Friday, November 19, 2010

Formed, Known, Sanctified, and Ordained!


Jeremiah 1:4-7 (MSG) This is what GOD said: (5) "Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you: A prophet to the nations-- that's what I had in mind for you." (6) But I said, "Hold it, Master GOD! Look at me. I don't know anything. I'm only a boy!" (7) GOD told me, "Don't say, 'I'm only a boy.' I'll tell you where to go and you'll go there. I'll tell you what to say and you'll say it.

Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV) "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."


1. "I formed you" (Jer 1:5). Our earthbound little minds imagine conception as only a biological event. Yet here we are forced to think again concerning the origins of human life. The psalmist cries out, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth" (Psa 139:14, Psa 139:15).

This ought to shock today's culture whose abortion clinics have taken the lives of millions of unborn children since the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. If God is present in the process of conception, then the value of human life takes on the implications of eternity. The weight of our glory as humans comes through these words to Jeremiah. Just as they must have shocked him, so must they shock us. We are infinitely more than children of humankind. Our birth is not our real beginning nor will our death be the end. Yet how we live the span between the two will count forever.

2. "I knew you" (Jer 1:5). This second mind-boggling claim stretches the prophet's origins beyond the walls of Anathoth, beyond the day of his birth, even beyond the day of his conception. In all of those "beyonds" God had a plan for his life. His mother first cradled him proudly, innocently in her arms, never knowing that larger arms than hers were wrapped around her child and holding him fast in a relentless purpose that was destined to touch all the power structures of the world. God had a plan for his life.

3. "I sanctified you" (Jer 1:5). Because Jeremiah was first known and then, at a point in time, formed in his mother's womb, this third condition becomes possible. He was then set apart for something sacred. When we argue against the sanctity of human life we must come up against this passage. Jeremiah was about to be sent headlong into a culture that had lost all reverence for human life. They were debauching themselves in the most flagrant disregard for the dignity to which they had been called as the people of God. They had lost every trace of their ordination. Are we not a society very much like that one? All manner of obscenities have penetrated our culture-our airwaves, our telephones, our music, even our communities and families. The four realities of humanity as God sees it and as He uttered to the prophet should arouse us to action. It has been said that "all that is required for the triumph of evil is that good men and women do nothing."

4. "I ordained you a prophet to the nations" (Jer 1:5). The particular form our life is to take on earth is wrapped up in the purposes and foreknowledge of God. We cannot "find" ourselves until we first find Him. I cannot ultimately know who I am until I know whose I am.


God knew you, as he knew Jeremiah, long before you were born or even conceived. He thought about you and planned for you. When you feel discouraged or inadequate, remember that God has always thought of you as valuable and that he has a purpose in mind for you. Jeremiah was "appointed" by God as his "prophet to the nations." God has a purpose for each Christian, but some people are appointed by God for specific kinds of work. Samson (Jdg 13:3-5), David (1Sa 16:12-13) John the Baptist (Luk 1:13-17), and Paul (Gal 1:15-16) were also called to do particular jobs for God. Whatever work you do should be done for the glory of God (Php 1:11). If God gives you a specific task, accept it cheerfully and do it with diligence. If God has not given you a specific call or assignment, then seek to fulfill the mission common to all believers-to love, obey, and serve God-until his guidance becomes more clear.

Often people struggle with new challenges because they lack self-confidence, feeling that they have inadequate ability, training, or experience. Jeremiah thought he was "too young" and inexperienced to be God's prophet to the nations. But God promised to be with him. We should not allow feelings of inadequacy to keep us from obeying God. He will always be with us. If God gives you a job to do, he will provide all you need to do it.

God promised to be with Jeremiah and take care of him, but not to keep trouble from coming. God did not insulate him from imprisonment, deportation, or insults. God does not keep us from encountering life's storms, but he will see us through them. In fact, God walks through these storms with us and rescues us. Remember that, like Jeremiah, God formed you, knows you, sanctified you, and ordained you for a purpose and a plan in this life. Your life really does have purpose, which is why the enemy is fighting you so hard today.


"Lord, I am overwhelmed today to think that you formed me, know me, sanctified me, and ordained me! That makes me feel pretty special. I realize today that you really do not make any "junk". I am valuable to you. I have purpose. Forgive me for the times I have allowed my world and culture to take that purpose and value away. I choose today to make life decisions based on that value and purpose. In Jesus' name, amen!"