READING: Jeremiah 1-2, 1 Timothy 3
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.”
I was thirteen years old when I sensed God’s call to preach His Word. I had just turned to Christ in belief and repentance, and He both saved me and called me to preach on that same day in 1974. It really was a powerful, miraculous, exciting, life-changing day for me.
Every time I read the book of Jeremiah, though, I’m reminded that God’s plan for me didn’t start in 1974. God’s word to Jeremiah at the time of his calling revealed the sovereign nature of God’s call: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations” (Jer. 1:5). God had already determined His plan for Jeremiah prior to his birth; in fact, the recurrent usage of “I” in this text reminds us over and over again that God did all of this—not Jeremiah. God in His divine foreknowledge knew Jeremiah before he was ever conceived. He knew what his strengths, weaknesses, struggles, and victories would be. Knowing all about Jeremiah’s weakness and sin, though, did not cause God not to call him. Rather, God set him apart and made him holy as He also appointed him to be a prophet to the nations.
As one called of God to serve Him, I find much comfort in Jeremiah’s calling. The prophet’s calling is surely unique, yet the illustration of his call speaks clearly to we who are called. It’s amazing to me, for example, that God knew all about me when He set me apart before my birth; that is, it’s hard to believe that God knew all the sin that I would commit and still He called me to His service. I suspect that I would not have been as gracious toward myself. Nevertheless, God also knew that He would work through His Spirit to convict me of sin and call me to daily righteousness. He knew that using sinful people like me would glorify Himself rather than His called servants.
Many have been the times I’ve returned to the clarity of my call when I’ve struggled pressing forward in ministry. I’m reminded then that God not only knew me before I was born, but He also knew everything I would face in ministry. Nothing has caught Him by surprise. Nothing I face overwhelms the One who called me before He made me—so it shouldn’t overwhelm me, either.
- Be amazed that God knew you before He made you.
- Regardless of what you face today, trust God. He is not surprised.
PRAYER: “Father, You are God. I praise You for knowing all things—including me before You made me.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Jeremiah 3-5, 1 Timothy 4