Jeremiah 1:9-10 “Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “Now, I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”
Jeremiah didn’t want to be God’s prophet because he didn’t think he knew how to speak (1:6). He was afraid he would not know what to say. Christians who don’t want to talk about their faith with others are still using that excuse over 2500 years later.
God’s answer to Jeremiah, or to us, or to anyone else who claims that they don’t know what to say is to remind us whose words God wants us to say. He didn’t expect the prophet to invent a message all on his own. That’s the last thing God wants us to do. In some visible way, most likely in some kind of vision, the Lord touched Jeremiah’s mouth. God gave him the message. All Jeremiah had to do was deliver it. What could be more simple than that?
Isn’t it just so simple for us, too? We don’t receive the word of God by direct inspiration as the prophets did. But we still have the inspired word of God available to us. When we read it, hear it, learn it, and practice it, then God puts his word in our mouths, too. There is no good reason for us to say, “I don’t know what to say.” But if that is our excuse, here’s God’s answer: “Get to know my word. Put it in your heart and mind, and I will put it in your mouth as well.”
You see, God’s word goes through our ears into our hearts and minds. But if we are really listening, it doesn’t just sit there. It goes to work. As the Lord told Jeremiah, it uproots and tears down and destroys and overthrows. Do you get the picture? It uproots our sin and tears down our pride and destroys our selfishness and overthrows our rebellion.
Then it goes to work on the positive side. It builds our faith and plants our new life. With all that construction and growing going on inside, it’s not long before the word fills us up and comes spilling back out our mouths. As Jeremiah himself later complained, it will actually hurt to try to keep it in.
Why not get started today? The Lord takes away all our excuses. Sometimes it seems like we are always on the verge of sharing our faith. Someone has said that we are always getting ready to do mission work. Why not get started now?