“Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord – Jeremiah 1:8
Do not be afraid of them … There is always a “them” or an “it”. What are you afraid of? Hear the words of the Lord, “do not BE afraid“. The good news is that it doesn’t say “do not fear.” Things will make us feel fear. Fright happens. Something or someone jumps out at us and we feel fear. A circumstance arises and we feel fear. But the encouragement is “do not BE Afraid.” There is a difference between a feeling of fear, and a state of being that is afraid. Fear that is a fleeting is natural. Fear that stays is a controlling force that will shape us, hold us back, and transform us into people who are only a shadow of what we are or can be.
The instruction, admonition, to Jeremiah comes in the midst of an argument between God and the soon to be prophet.
The First Word of the Lord – v5 “I appointed you as a prophet before you were born”
The First Word of Jeremiah – v6 “I do not know how to speak”
The Second Word of Jeremiah – “I am only a child”
So, God has a revelation and an invitation and Jeremiah’s response is “yeah, no. My age and my education are lacking.”
Then comes the …
Second Word of the Lord. “I didn’t ask you that”. v7 – “Do Not Say, ‘I am only a child’, you must GO … I Send … Say whatever I command.” God is saying, “I hear your arguments and you are right, you ARE young (inexperienced), and do NOT know what to say (uneducated), but I just said “Go, no experience necessary, and say, tell them whatever I tell you to say.” Jeremiah didn’t need to know anything, he just needed to repeat what God said, where God said “go”.
What is the instruction? “Go and Say.” And there lies the FEAR POINT … Go …
God was sending. That means leaving where I am and go. That means taking God’s word, in this case, to people that do not want to hear it, and so the unspoken word of Jeremiah is …
“I Am Afraid.”
I believe fear, in most forms, is based on one or a combination of lies we believe, “I can’t”, “I don’t know how”, “No one cares”, “no one knows.” Or “I am unable”, “I am uninformed”, “I am unloved”, or “I am alone.” Those are the lies that make us afraid. So it is with Jeremiah, “I am too young, I don’t know how,” Jeremiah is afraid and so comes the …
Third Word of the Lord – v8 “Do not be afraid of them”
This is no basis for fear. The way we counter the lies that breed fear is countering with truth. Scared of the dark? Turn on the light. Afraid of being alone? Find out who is with you. Do not be afraid, because …
“I” – Who is speaking? God Almighty. “I am with you. You are not alone. Speak what I say. You will know. I will rescue. I am Able.”
Do not be afraid of them, do not focus on them.
I am … well … “I Am”
- the Creator
- the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob
- the God of Moses and the Children of Israel
- the God of Joshua and the Promised Land
- the God of David, not Goliath
- I Am with you, instructing, sending, rescuing
I am Declaring this, not suggesting this. I, the Lord of Heaven and Earth, am Declaring. This is the word neum – a decision, a marker of authority. I, the Lord, have put a line in the sand, this is MY Declaration … and so comes
The Fourth Word of the Lord – v9 “Now”
“Since we have settled your weak concerns, your obvious unfounded fear, now …” “I am taking your words out of your mouth”. Fear, “I can’t”, “I am too young”, “I want to go”, all those words have to go … “Now, I have put MY words in your mouth.” So, God’s words, “go on mission, saying what i say”, fear replaced with confidence, lies exchanged for truth.
“I Appoint”. The same God who lays a marker says, “I have inventoried my army, and you are in my number. I have determined that you are mine and you have a value, purpose, and this is it.”
“I appoint you … for my ends.”
So the Lord asks, v11 – “What do you see?”
The first time God spoke all Jeremiah sees is himself in the mirror of his understanding. Now Jeremiah can look out … “I see the branch of an almond tree.”
And the Lord says “you have seen correctly”
Only when we banish fear and embrace the Word of the Lord can we see what he sees and say what he says.
And then it is as if we can hear the Lord saying, “Alright, now we can go somewhere … and v13 says, “The word of the Lord came … again.”