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Before I formed you in the belly I knew you, says God to Jeremiah, Jer. 1:5

MageBefore I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations (Jeremiah 1:5)

This verse shows God’s plans for Jeremiah before he was born, and it doesn’t imply that Jeremiah could not have resisted God’s purpose for him. The case could also be that God foreknew that Jeremiah would accept the ordination, and therefore expressed himself the way he did. Also Paul was appointed for a certain service, and he chose to not be disobedient to it.

Acts 26: 19Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision20But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

There are other verses in the book of Jeremiah that show that people can act in total contrast to God’s will.

Jeremiah 7:31 And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, NEITHER CAME IT INTO MY HEART.

Jeremiah 19:5 They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, NEITHER CAME IT INTO MY MIND.

The book of Jeremiah also contains many poetic and prophetic descriptions and analogies. There are many verses we can’t take literally. Just look at the rest of the text in the very same chapter; Jeremiah 1.

6Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.

But children CAN speak if they are old enough, and surely Jeremiah wasn’t a child when he spoke to God?

8Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.

If God predestines everything that comes to pass, then God should really have said ”I will make sure you will not be afraid of their faces” instead of warning/advising Jeremiah for not being afraid of their faces.

9Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.

Surely God didn’t literally use his hand of flesh and blood to touch Jeremiah’s mouth.

10See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.

Is the idea that Jeremiah was supposed to literally do all those things, as in literally build something (buildings?) and PLANT something (seeds?) I don’t believe God’s words are hard to understand as long as we recognize the poetic and prophetic descriptions involved.

15For, lo, I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north, saith the LORD; and they shall come, and they shall set every one his throne at the entering of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all the walls thereof round about, and against all the cities of Judah.

Are we supposed to believe that ALL families (100%) of the kingdoms of the north will come and set their thrones (literally?) at the entering of the gates of Jerusalem?

16And I will utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands.

Here we can read that God will judge those who have FORSAKEN him, burned incense to other gods and worshiped the works of their hands. Did God WANT them to forsake him, burn incense to other gods and worship the created things instead of their true Creator? Clearly not! Those things are nothing but SINS and God doesn’t want us to sin but to OBEY him. Since the people spoken of were disobedient, it shows man’s free will in action.

17Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them.

”Gird up thy loins” is a well-known idiom, and once more we can read here that God advises Jeremiah to NOT be dismayed at their faces. IF he would still choose to do this (LEST) God would in his turn confound Jeremiah before them. So whether God would confound Jeremiah or not depended on Jeremiah’s actions.

18For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land.

God didn’t literally do all those things that particular day.

19And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee.2Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown.

In the next chapter Jeremiah 2, we can see more evidence of people acting against the will of God. 

5Thus saith the LORD, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain?6Neither said they, Where is the LORD that brought us up out of the land of Egypt—7And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled my land, and made mine heritage an abomination. 8The priests said not, Where is the LORD? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.9Wherefore I will yet plead with you, saith the LORD, and with your children’s children will I plead.10For pass over the isles of Chittim, and see; and send unto Kedar, and consider diligently, and see if there be such a thing.11Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit.12Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD.13For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.—16Also the children of Noph and Tahapanes have broken the crown of thy head.17Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, when he led thee by the way?19Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.20For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot.21Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me?22For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord GOD.23How canst thou say, I am not polluted, I have not gone after Baalim? see thy way in the valley, know what thou hast done: thou art a swift dromedary traversing her ways;—27Saying to a stock, Thou art my father; and to a stone, Thou hast brought me forth: for they have turned their back unto me, and not their face: but in the time of their trouble they will say, Arise, and save us.28But where are thy gods that thou hast made thee? let them arise, if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble: for according to the number of thy cities are thy gods, O Judah.29Wherefore will ye plead with me? ye all have transgressed against me, saith the LORD.30In vain have I smitten your children; they received no correction: your own sword hath devoured your prophets, like a destroying lion.31O generation, see ye the word of the LORD. Have I been a wilderness unto Israel? a land of darkness? wherefore say my people, We are lords; we will come no more unto thee? 32Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number.—35Yet thou sayest, Because I am innocent, surely his anger shall turn from me. Behold, I will plead with thee, because thou sayest, I have not sinned.

It’s rather silly to ignore all the above examples of man thwarting God’s hopes and plans, as well as God pleading with man  (just like the rest of Jeremiah, and the rest of the BIBLE) and select one verse out of context just to support a certain doctrine. God could have created us with NO free will if he wanted, but seeing this would make us into robots, he apparently created us with Free Will and THAT would be a godly decision we could NOT change even if we wanted.