15 O Lord, you know; remember me and visit me, and bring down retribution for me on my persecutors. In your forbearance do not take me away; know that on your account I suffer insult. 16 Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts. 17 I did not sit in the company of merrymakers, nor did I rejoice; under the weight of your hand I sat alone, for you had filled me with indignation. 18 Why is my pain unceasing, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? Truly, you are to me like a deceitful brook, like waters that fail. 19 Therefore thus says the Lord: If you turn back, I will take you back, and you shall stand before me. If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall serve as my mouth. It is they who will turn to you, not you who will turn to them. 20 And I will make you to this people a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail over you, for I am with you to save you and deliver you, says the Lord. 21 I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked, and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless. Jeremiah 15: 15-21
My silence for the past days has been self imposed. Pondering the events of our world, most pointedly Charlottesville and it’s aftermath, Las Rambles, a total eclipse, and Hurricane Harvey in the past few weeks, my heart and head have been struggling to keep up. But mostly, it’s my voice that has needed the boost.
Frankly, I’m feeling a little “Jeremiah-ish.” The Jeremiah who said in response to the Lord’s calling him to be the Lord’s mouthpiece, “Who me? But I’m just a small child.”
In time, Jeremiah caught on – stood strong in the face of a wayward people – and proclaimed the word of the Lord. The thing is, it wasn’t always a Word of peaches and cream. Jere was known to deliver the tough stuff and then face the consequences. Often abandoned and persecuted, he also felt abandoned from the presence of God, as noted above, naming God as a “deceitful brook, like waters that fail.”
In the climate of our world today where we face destruction, brokenness, loss, evil and hate, it is with great conviction that I hear God’s call to proclaim a prophetic Word that challenges all of us to speak and act out the Gospel in the face of what God calls “wickedness.” And I, like Jere, simply want to crawl up in a ball sometimes and respond, “Who me? For I am but a child.”
Yet God has been faithful, and has given me the Words “to eat” as Jeremiah says, and I have shared them – with boldness and humbleness, fear and confidence – because in my heart and in my head, I believe that these are the Words of the Lord. Not mine, for I am humbly called to be a mouthpiece of the Lord.
How about you? Are you able to step out of the boat like Peter, or speak up and speak out for the marginalized, as the Canaanite woman did? How will you answer Jesus’ question to the disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” in the midst of our world today?
Only with God’s help, can any of us follow the footsteps of Jeremiah. For remember the Lord’s promise in response to the small child Jeremiah: “Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.” Jeremiah 1:8