"Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you" (Jeremiah 1:5 ).
Today a message from heaven about destiny and divine purpose. Destiny, because God has a plan for every life. And divine purpose, because He does not force us into His plan; He guides us to his plan. Then He lets us choose. He does not take away the free will He has given us. He seeks those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:23, 24). God seeks you, but does not compel you.
Our Scripture comes from the prophet Jeremiah. God tells young Jeremiah that He knew Jeremiah before Jeremiah was formed in the womb. He tells Jeremiah that He, God, was the agent who formed Jeremiah in his mother's womb. He tells Jeremiah that He had called Jeremiah from the beginning to be a prophet to the nations.
All persons are not called to be prophets. Some are leaders in one work, some are servants in another. There are many kinds of work. There are many places where we live. There are many different settings in which God calls us to serve Him. But consider this fact: before God formed Jeremiah in the womb, God knew him.
You can be sure that before God formed you in your mother's womb, He knew you; He had a unique place for you in His divine purpose. He had a work He was going to call you to do for His kingdom.
God Planned You
Have you ever wondered why God put you here. Why was I born where I was born? Why was I born with this particular problem, or why was I born facing those particular challenges? Why was I born in a poor place? Why was I born in a rich place? Why do I exist?
God answers in the Bible.
He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, Having determined alloted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward Him and find Him. . . (Acts 17:24).
Learn truth. The Bible says we were made "from one man." All are brothers of each other. Every man is your brother; every woman is your sister!
The Bible says that "every nation" comes from one man. The first man was Adam. We are all connected. We think of ourselves as separate nations and separate tribes. But every group of people traces back to that first pair, back to Adam and Eve.
Then we read that man was made "to live on the earth." Earth is our home. God made a place for us. God determined when we would be born. God determined where we would live. God determines how long each person's period of opportunity will be. Will we choose God or Satan, truth or untruth, righteousness or unrighteousness? There are right choices and wrong choices, but they are still choices.
God has a purpose for people. All are to seek God. All are to find their way toward Him. And God desires that all men will find Him. He wants to be found!
God planned for your life. He knew you before you were formed in the womb. Before you were conceived God had a plan to draw you to Himself and to save you in His kingdom. But He also gave you free will. He will not force you to be good. He will not force you to be unselfish. He will not force you to be like Jesus. But He calls and pleads and encourages.
To each and every person God gives free will. You are not forced to be a Christian. You are not forced to believe. God makes sure that every person has opportunity to accept His truth. He works out a way for you. He makes sure there are times in your life where you will be confronted with truth. He forces a confrontation with truth. But You still choose what to do with truth. Every person has their own choices to make.
Free Will and Pharaoh
There was a showdown between God and Pharaoh, king of Egypt. God's people had become slaves to the Egyptians and God came down to deliver them. He sent Moses as His agent to confront Pharaoh. Pharaoh resisted, and God sent plague after plague. Each time Pharaoh resisted God. And in this confrontation the question comes, Who hardens Pharaoh's heart?
In Exodus 1:7-8 God says "I have come down to deliver them." In verse 19 God says "I know Pharaoh will not let you go unless he is compelled." In 4:21 God says, "I will harden Pharaoh's heart." But in 8:15 the Bible tells us that "Pharaoh hardened his heart." Pharaoh chose to harden his own heart. We read the same in Exodus 8:32 and in 9:34: "Pharaoh hardened his heart." Other verses say that God hardened Pharaoh's heart (Exodus 7:31; 9:12; 10:1, 20; 11:10; 14:4, 8). And there are the verses which tell us that Pharaoh's heart was hardened but which do not tell us who the hardener was (7:13, 22; 8:19; 9:7, 35).
The fact is that we all exist in a moral universe. Things come into our life. Some are direct results of good or bad choices we make. Some are the results of choices other persons have made. Some result from living in a world damaged by sin. In all this, God intervenes or He does not, according to the riches of His mercy, according to His infinite wisdom, and according to His purpose to rescue this world and make it a place of righteousness and unselfishness.
In the showdown between God and Pharaoh, Moses said to Pharaoh in Exodus 9:16, "For this purpose I have raised you up, to show you My power, so that My name may be proclaimed in all the earth." God did not force Pharaoh to reject God. God simply looked into Pharaoh's character and knew who he was. God knew what he was, God knew Pharaoh's opposition to Himself, and knew how Pharaoh would respond to the situation God placed Pharaoh in. God did not in a direct way make Pharaoh stubborn; God went up against a man who had made himself stubborn, and God was glorified in delivering His people from Pharaoh. He showed His wonders in Egypt (Exodus 11:9). Pharaoh was made just to be destroyed. John 3:16, 17 was operative in Pharaoh's case as it is in every other persons' case:
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him (John 3:17, 18).
"That whoever believes in Him" includes Pharaoh. Pharaoh could have been one of the "whoevers." But "Pharaoh hardened his heart."
Free Will and Nebuchadnezzar
Another case comes out differently. A violent pagan king comes to power named Nebuchadnezzar. The fourth chapter of the book of Daniel is actually written by Nebuchadnezzar, who says, "It has seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has done for me" (Daniel 4:2).
The chapter is Nebuchadnezzar's account of how God humbled him. He completes his testimony saying, "Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the king of heaven, for all His works are right and His ways are just; and those who walk in pride He is able to humble" (4:37).
Nebuchadnezzar says "even more glory" was added to him in the end. How? In that Nebuchadnezzar accepted God's chastening and declared that "all of God's works are right and all of His ways are just." Nebuchadnezzar seems to have come to the end of his life in agreement with God. Pharaoh seems to have come to the end of his life in disagreement with God. Each had free choice. They made different choices.
How will you end your course?
Confrontation with Truth
God confronts each of us with truth. Plan on it. You don't have to choose truth. But you cannot escape coming face-to-face with truth.
Has God sent truth to Kenya? Has God sent His truth about His seventh day Sabbath to Kenya? His truth is going forward. What will you and I do with His truth?
Do you know what the Bible says to you and to me? Find it in Acts 17:30:
The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now He commands all men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30).
Paul preaches this to the Greeks on Mars Hill. He tells them the facts: God has been revealing truth down through the ages. Every nation did not receive His truth at the same time. He designed planet earth for missionary action. Down through the ages God's agents go out. He sends preachers and teachers to "every nation and tribe and language and people." One by one God sends His servants. God sends light. Sometimes it is rejected. Sometimes it is accepted. His truth is light. His light is a test. He speaks to every single person individually.
In the end, God commands all men everywhere to repent, because in the end He has sent His missionaries and His preachers to every nation, every people group. The truth has gone out everywhere. In the end, the full blaze of gospel glory is shining.
Understand, that in the end there is no vagueness about God's truth. God's end-time preachers speak the truth clearly. People are led to understand the issues exactly. Every heart is brought to a decision.
None Forced to Repent
God commands all men everywhere to repent. But He does not force them to repent. Every heart is revealed.
The end-times are characterized by two things: by truth, and by deception. Hear 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12:
The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Why do people perish in the end-times? Because they refused to love the truth. Loving the truth is very important. If you choose not to love the truth, God does not shield you from error. Then God does not stop the error from coming to you. Then God does not prevent you from being deluded. Such a person is exercising his free choice to love error more than truth. In great sorrow God left the tribe of Ephraim to its idols (Hosea 4:17). And God will leave those who choose to love error to their idols, too.
Many will believe what is false in the end, not because God deceives them, but because they loved unrighteousness and rejected truth. So get this. In the end everyone is a believer. One group believes what is true and acts upon it; one group believes what is false and acts upon it.
One group will be terribly and fatally surprised. Please don't be in that group.
I want to share a very special Bible promise with you that you can claim if you meet the conditions. You should weigh this promise carefully. It is found in Romans 8:28:
We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
There is a condition in this promise: loving God. The promise is only for you if you meet the conditions included in the promise. To love God is not a vague thing. In the Bible that every Christian holds in His hand, Jesus says, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments" (John 14:15). How can we know if we love God? We will keep His commandments. How can we keep them unless we know what they are? We will want to know what they are. Then we will do them.
Everyone is called according to God's purpose. But not everyone loves God. Not everyone loves truth. My appeal to everyone in the hearing of my voice this day, is love God. Love His truth. Don't leave yourself and your family in readiness to be deceived in these last days.
Born for Such a Time as This
Friends, everyone in the hearing of my voice has come to the kingdom for such a time as this. God knew each of us before He formed us in the womb. God loves you. God knows who you are. God has given you gifts to be able to choose the right. It is true that all humans were damaged when Adam sinned, and that because of this we all have in us an attraction to evil. But it is also true that we are made in God's image. Jesus is the true light who gives light to every person who is born (John 1:9).
God is calling everyone who hears to seek Him and find Him. He is calling everyone to be true to Jesus. He is calling you to follow the truth He reveals to you when He reveals it to you. He is calling you to be faithful to God about His holy Sabbath day. He is calling you to understand and live as a holy person.
You were born in this time, in this place, to be faithful to Jesus. Right before the end of the world, He is calling you. But He does not force you. He loves you. The choice to follow Jesus or not is still your choice.
God sets before you death and life. Choose life.
Mara Vision Outreach Bible Mission Camp, Maasai Mara, Talek Kenya 2016-08-11