Jeremiah: The Four Things God did for you even before your birth (1:1-19, 7:23-24, 8:11-12)

March 13, 2016

Book: Jeremiah

Jeremiah: The Four Things God did for you even before your birth (1:1-19, 7:23-24, 8:11-12)
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The Four Things God did for you even before your birth

1:1-19, 7:23-24, 8:11-12 (Pastor Heo)

1 The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the priests at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin. 2 The word of the LORD came to him in the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah, 3 and through the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, down to the fifth month of the eleventh year of Zedekiah son of Josiah king of Judah, when the people of Jerusalem went into exile. 4 The word of the LORD came to me, saying, 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.” 6 “Alas, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” 7 But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD. 9 Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth. 10 See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” 11 The word of the LORD came to me: “What do you see, Jeremiah?” “I see the branch of an almond tree,” I replied. 12 The LORD said to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.” 13 The word of the LORD came to me again: “What do you see?” “I see a pot that is boiling,” I answered. “It is tilting toward us from the north.” 14 The LORD said to me, “From the north disaster will be poured out on all who live in the land. 15 I am about to summon all the peoples of the northern kingdoms,” declares the LORD. “Their kings will come and set up their thrones in the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem; they will come against all her surrounding walls and against all the towns of Judah. 16 I will pronounce my judgments on my people because of their wickedness in forsaking me, in burning incense to other gods and in worshiping what their hands have made. 17 “Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them. 18 Today I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land— against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests and the people of the land. 19 They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD.

7:23 but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you. 24 But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward.

8:11 They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. “Peace, peace,” they say, when there is no peace. 12 Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when they are punished, says the LORD.

As we know, we are now studying the Prophetic books of the Bible, Isaiah to Malachi (17 books of the OT).

Last Sunday, we studied the defn of prophecy:

The revelation of God’s will for the future based on the condition of the present.

This is both:

  1. encouragement and warning,
  2. comfort and challenge,
  3. opportunity and crisis

Israel is torn into two kingdoms right now (in Jeremiah) – because of the sin of Solomon’s idolatry.

  1. Northern kingdom was destroyed by Assyria in 723-721 BC and
  2. Southern kingdom was destroyed by Babylonia in 686 BC.

This is the historic background of this nation and story.

Isaiah ministered for the southern kingdom through the reigns of 4 kings (10th to 13th king) – in Judah. During his ministry, the northern kingdom was destroyed by Assyria.

Today, Jeremiah begins his prophesying ministry halfway through the reign of Josiah (16th king in Judah – the LAST good king) and continued through the reigns of Jehoahaz, Jehoakim, Zedekiah (20th king). Jeremiah lived during the latter half of the 7th century and first half of 6th century BC. During his LONG ministry, Jeremiah warned God’s people of the catastrophe that would befall them due to their disobedience and rebellion against God.

He lived to see these prophesies come true.

Jerusalem fell to Babylonia (Nebuchadnezzar). But, Jeremiah ALSO prophesied the eventual return and restoration of the nation.

This is a period of storms and crises – the doom of the entire nations were being sealed. Many smaller countries in Asia were also in peril from larger nations.

One of the biggest battles: Battle of Carchemish (This was studied in HS – like a WWI at that time). God is even in control of secular nations – here is evidence.

Jeremiah 46:1-2

1 This is the word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning the nations: 2 Concerning Egypt: This is the message against the army of Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt, which was defeated at Carchemish on the Euphrates River by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah:

This battle was like a WWI at that time – many nations were involved. Babylonia vs. the allied forces of Egypt and Assyria. (605 BC)

Carchemish is today on the border between Turkey and Syria.

Babylonia got a great victory – Nebuchadnezzar was a prince, defeated his enemies, and became king. Under his leadership, Babylonia became a superpower that ruled the entire Middle East at that time. After this battle, Assyria disappeared from history permanently, and Egypt became weak and never again rose to great power.

Judah became a vassal state of Babylonia.

  1. Jehoiakim rebelled against Babylonia and expected help from Egypt – misunderstanding the situation. So, that same year, Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem and destroyed the temple and took many treasures from it. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednago were taken to Babylonia. This is the FIRST departure.
  2. In 597BC? he attacked again and took the king (Jehoiakim) and the prophet Ezekiel to Babylonia (SECOND departure).
  3. In 586BC, he attacked again and burned the temple, took the king Zedekiah (with eyes gouged out) to Babylonia (THIRD departure and final destruction of the southern kingdom).

This is the background story of Jeremiah. Wow – tough life.

Jeremiah means “The Lord throws” or “appoints/sends”.

Jeremiah has 52 chapters, but is VERY difficult to arrange chronologically and topically. Roughly, the outline is 4 parts:

  1. Part 1: Chp 1 – The calling of Jeremiah
  2. Part 2: Chp 2-45 – Prophesies about Judah
  3. Part 3: Chp 46-51 – Prophesies about other nations (Egypt, Damascus, Babylon, etc)
  4. Part 4: Chp 52 – The fall of Jerusalem

In the NT, Matthew, one day Jesus asked, “who do people say I am?” They replied, “John the B, Elijah, Jeremiah.” Why? Humanly, there are commonalities between Jesus and Jeremiah.

  • Jeremiah = weeping prophet – the prophet of sorrow – a heartbroken prophet with a heartbreaking message of doom to the stiff-necked people of Judah. His book is also broken and difficult to arrange neatly into parts.
  • Jesus also wept over Jerusalem.
    • Jerusalem = “city of peace”
    • Jesus came as the author of Peace, the king of Peace “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. I do not give as the world gives…”
    • Jerusalem rejected him, Jesus wept. “Do not suppose I have come to bring peace. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

The author of Peace himself is also a terrible terror.

  • Jeremiah’s message is “TURN from your sin, turn TO God – then you will live in true peace and hope.” But the people hated Jeremiah – the people listened to false prophets, he was rejected, persecuted and mistreated by his own people.
  • Also, Jesus was misunderstood, persecuted, and crucified by his own people.

The calling of Jeremiah is also OUR story:

The 4 Things God Did For You Even Before Your Birth.

When were you born? Do you remember your birthday?

Let’s see chp 1 again (v. 4-9):


4 The word of the LORD came to me, saying, 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.” 6 “Alas, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” 7 But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. 8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD. 9 Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth.

  • v. 8 & 19 shows Emmanuel God “…I am with you and will rescue you…”
  • v. 4-5 Who is I? God. Who is you? Me.

In this short sentence, there are at least FOUR things God did for use before we were born:

#1: He formed you

This is amazing news – God is the Creator. He shaped and formed you. Ps 139:13-14 “God created my inmost being. I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” God created us in his image, in his likeness.

We are God’s handiwork, workmanship, masterpiece – don’t try to change your shape, your appearance. You are already God’s masterpiece.

#2: God knew you

Romans 5:29-30? “Those God foreknew, he predestined to become like Jesus Christ his son… Those he predestined, he called. Those he called, he justified. Those he justified, he also glorified.”

What does this mean? This indicates an individual, personal relationship with God – not just that he “knows about” you – some facts or something. He has an intimate relationship with you.

Jesus says, “I never knew you” to those who reject him. What does this mean? Jesus knows all facts about them, of course, he “knows about” them, BUT he’s never had any personal experience, relationship, nor communication with them.

This is “knowing” and “knowing about.”

I know about Barack Obama. He was born in 1961 in Hawaii, graduated from Harvard, father was Kenyan, first black President of the US. BUT, I do not “know” Obama – I never met him, never talked to him, never had a relationship with him.

God “knows” us as an intimate friend and he wants us to know him in the same way. Can you say “I know God”? Or just “I know about God”? Honestly?

Yes, we all know some FACTS about him – historically, we all KNOW about him. But, we must have some kind of personal relationship with him in order to say we really “know” him.

When we are able to say “I know him” he says, “I call you my friend – no longer my servants – because a servant does not know his master’s business.” Friends have no hidden secrets between them. Jesus is our best friend, Amen?

#3: God set us apart

He separated us, sanctified us, ordained us.

When was Paul saved from a human perspective? Acts 8,9,10 – on the way to Damascus in his latter 20s. But later, he confessed “God set me apart from birth and called me as his missionary to the Gentiles.” This is spiritual mathematics.

Yes, before we were born, God died for you and set you apart. If you believe this, it means that Jesus Christ FIRST committed himself TO US.

Yes, we must commit ourselves to Jesus, but even before we were born, HE committed himself TO US. His death on the cross proves this. (Korean)

He set us apart – ordained us.

Are you Christian? You are not an ordinary Christian, but an ordained Christian. If you believe in Christ, you receive another name. In body, you receive your name at birth from your parents. Like this, when we are born again, we receive another name from God directly “Christian.” Yes, “Philip, Aaron” are not common nouns, but proper nouns. Even though there are many Philips, it is not a common noun.

Likewise, “Christian” is not a common noun, but a proper noun. Thus, we always write a “C” with a capital letter – you are not an “ordinary” Christian, but an “ordained” proper noun Christian.

#4: God appointed you

This means that God has a special particular task, mission, for your lives. Yes, in this book, Jeremiah, God appointed him as a prophet to the nations. Paul confessed that God appointed him as a missionary to the Gentiles. Also, today, God appointed US as an ambassador to this world. We, as a church, and you as an individual, personal, walking church (“don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit?”).

Church = saved FROM the world, and sent TO the world

We study together, build up together, but also have a mission for the outside world. If we don’t have a mission, we are just a social club. Church = church when we are doing mission for the lost world. Jesus appointed us. Jesus message to all of us: “I am with you.” (Emmanuel God). In this, we have all needs, spiritually, and physically, met.

This is a timeless covenant/promise that God gives to those appointed for mission. There is no change all the time.

  • In Exodus, God appointed Moses to go to Pharaoh and bring his people out of Egypt. In disappointment, Moses was afraid and replied, “Who am I? I’m nothing. I shouldn’t go.”
  • Also, Jeremiah said, “I don’t know how to speak. I’m just a child.” But God promised: “Don’t worry. I am with you.”
  1. To Moses: “I am with you” = “You will be like me – like God”
  2. To Joshua: appointed to continue the mission given to Moses – he was also afraid, but God said, “Be strong and courageous. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you.”
  3. To Jeremiah: appointed as a missionary to the Gentile nations. He was afraid and God said, “Don’t say you’re only a child, I am with you, I will rescue you.”
  4. Today as well, Jesus appoints us to be a blessing to this world by winning them to Christ. Are you afraid? We may be afraid, and THAT’S WHY he says to us: “Do not be afraid. I am with you.” Why? “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” He repeats this in the Great Commission Matthew 28:19-20 “I am with you always to the very end of the Age.”

Before you were born:

  1. God formed you
  2. God knew you
  3. God set you apart
  4. God appointed you

Let’s pray.