Before I Formed You…I Know the Plans I Have For You
I have once again been reading in Jeremiah and remembered that I had written on the topics of God knowing us before we are born and having definite plans for us. I remain in awe of the prophets of old that were called of God to bring His messages to the kings and peoples of Old Testament times. So today I am “recycling” an older article with additional comments.
Jeremiah was one of those who were called by God. Jeremiah felt inadequate for the job. He was too young and he knew nothing about public speaking or how to approach a king to give him a warning from God. I can only imagine how the thought of giving a warning message to a king made him quake in his sandals. But we know that the Lord equips those He has called. Read what Jeremiah himself relates about his word from the Lord in chapter 1:
The words of Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah, one of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, to whom the word of the LORD came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah…
Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “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.” Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth;’ for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the LORD.”
Then the LORD put out His hand and touched my mouth. And the LORD said to me, “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.”
For the rest of his days Jeremiah spoke the Word of the Lord without fear of the consequences of his words or actions. He was threatened, jailed, put into stocks, sentenced to die but not killed, dumped into a cistern to sink into the muddy bottom to die but later rescued – all because he obeyed his Lord!
For you, as a child of God according to the New Testament, how can you doubt that God knows your situation and your tribulations as you stand on your marriage covenant vows? If God knows us before He forms us in the womb why do we worry that He may not know what we face on a daily basis? Notice that He did not tell Jeremiah that he was to speak on God’s behalf and all who heard the words would receive them in a welcome manner. Jeremiah was told “to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.” He was also told, “Do not be afraid of them,” in reference to those to whom God had sent him for delivery of God’s message.
Oh, to be able to say that the Lord had touched my mouth and told me (audibly) that He had put His words in my mouth! It works differently for us as new creations in Christ than it did for those of Old Testament days. We have the Holy Spirit living within us! Thank you, Lord! So how do we, as covenant keepers, get God’s words in our mouths? By studying the Holy Bible and by praying, so that in any situation where we want what we say to represent God’s word, the words we speak are directed from the Holy Spirit and come from the Holy Bible. That was God’s command to Jeremiah – “and whatever I command you, you shall speak.”
Later in the Book of Jeremiah we see a letter sent from Jeremiah to all the exiles living in Babylon. Jeremiah is relating God’s clear message to the exiles that it is God who has sent them into exile from Jerusalem even though it was the earthly kings who were allowed to conquer them.
From Jeremiah 29 starting in verse 11:
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will hear you. You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
I do not know if you can visualize your circumstances as similar to those living in exile in Babylon. Isn’t being separated or divorced somewhat similar to living in exile? The exiles’ lives were torn asunder and they were forced to live in circumstances they did not choose and over which they had no control. That sounds like many of the stories we hear from covenant keepers with whom we interact on a daily basis.
Yet God assured the exiles that His plans were for their ultimate good. God wanted them to call upon Him and pray and He assured them that He would listen. Verse 13 is the key – “when you seek Me with all your heart I will be found by you.” That is what God wanted from the exiles and that is what He wants from each of us. When you seek Him with all your heart you will find Him. God will speak to you. Are you seeking Him wholeheartedly today?