Jeremiah 1:5 “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.”
The author of the book Jeremiah, was Jeremiah himself. Though he was just a youth when God called him to be a prophet to the Southern kingdom of Judah, his ministry lasted for forty years that covers the destruction of Jerusalem and carrying away of God’s people (Israel) to
Babylon. He ministered to the last five Kings of Judah Josiah,Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin and Zedekiah.
Meditating upon this verse, and looking deeper into its meaning, rightly dividing the word by seeking to understand what God’s words is saying to us, the first truth that we can see is how God is so good, and how personally he was so involved in every aspects of our lives even from the very moment of our conception.
Words that says, I formed you, I knew you, I set you apart, and I appointed you! God the Almighty, creator of all things, things in heaven and in Earth is personally claiming us to Himself. A sense of personal ownership and personal knowledge of who we are, what can we do, why are we here and how our becoming will be. Alas! Like David we can exclaim and quote “Psalm 139: 6 “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.”
But because God is so good, and He meant nothing but for our goodness sake we can fully commit ourselves to Him and trust Him, that indeed He has a great plan for everyone us. “Plans to prosper us and not to harm us, to give us hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11) that all things work together for good, those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
1. Before I formed you in the womb, I Knew you
What does it mean? It means that no matter how we came into being, we are not a by-product of some kind of an accident or a mistakes. In His infinite wisdom, God purposely and intentionally created us and that even the very hairs of our head are all numbered (Luke 12:7)
by the One who knows us so much better than we know ourselves.
Psalm 139:13-16 “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’swomb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
He even determined the times set for us and the exact places where we should live. (Acts17:26)
Why would He do that? To control and manipulate our lives??? Like some kind of a robot, and he holds the remote control? Of course not! Acts 17:27 says “ God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.
2. Before you were born, I set you apart
In other translations, “I sanctified you” – and to sanctify means to be set apart for a holy use. Biblical word ‘holy” does not only mean purity, sacred or righteousness. It also means dedicated or consecrated to God. 1 Peter 1:16 “For I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, because I am holy.
A holy person is not an odd person, but a different person! A new creation in Christ Jesus, having the mind of Jesus Christ, godly attitudes and behavior. 1 Peter 2:9 “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; -( different to what is normal
or expected) In other words, describes the contemporary word.
But sometimes we don’t want to be different because we don’t want to be cast out. Other times we want to be different just to get attention. This is not what the Bible means to be different. Rather as a Christian, we have to be different in such a way that our lifestyle is
different from the lifestyles and ways of the world. Even though we are in this world Christians are not of this world. As Jesus says in John 15:19 “As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. Therefore to be set apart means we should no longer conform to the pattern of this world (Romans 12:2) with all its sinful desires and disobedience to God’s will.
1. Set a part to be different and make a difference in this world!
Remember the story of Saul when God anointed him to be the first king of Israel in 1 Samuel 10, Samuel told Saul “ The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. Then when Samuel summoned the people of Israel to proclaim the king, Saul tried to hide and to blend in the crowd yet when he stood among the people, he was a head taller than any of the others.
To be a different person means that there are certain characteristics and features that makes you, unique even if you are among the crowds.
– In our way of thinking – our minds have been transformed in Christ Jesus, and a transformed mind, Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment (Romans 12:3) always strive to think about the things of God.
Philippians 4:8 “ whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think
about such things.
– In manner of our speech/ talking – our words be always with grace seasoned with salt (Colossians 4:6) even if we are having negative emotions like anger or disappointments Christians never curse nor use disrespectful words like “cussing” (swear words)
In our way of living – self-less, “Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4)
For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. (Romans 4:7-8 ) Remember Jesus, He died for us so that we may live with Him.
2. God has set us apart for the purpose of sanctification not impurity (1 Thess. 4:7) “For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.
2 Corinthians 6:14,17 “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? “Come out from them and be separate, Touch no unclean thing! and I will receive you. And, “I will be a Father to you,and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
The concept of separation from evil is fundamental to God’s relationship with his people. It involves two dimensions;
* Separating yourself from morally and spiritually from sin and from everything that is contrary to God’s word, his righteousness and will.
* Drawing near to God in an intimate fellowship through obedience and worship.
Noah, amidst the widespread of wickedness and evil in his times, he kept himself separate from the moral evil of the society around him. Because of that God saved him and his family from the flood by instructing him to make an ark and he obey by faith.
Abraham too was called by God to separate himself from his country, his people and his household. Abraham by faith obey God and he gave him a promise son, Isaac. And from this family would come a chosen nation of people who would be separated from the ungodly ways
of other nations to do God’s will, and from this nation would come Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, the promised Messiah.
3. I appointed you as prophet to the nations. (Called, consecrated and set apart for the specific purpose )
In the days of the Bible, in history and even today, there are people set apart by God from birth for a specific purpose. His sovereign will and purpose shall always prevails, for none of His words will fail.
Moses-right from the moment of his birth there is an indication that there is a strong calling, some specific purpose that God was going to fulfil in the life of Moses- his name means “draw out/ pull out”. God used him to be a deliverer of Israelites from slavery. To him God reveals HIs Name and his ways.
Samson– (Judges 13:5) to be a Nazirite, set apart to God from birth to deliver Israelites from the hands of Philistines.
Joseph– separated from his family for a purpose of saving them from great famine.
Samuel– Hannah prayed for a son, and she promised to God that she will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.
Solomon -God chose Solomon from before his birth as the one who would build the temple and reign over Israel.
Esther– For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this? Esther 4:14 -all of Esther’s life and the series of unusual events that led her to become queen, there was a greater purpose for her. Her beauty does not only made her chosen to be a queen, but God used her also to deliver her people from annihilation- born for such a time as this.
John the Baptist- the voice crying in the wilderness, preparing the way for Jesus, as foretold by the prophecy of Isaiah.
Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God. (Romans 1:1)- “But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace. (Galatians 1:15)Acts 13:2 – “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.
Jesus-“For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should
bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” John 18:37
Jesus was born into this world, who is from the beginning the chosen Lamb of God to take away the sins of the world. The king whose kingdom will never end, and through Him we have been born- again, born in Spirit and in truth that in Christ we were chosen to be God’s people.
God created you, set you apart, appointed you as a prophet to the nations- to prophesy and declare the praises of His glory, to share His words and His love, to proclaim good news to the poor, to proclaim freedom for the captives, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God. Isaiah 61:1-2
You were born-again for such a time as this