"Don't Give Me That!"
Excuses are a dime a dozen. Maybe a nickel a dozen! We’ve all had them handed to us by our children, spouse, friends, boss, co-worker, etc. “I forgot.” “You didn’t say not to.” “I was tired.” “When did you say that?” “Something came up.” “I didn’t mean that.” “What else was I supposed to do?”
If you’ve received such excuses, you have probably countered with the “Don’t give me that!” response. If not verbally, you thought it. And, of course, you’ve never given any such smooth sounding side steps to anyone yourself - have you? Why, certainly not.
In our text, I’m not sure if Jeremiah’s response to God is an excuse or not, but it could be. The Lord has formed him in the womb and called him to be His prophet to the nations. The soon-to-be prophet counters with, “I do not know how to speak, because I am a youth.” (When we look at verse 8, it appears that Jeremiah is also concerned for his life.) But the never-to-be-deterred Almighty responds to Jeremiah with “Do not say, ‘I am a youth.’” In other words, “Don’t give Me that!” The Lord says that Jeremiah will go where he is sent and speak what he is commanded, and He gives him reassurance that He will be with him in this work and deliver him from those who would seek to harm him.
From time to time we all stand in Jeremiah’s sandals. We have a very clear call from God to do something in His kingdom, but we hesitate and roll out our excuses. “I’ve never done that before.” “I don’t care for that kind of work.” “I’m too busy.” “I have kids.” “I don’t have kids.” “I’m already involved in...” “I’m too old.” “I’m too inexperienced.” “I just don’t have time.” “I just don’t want to get tied down..” “Someone else could do that better than I.” “I’d probably just mess it up.” And on and on and on...
When you use any one of these or some other of your own, be sure and listen for God’s: “Don’t give Me that!” But also be sure and listen for His, “Do not fear. I will be with you.”