“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;” Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV)
“Ah, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.”
But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 1:6-8 (NIV)
The Lord said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.” Jeremiah 1:12 (NIV)
Jeremiah captured my attention before I even read a word he penned. Reading about him in the background information, I found I liked him for his self-analysis and self-criticism. I liked how he’d lay bare the deep struggles of his inmost being. I even liked that he was considered the “weeping prophet.” And that his name toggled between definitions like “The Lord exalts” and “The Lord throws.” This was a man God would use in a powerful way–and Jeremiah was aware of the big job ahead of him.
So many verses jumped out at me, I grabbed one after another, totally unable to settle on just one. And I could have kept going until my hands were full. I fluctuated between awe, reassurance and fear of the Lord, line by line.
Awe: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you …”
Reassurance: “I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.”
Fear of the Lord, the powerful language of a father rebuking.
How do I apply these words to a prophet of nearly 3,000 years ago? I am not faced with the task Jeremiah had. But still, these words are applicable to all: God knows us–even before we were born. He will equip us for whatever job he has–he’s done it all throughout history. And he is in control: watching to see that his word is fulfilled.
A soothing salve to my sometimes anxious heart.
Father, your word is living. These words written so long ago, during a time so very vastly different from today, still stir hearts. You convict us, encourage us, admonish us, guide us, comfort us and warn us page after page. This is amazing to me. Thank you for these words so I can know better who you are and what you can do. Amen.
A scheduling snafu today; from the archives, August 14, 2009.