A young girl once told a friend of mine, “I want to be like Jeremiah the weeping prophet!”. Knowing what the girl was thinking my friend replied, “he was not weeping because he was soft hearted, he was weeping because everyone hated him.” With that the girl changed her mind and decided to quickly find a new inspiration.
Jeremiah had a hard calling. God put His own Words in Jeremiah’s mouth and sent him repeatedly to places he did not want to go, to speak Words he did not want to say, before people who did not want to hear them. This caused him much rejection, pain, persecution, and heartache. Though revered and respected now as a man of great integrity and unwavering faithfulness to God’s call, he was utterly hated in his day by nearly all. However, what most don’t realize about Jeremiah that makes his story all the more astonishing is that he was very young, considering himself to be a youth when God first began to give him Words and send him out.
“Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Then said I, Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord. Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.” – Jeremiah 1:4-10
Scripture says that “God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34), but what He is a respecter of, is obedience. Through scripture we see many examples of courageous God-fearing youths that stood for God in total obedience to His call and commands, walking in integrity and faith to the amazement, and oftentimes to the salvation of their elders.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were hebrew youths, estimated to be under 13 years of age. These youths, stood in defiance to Nebuchadnezzar’s (and archetype for the Antichrist) order to bow and worship the image he had erected. Understand that Daniel 3:7 tells us that “all peoples, nations, and languages” fell down and worshiped this image at the kings command. Thousands, maybe even millions, including Jews and believers, “All” bowed before the idol, all but these three kids. The story goes on to explain how they were thrown in the fiery furnace of trial and affliction but (just like His promise to Jeremiah) God was with them and delivered them. Because of the daring faithfulness of these three children, all where saved and turned their worship back toward God.
There are many such accounts through scripture of the most unlikely vessels being used for God’s glory. He loves to work in this manner because it shows that He is the one doing it and not the skills or qualifications of the person being used, but rather their obedience to be used by Him. It’s a tool for exalting the humble and humbling be exalted that God uses quite often (Matthew 23:12).
A few biblical great examples of this are as follows: Josiah, the 8 year old king that rid Israel of it’s idols, groves, and child sacrifices, restored the Word of God to the people and turned their hearts back to Their Heavenly Father. David, the 12 year old shepherd boy that stood up to a giant with a sling and a declaration from God, saving the nation and eventually becoming it’s greatest king. The little nameless Israelite girl in 2 Kings 5 that, though far from home, boldly spoke the word of The Lord to her master, a Great Syrian captain, causing Him to seek out Elisha, receive healing, and declare the Glory of The Lord before his people. Joseph, who declared his dream of God’s favor and was sold into slavery as a young boy (about 17). He then spend all of his youth in humble obedience and submission maintaining his faith, integrity, and call. Because of his faithfulness to God as a youth he came to save all from drought and famine.
Throughout scripture we see this recurring theme. Faithful and powerful matriarchs start out as obedient God fearing youths who, being more concerned about pleasing God then men, were willing to stand against the status quo in obedience to God no matter the backlash. No one simply wakes up one day and is an awesome man or woman of faith. It’s a life long journey that the devil would love to discourage you from starting, or at the very least delay it as long as he can. So if God has called you, placed gifts in you, or given you a mandate, submit in humility and act in obedience despite fear or resistance. Remember that the devil always resist God’s chosen and the level of resistance is always a direct measure of the potential trying to be stopped. If age, education, title, or lack of social clout is weighing against your faith and calling, I leave you with Paul’s words to Timothy, the youngest New Testament pastor, and one of my favorite biblical youths…
“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.” – 1 Timothy 4:12-14
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:” – Acts 2:17-18