“Ah, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “Now, I have put my words in your mouth.” –Jeremiah 1:6-9 (NIV)
Saying and doing the right thing is often hard for us as humans. Even when we want to comfort with our actions or our words, in hopes that it would help the other person, it sometimes manifests itself in the wrong way and the intended recipient of our sentiments leaves more wounded than uplifted. At other times, when we really need to stand up and speak what is true and right, we become tongue-tied and intimidated by people who seem to be more powerful than us and could easily dismiss anything of the truth. It would seem that if we aren’t saying negative things, however well-intentioned, we aren’t saying anything at all when it really counts!
The prophet Jeremiah, like Moses centuries before him, also had speech troubles. It is interesting that Jeremiah refers to himself as a child when it comes to this area. If anyone has been around children, they would know that a child often says nonsensical things when expressing himself. This is why children have to be taught by their parents and teachers to speak well and eloquently. Likewise, as His children, God instructs us on how to use our tongues. Moses and Jeremiah never spoke the way they did because of their own abilities. It is clear that they had no ability to do so. But because they walked closely with God and wanted to be taught by Him, God took control of their tongues and enabled them to speak boldly before kings and accomplish great things for His glory. When we feel that our words will be inadequate or feel too intimidated by those around us to speak up, we should ask God for the wisdom and strength to say what is right and He will guide our words in such a way as to fulfill His pure, just, and perfect will. Like children who try to imitate the speech of their parents, our goal is to speak like our heavenly Father. In our own limited capacity we cannot do it. But with Christ’s enabling and His constant refining as a result of His redemptive work in our lives, we can speak with boldness and discernment in any situation. At times, the words which Christ speaks through us may not necessarily be popular with the crowd. But Christ can only speak for justice, truth, and redemption in a fallen world, and because He is the preserver and protector of all these things, He will safeguard the speaker of these things as well.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.