“Then I said, ‘Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.’ But the Lord said to me, ‘Do not say, “I am only a youth”; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord.’ Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me, ‘Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.'” (Jeremiah 1:6-9)
Jeremiah was called at the start of good King Josiah’s religious reformation. His call was to proclaim God’s judgment which would come without fail even though the reforms would delay it. The 2 visions detailed in the ensuing verses confirm this. The almond tree is a harbinger of spring so it is a sign that God is working and in control. His judgment is just beginning to dawn. The boiling cauldron is a sign of that judgment which will sweep Judah away. Jeremiah was going to be subject to abuse and mockery from the people of Judah for he would preach this message for 20 years before the judgment would come.
Jeremiah hesitated to take up the call but not because he knew this. He did not. He was not afraid of the people or how they would accept such a severe message. The problem was that he knew his own temperament, that he was not wise, strong or gifted enough to deliver it, to be a prophet. He knew that he could not do what the Lord asked of him. Yet the Lord promised to give him all the resources and strength to carry out the call. In fact, whenever God calls one of us to do His work in any way, He always supplies us with the power, authority, words and wisdom we need so that weakness and lack of ability is never an excuse: it is what qualifies us.