Proper 16 — Jer. 1:4-10
Dreaming is a wonderful way to spend time for soon-to-be parents waiting for the arrival of their child. Will our baby be a boy or a girl? What name will we choose for our offsprings? What clothes will we buy for our child?
My wife and I enjoyed hours of imagining the future for our son before he was born. Imagining what our baby would be like was important for us because another woman was carrying him to birth. We had agreed to adopt this baby because the mother was an unwed teen who wanted a Christian couple to adopt him. We were thrilled to volunteer and started planning immediately. In addition to designing his wardrobe and wondering if he would be a sports champion, our biggest concern was how we could plan a God-honoring life for this child.
With regular updates on his progress in the womb, coupled with our active imaginations, we felt we knew him before he was born. Yet a certain amount of
anxiety clouded our best images of his future. Fortunately, God is never limited in His ability to plan a person’s future. God’s call of Jeremiah to be His prophet illustrates how involved God is in our lives.
1. God gets involved in planning our lives before birth.
God packed a lot of personal theology into a few words to Jeremiah. The three first-person verbs tell us about His timeless activity that predates birth.
“I knew you” helps us understand God was intimately related to Jeremiah. The Hebrew word often is used to express marital intimacy (
apart” teaches that God designated Jeremiah to be a proclaimer of God’s holiness instead of a mediator of God’s holiness as Jeremiah’s father who was a priest (
God takes the same initiative in everyone’s life. David expressed this truth in
2. God gets involved in planning our lives as a young person.
Jeremiah was likely in his teens or early 20s when he was called by God into ministry. He complained to God as Moses, Gideon, and Isaiah did. Each had his
reason for objecting to God’s plan for his life. Jeremiah replied that he was too young, but God overruled his objection by pledging to accompany and rescue him. Jeremiah’s authority to prophesy did not rest in his own limited capabilities but in God’s unlimited possibilities.
3. God gets involved in planning our lives for the rest of life.
God did not select Jeremiah for a short-term ministry but for a lifetime of service. The Lord touched Jeremiah’s mouth and gave him a gift he would employ for the rest of his life. He would need to rely on that divine blessing because his prophetic message, especially for Judah, would not be pleasant but pessimistic. His negative words (“uproot and tear down,” “destroy and overthrow”) reflected the actions of God in the history of Judah as the nation fell to invading armies from Babylon. His positive words (“to build” and “to plant”) showed that his gift was to be used for the spiritual well-being of Judah.
The Bible teaches that all believers today are gifted by the Spirit for the common good of the body of Christ (
Some may question whether God is involved in their lives. Jeremiah’s call illustrates that God is involved. The issue for each of us is whether we will follow His
plan for us. God has a perfect plan for each of us. Jeremiah later would proclaim, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'” (