“Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:4-5
I feel a special kinship with prophets in the Bible. It started soon after leaving atheism for theism and Christianity. Each of the prophets was a unique individual, but they all had something marvelous in common: God spoke to them about fulfilling His special purpose for their lives and expected them to do it.
Jeremiah was the son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin. Jeremiah was a boy when God said these words to him: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
Here’s how Jeremiah responded to God:
“Then said I: ‘Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.’ But the Lord said to me: ‘Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ For you shall go to all to whom I send you, And whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of their faces, For I am with you to deliver you,’ says the Lord. Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me: ‘Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, To root out and to pull down, To destroy and to throw down, To build and to plant.” Jeremiah 1:6-10
God revealed four important things to Jeremiah in this one sentence that are also true for those whom God calls today:
Personality – God knows us
Purpose – God has purpose for us
Protect – God will protect us
Provide – God will provide for us
God did not tell Jeremiah every specific detail about what he would face as a prophet, but Jeremiah knew how he would serve God:
- Jeremiah would be a prophet to the nations
- Jeremiah would go to all to whom God would send him
- Jeremiah would have God’s words in his mouth
- Jeremiah would speak with authority to nations and kingdoms
- Jeremiah would use that authority to root out and pull down, to destroy and throw down, to build and to plant
Imagine being a child and hearing God say that is His purpose for your life. What would you say? What would you do? Would you say yes? Would you go?
God laid out His plan for Judah and the nations that would come against it in more detail so Jeremiah would understand what his part would be in God’s plan.
“Out of the north calamity shall break forth On all the inhabitants of the land. For behold, I am calling All the families of the kingdoms of the north,’ says the Lord; ‘They shall come and each one set his throne At the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, Against all its walls all around, And against all the cities of Judah. I will utter My judgments Against them concerning all their wickedness, Because they have forsaken Me, Burned incense to other gods, And worshiped the works of their own hands. ‘Therefore prepare yourself and arise, And speak to them all that I command you. Do not be dismayed before their faces, Lest I dismay you before them. For behold, I have made you this day A fortified city and an iron pillar, And bronze walls against the whole land— Against the kings of Judah, Against its princes, Against its priests, And against the people of the land. They will fight against you, But they shall not prevail against you. For I am with you,’ says the Lord, ‘to deliver you.” Jeremiah 1:15-19
Still interested in knowing God’s purpose for your life? I hope so because we need more young people willing to speak the words of God to the nations. If God’s call is on your life, know that He knew you before you were born, He has a special purpose for your life, and will protect you and provide your needs.
Though God spoke these words to Jeremiah more than 2,600 years ago, the call to serve Him is as current as this moment. The need is great; the provision greater.
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”