DayBreaks for 5/21/18: Before and Now
From the DayBreaks archive, May 2008:
Through some recent reading, I’ve been led to contemplate the importance of the human concept of our origins. I know the Biblical concept: man was made in the very image of God. We come from Him, we are to live for Him, and we will some day return to Him – and at that time we’ll all have to give an answer for how we lived in this world (Heb. 9:27).
It’s quite a different story if you reject the idea of creation and of the existence of a Divine Being. Without believing in a Divinely ordained destiny for all of creation (including mankind), you are left to believe that everything is the product of chance and mathematical probabilities. It means that you were born for no reason other than a chance meeting of reproductive materials. It means that your life has no teleos – no goal toward which it is moving. It means that when you die, it’s done, period, over and out.
Jeremiah, at one point in his life, had an encounter with God that reveals the fallacy of such thinking. In Jeremiah 1:4-5 (NIV), he wrote these words: “The word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘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.’”
God told Jeremiah wonderful things: “I knew you before you were even formed in the womb. I didn’t just know that you were going to be, but I knew YOU.” How could it be that God knew Jeremiah even before he was conceived? It can only be that God had plans for a particular person (Jeremiah), and that God quite literally knew him. That was the “before” in Jeremiah’s life. And it was through understanding that he had a “before”, and a call for the present (he was consecrated) and that there was a purpose for his life (he was given as a prophet to the nations), that Jeremiah found meaning. It is the “before” that gives the “now” meaning.
God didn’t just know Jeremiah before he was born. He knew all of us. David says that God knew every day that was appointed for him to live before he was born, that every thought he’d ever have and word he’d speak was known before he literally had a single thought. In Ephesians, the great apostle Paul says that God chose us before the foundation of the world.
What does all this mean for you and I? It means that there is a definite purpose for our lives and that we are not to think our lives are meaningless, directionless and without value. It means we don’t have to scurry around trying to find, or even to create, some kind of answers to life. Instead, we can go to God to discover the reason and truth of our existence.
Is it any wonder that there is so much despair among those who don’t know Christ?
PRAYER: Fill us, Lord, with the confidence that comes from knowing our before and how that shapes our now and directs our future. Jesus’ name, Amen.
COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.