Pastor Zac Poonen as he discusses what it means for God to have ordained not only the course of our lives, but even our very existence.
While this Scripture is a good reminder when we are in the midst of trials, what I love about the message is how Pastor Poonen addresses the human frailties we often let limit us with God. If God has called us, then He has indeed equipped us to do everything He sets before us. It is only when we look to our own strength that we feel weak and incapable for the task at hand.
It is also interesting to note that the process which is used to establish God's word in the nations is the same as what is used to establish God's word in our minds & hearts. Oftentimes, new Christians are not prepared for the extreme renovation which will occur in their inner man as they submit to Christ. In sin, our way of thinking, our feelings, and even our perceptions are largely defiled. We must learn to "pluck up, break down, destroy, overthrow" every old way so that the word of God can begin to "build and plant" a new and living way in our souls; it is how we are made new creatures in Christ. Yet even in this process, God has already ordained the path and is leading us towards victory...if we but follow Him.
The Lord called Jeremiah when he was a young man (Jeremiah 1:5, 6) and said to him, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born I consecrated you and appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
God knew Jeremiah even before his body was formed in his mother’s womb. There is a lot of dispute nowadays about whether an embryo is a human being or not. Here is a verse that should clear that doubt forever - because God says He knew Jeremiah before he was formed. When Jeremiah was a microscopic speck in his mother’s womb, God knew him and consecrated him to be a prophet.
That is a great encouragement for us - to know that God had His eye on us even when we were just microscopic specks just conceived in our mother’s wombs. He has a plan for our lives just as He had a plan for Jeremiah.
Just imagine, when Jeremiah went through all those difficulties, how this thought must have encouraged him: “I am facing a lot of difficulties right now. But God knew me when I was in my mother’s womb and He planned my life then. And that plan will be fulfilled. I am going to yield to God utterly.” All of us too should think about that whenever we face trials and difficulties. God chose you before you were born and His plan for your life will be fulfilled. So don’t ever get discouraged.
Then Jeremiah said, “Lord, I don’t know how to speak.” It is amazing how God picks up people to be prophets who are not good at public speaking. Moses was like that. He also said, “Lord, I am unable to speak publicly.” I want to encourage all of you. Don’t think that God cannot use you to preach His word just because you don’t have the ability to speak or the boldness to stand before people. The Lord said to Moses, “I made man’s mouth. Can’t I then make you speak?” If you allow God to break you and to fill you with His Holy Spirit, He can make you also His spokesman. It all depends on your walk with God.
I was a shy, self-conscious person as a young Christian. But when God anointed me with His Spirit, He began to speak through me. He can do the same with you. And one more thing: Don’t ever say to God, “Lord, I am so young.” If God calls you and consecrates you, your age won’t make any difference. You don’t have to wait until you are an old man before you start serving the Lord. As soon as you feel a burden in your heart, seek God to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and go forth and proclaim the word of God.
The Lord told Jeremiah, “Don’t say I am a youth, because everywhere I send you, you shall go, and all that I command you, you shall speak” (Jeremiah 1:7). And then the Lord spoke a word to him that He often spoke to His prophets: “Don’t be afraid, because I am with you to deliver you”(Jeremiah 1:8). One big advantage that all the true prophets had was this that the Lord was with them. Therefore they were not afraid of any man. That is the way we need to serve the Lord today as well. The Lord must be with us.
The Lord touched Jeremiah’s mouth and told him, “I have put My words in your mouth.” God did the same for Isaiah too. Notice then the ministry that the Lord gave Jeremiah. Six activities are mentioned here – plucking up, breaking down, destroying, overthrowing, building and planting (Jeremiah 1:10).
Four of these were negative and two - building and planting - were positive. Jeremiah had to tear down the old structure first and then put up God’s structure. That is not an easy thing to do. It is much easier to build a building on an empty plot of land.
Christendom today is in very similar condition to what Judah was in those days. There are huge religious structures in Christendom today that are contrary to the Word of God. A prophet who comes with God’s word to such a situation will have to first pluck up, break down, destroy and overthrow many things before he can build and plant something of eternal value. It is this initial work with the bulldozer that many preachers are unwilling to do. They seek to “stitch a patch of new cloth on an old garment”. But the Lord says, “No. You have to throw away the old garment. You have to destroy the old structure completely and start afresh with something completely new.” If you don’t do that, you will not be able to build what God wants you to build. The Lord went on to encourage Jeremiah saying, “They will fight against you, but they won’t overcome you, for I am with you” (Jeremiah 1:19).