March 4 I Saturday
“Then the LORD reached out His hand and touched my mouth and said to me, ‘I have put My words in your mouth.’” —Jeremiah 1:9
What is our response when we receive a task from the Lord? Do we readily embrace it? Or do we ask the Lord to send someone else? After the Lord told Jeremiah his task, Jeremiah responded, “Alas, Sovereign LORD...I do not know how to speak; I am too young” (Jeremiah 1:6).
It is quite possible that Jeremiah was a literal child when the Lord spoke to him. Or maybe Jeremiah is saying it as a metaphor for a sense of weakness: “God, I am only a child. I can’t do this.” Whether Jeremiah is referring to himself as an actual child or to his weakness, it is most definitely not a cry of unwillingness but of weakness. In other words, Jeremiah is telling the Lord, “I do not know how to speak,” and not, “I do not want to speak” or “I will not speak.”
Jeremiah’s encounter with God is similar to God’s call of Moses at the burning bush. Like Jeremiah, Moses responded, “Pardon Your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent…I am slow of speech and tongue” (Exodus 4:10). But God retorted, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the LORD?” (Exodus 4:11). It sounds almost like God’s conversation with Jeremiah except for one big difference: Moses told the Lord, “Pardon Your servant, Lord. Please send someone else” (Exodus 4:13). Moses’s cry was not of weakness but of unwillingness. As a result, God became angry with Moses. But Jeremiah was not unwilling, just simply weak.
Weakness and unwillingness are two very different things. To acknowledge weakness in itself is a strength and a virtue. When we recognize our weakness, we come in humility realizing we need somebody other than us, bigger than us and more efficient than us.
God delights in acknowledged weakness. He tells Paul in the New Testament, “My power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). When we try to patch up our weakness, we eliminate God’s power to work in us. This is not to say that we do not have natural abilities, gifts and strengths. But when these are exercised in dependence upon the Holy Spirit, they become spiritual gifts. There are other gifts that are outside of that, but the fundamental gifts by which we operate, when they are exercised in dependence upon God, become spiritual gifts that are life-empowering and life-enabling. When we respond to God’s task for our life, may we be willing and trusting that God’s power is able to work through our weakness.
Prayer: Lord God, my heart may be willing to respond but I am weak. Nonetheless, You are my strength that will help me faithfully complete Your entrusted task. Thank You, Lord.
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