The words of Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah, one of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin,
Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” But the Lord said to me,
“Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’;
for to all to whom I send you, you shall go,
and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 1:1, 4-8 ESV
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. Ephesians 1:3-10 ESV
Bilbo Baggins was a very respectable hobbit, and he lived comfortably in his hobbit-hole. He liked to eat and relax and be safe and comfortable. But one day a wizard named Gandalf came to his home. He talked Bilbo into coming on a quest with him and some dwarves, who wanted to recover a treasure that had been stolen by a dragon named Smaug, who was guarding it in the Lonely Mountain. Bilbo had been chosen for this adventure, and it was his destiny to go along, even though he really didn’t want to. He would much rather have stayed safely in his hobbit-hole. But Bilbo was able to find a magic ring and also saved the dwarves from some dangers, such as giant spiders. Because of Bilbo’s help all the ancient prophecies came true, and the treasure was recovered. Bilbo was a hero, not because he was particularly strong or brave, but because he was protected by the prophecies and helped by Gandalf the wizard.
This is only a story. The prophet Jeremiah was called by God as a young man to be a prophet, not only to the southern kingdom of Judah, but also to the nations. Jeremiah didn’t want to follow God’s call because he was afraid and because he thought he was too young. But the Lord told Jeremiah that he would be with him and help him and give him the words to speak. He said that he had chosen Jeremiah from before he was born, and had known him before he had formed him inside his mother’s womb. Jeremiah didn’t need to be afraid of God’s call, because the work he would do would be God’s work, and the Lord would be with him and defend him from his troubles.
We might not be called to a life of danger and adventure, but God has also chosen us. The Bible says that he chose us in Christ to be his people even before the world was made. He knew us and loved us before we were born, and planned to save us even before our first parents fell into sin. God’s purposes were fulfilled at the right time through Jesus, the promised Savior. God brought Jesus into the world at the right time, after many years of waiting and hoping, and Jesus fulfilled all God’s prophecies and made our Heavenly Father’s promises come true. Jesus came to die on the cross for us and to bring us back to him, and because of Jesus we are God’s children, now and always.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for loving us and for keeping your promises to save us through Jesus. In His Name, Amen.
Tolkien, J. R. R The Hobbit London: George Allen and Unwin, 1937.