March 1, 2015
Jeremiah 1:1-10, Mark 3:31-4:9
Sometimes when someone says something that we are about to say, we will exclaim, "You took the words right out of the my mouth." That's one of those funny expressions which if we tried to picture literally would look very odd. Imagine someone with their hand pulling the words "I'm shocked" out of another person's mouth.
The prophet Jeremiah describes just the opposite experience. "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."
Jeremiah is describing his call story. People in the bible, especially the prophets, experience God's speech, God's words in very concrete and detailed ways. The Book of Jeremiah begins by connecting Jeremiah's words to specific names, places, and important figures: Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. And it places God's words to Jeremiah alongside specific details: in the days of King Josiah son of Amon of Judah, in the days of King Jehoiakim son of Josiah of Judah, King Zedekiah son of Josiah of Judah, until the captivity of Jerusalem in the fifth month.
God's word(s) don't just float around in the air like wispy clouds. They are solid consequential communications that land with force and power. Thus they are often received with objection. Jeremiah says, the word of the Lord came to me saying, even before I put your cells together to make you, I appointed you to be a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah says, well that won't work. I don't know how to speak. I'm only a boy.
Then God responds to Jeremiah objection: My words are what matter. My words are what's important. You shall go to all whom I send you and you shall speak whatever I command you.
God's word will prevail. That's the assurance the prophet Jeremiah gets - even as God promises to be with him, God reaches out and puts his words in Jeremiah's mouth.
What word, what words, has God put in your heart, in your life? LIke a sower who plants seed.
Lord, you said let anyone with ears to hear listen. Why do we have such a hard time hearing your word? Help me to hear. Clear away all the thorns, and cares, and worries that keep your word from bearing fruit in my life. Let you word increase my love for you and others, one hundredfold. Amen.