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BEFORE I FORMED YOU

Daily Devotional Jeremiah 1:4–10


When He calls you, God isn’t concerned about your talents. Neither is He concerned about your age. As Paul wrote to Timothy, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young” (1 Tim. 4:12).


Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.

JEREMIAH 1:5


In Jeremiah 1, God called another prophet. What is unique about this call is His explanation of the timing. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew [yada] you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations” (v. 5). Like the Hebrew word qara for “call,” the word yada has a range of meanings. Here, it indicates a relationship—one in which God chooses and protects His child. God set Jeremiah apart for holy service before he was even born.


Jeremiah’s first response was: “Alas, Sovereign LORD” (v. 6). The “alas” was a cry of alarm. Like Moses, Jeremiah objected because of his ineloquence of speech. His second objection was his age. Commentators believe he was probably younger than twenty at the time. God dismissed Jeremiah’s concerns and reiterated His call. But—as He did many times before—He also promised His presence and defense.


God would give Jeremiah the words and rescue him from danger (vv. 7–8). The Lord even stretched out His hand and touched Jeremiah’s mouth. Unlike the hot coal used to cleanse Isaiah’s lips, this touch demonstrated God’s intent to fill Jeremiah’s mouth with His message, one of both judgment and blessing, building up and tearing down.


In verses 11–16, God confirmed Jeremiah’s call with two visions. It gave Jeremiah courage and motivation. In Jeremiah 20:7–18, the prophet complained to the Lord. He even cursed the day he was born (20:14). Yet he continued in obedience.


>> Isn’t it mind-boggling to consider that God knew your call before you were born? His call can come regardless of our age, and it is always compelling. What God calls us to do may be painful, but if we keep silent, it burns within us (20:9).


Pray with Us


Today we pray for the young people You have called. Grant them confidence in You and surround them with elders who will respect and affirm their calling. Help them remain steadfastly focused and obedient to You.

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