Before Jeremiah was a twinkle in his father’s eye


We immediately get into a passage in Jeremiah 1 that is well known, at least relative to other texts from Jeremiah. In verse five we read:

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…

In it we see God’s sovereignty over creation and time. We find comfort being known by God, and that he knows us before we ever have a chance to seek him. Before we even have the ability to turn to him, he knows us.

But it is great to look beyond this one line to see how this truth plays out. God wants his prophet Jeremiah to rely on God to fulfill his call. Jeremiah worries that he is only a youth, so how is he to be a prophet to the nations? But doesn’t he realize that God already knew that when he called him–he knew all things about Jeremiah before Jeremiah was even born. God says do not worry that you are young, for I will give you the words. Just follow my command. I will be with you. Verse nine even says that God will put the words in Jeremiah’s mouth. What then will he lack?

If he is worried that he’ll have to go it alone, all Jeremiah should do is look back–God knew him before he was formed. And he can look ahead–God will continue to be with him. God has not left his side and will remain with him making him capable of the great work that is prepared for him. There is no time Jeremiah can think of or imagine in which God is absent from the picture.

In a similar way that Jesus talks of Abraham in John 8, God could say here that before Jeremiah was, I am. God was by his side before he even had a side, before he had a body. Therefore Jeremiah can rely on this God who holds these plans securely in his own hands. He need not worry about what he may lack and instead focus on all that is perfectly provided by God.

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