written by Matt Helms, Associate Pastor for Children and Family Ministry

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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