“Do not say, ‘I am only a youth'; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go,
and whatever I command you, you shall speak.”
In the spirit of yesterday’s text, today’s morsel reveals another common mystery in the path of God’s Redemption Plan.
It is not unusual for the Lord to use those we would least expect to advance His plan. In this case, He calls a young Jeremiah* to confront the sins of His people, many of whom were his grandparents’ peers.
*“youth” suggests late teens or early 20’s
In verse 6, Jeremiah humbly argues, “I don’t know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” The intimidation he may have felt is understandable, especially as we later read how he was treated.
This hits close to home with me. I began pastoring a church at 33, and I look younger than I am. When people first discovered that I was a pastor, it was not uncommon for them to say, “Aren’t you a little young to be a pastor?”.
I would always chafe at such words, not just because discrimination stings, but because such comments revealed an ignorance of God’s ways, namely that He oft looks to “lesser” people in the advancement of His plan.
- Why did He sometimes pass over a firstborn child to continue the Redemption story?
- Why did he choose a reluctant and tongue-tied Moses to break Pharoah’s grip on Israel?
- Why did He appoint the runt of Jesse’s litter to kill a giant and to become Israel’s premier king, rather than entrust the task to Saul, whose stature better fit the part?
- Why did He elect a 26 year-old (Josiah)* to call Judah back to the Law?
- Why did He call a young pastor, Timothy, to take the baton from Paul in the crucial years of the Church’s infancy?
- Why did He determine that Jesus’ ministry would occur in his mid-30’s (humanly speaking, of course)? Why not later, when He would have had more “credibility” among the people (see John 8:56-58)?
- And why Nazareth as the Savior’s hometown? Could anything good come from such a place?
- And why a birthplace among livestock, and a death in the company of criminals?
We should know why——because our Glorious Creator refuses to be hindered by humanistic barriers. He often prefers little people to big shots, for He will not share His glory with another.
*Josiah’s reign actually began at age 8, but his Law reforms hit full swing at 26.