“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you [and approved of you as My chosen instrument], And before you were born I consecrated you [to Myself as My own]; I have appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (AMP)
Antes que te formase en el vientre te conocí, y antes que nacieses te santifiqué, te di por profeta a las naciones. (RVR 1960)
This is another of those bible verses that many “Christians” seem to be able to rattle off in some form or another. I often wonder how many have actually taken the time to contemplate and meditate on the deep and glorious meaning of it? So let us break it down:
Context: This is the beginning of the Book of Jeremiah whose ministry began in 626 b.c. and ended sometime after 586. Its purpose was to warn of the destruction that they, Israel, were about to face and to urge Judah to return and submit to God. In this first part of Chapter 1 v.1-3 we get a explanation of who Jeremiah is and in v.4 we find God’s call Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, and now our main text:
Before I formed you in the womb: Note the implication here, it is God who is in charge of all creation. He forms babies in there mothers wombs. Men and Women may have sexual relations but it is God alone who forms children in the womb.
I knew you: Not only does God form us He knows us. In once sense this should provide great comfort on the other great fear. By that I mean if God knows us that intimately (in the womb as we are forming) we can count on Him to know our needs, on the other hand; He knows us day to day and all our little secrets?
before you were born: Have you ever heard someone try and explain that God was not in control and didn’t have a plan? This verse refutes that. Before we were born (in this case Jeremiah but applicable to all) God has a plan for our lives.
I consecrated you: God “Consecrated” or “Set Apart” Jeremiah for a mission to serve the Kingdom of God. The same is true for believers today Gad consecrates or Sets them Apart from the affairs of the world in order to serve Him in the world.
I appointed you: Being Set Apart is one thing; one must then be Appointed to the task at hand. Appointed means that we have been authorized to carry out a specific task. Jeremiah was appointed by God to be a Prophet. Today many are self appointed false prophets, teachers and preachers and all must beware.
a prophet to the nations: In the case of Jeremiah it was for the mission of prophet to the nations. God chose him specifically for that task, He has also set apart each of His chosen people for a specific task today. What that is only you and God may know with the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit and your local Pastor.
In conclusion, this verse should be when used in the proper context a shining promise of God’s love and care for His people. It is also a reminder that we have a duty to fulfill the Great Commission but that duty must be dome by those Set Apart and Appointed by God. As Calvin said: I pass by here what might be more largely said on what is necessary in one’s call, so that he may be attended to by God’s people; for no one, by his own and private right, can claim this privilege of speaking, as I have already said, inasmuch as this is what belongs to God alone.