Every time I read the words, “I knit you together,” it stirs up images of God whispering me into existence in my mother’s womb as bone, flesh, sinew, spirit, and soul perform a delicate dance in hushed awe. Each of us whether we were planned, wanted, unplanned, or unwanted by our parents were formed in this fashion.
When my husband and I began dreaming of our own family, we imagined what it would be like. We guessed they would have Chris’s smile and my eyes. Both Chris and I did a lot of dreaming before our kids ever came into existence—we even dreamed what it would be like to take them for a walk in the stroller, teaching them to ride a bike or go fishing. The point is I began to love my kids way before they were born! I didn’t wait until the day of their birth to begin to bond with them. In the same way I loved my kids, God loves us. Jeremiah 1:5 says, before we existed, he knew us:
“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. “Ah, Sovereign LORD,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.” But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a child.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD. Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “Now, I have put my words in your mouth” (Jeremiah 1:4-9).
What Does Jeremiah Mean by God ‘Knit’ Us Together in Our Mother’s Wombs?
The difference between me dreaming of my kids and God creating my children, He called them into existence. This makes us wonder if there is a soul nursery or storehouse somewhere up in heaven, but that’s not the case. The Bible does not support that we were beings prior to birth. Otherwise, there would be an indication somewhere in the Bible of a storehouse of souls waiting to be matched up to a body.
However, we were in His thoughts, the idea of each of us was carried in His heart before the foundation of the earth. So, what does Jeremiah 1:5 mean because many question whether we were spirit beings prior to birth?
The phrase, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you,” reminds us that it is God speaking to us. God is omniscient: all-seeing, all-knowing. God is also the Alpha and Omega. He is the beginning and the end. Nothing exists outside of Him and nothing happens without His knowledge.
Jeremiah 1:5 isn’t about us; it’s speaking of God’s foreknowledge of how and when He knew each of us would come into existence. The Bible confirms this foreknowledge:
The prophets spoke of His foreknowledge: “Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’”Isaiah 46:10.
“Behold, the former things have come to pass, And new things I declare; Before they spring forth I tell you of them”Isaiah 42:9.
“I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom” Psalm 145:1.
Jesus spoke of God’s foreknowledge: “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” Matthew 42:36.
Paul also spoke of God’s foreknowledge: “God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did…” Romans 4:17.
This foreknowledge means God loved us before we ever came into existence. So, before God ever formed you in the womb, HE LOVED YOU. King David speaks of God’s incredible love for him ever since he was conceived. Psalm 139:16 says, “Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.”
Psalm 139 also says:
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
King David penned in verse 16, “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” The word for “unformed body” is the only use of the Hebrew word for “embryo” found in Scripture.
He continues to pen the details of how God ensured every part of our being came into existence. In Psalm 139:13, the words for “inmost being” in Hebrew literally translates, “my kidneys.” Why would King David say, “You formed my kidneys?” The term “kidneys” was used to refer to our body, right down to the strips of our DNA, God knit us all together. Regardless of our birth parents, the truth is God Himself fashioned us and knit our lives in the womb. These passages indicate that life is precious to God. He personally knits each and every one of us together and had us in mind before the foundation of the world.
Isn’t wonderful to know that God had you on His mind and carried you in His heart before one of your days ever came to be? Just like all parents to be who dream of their family, God already had plans for you. This signifies just how precious life is to God. God is our Creator, each breath we breathe is a gift from Him. After all, we were created in His image.
Created in the Image of God Meaning
So, does this mean that when we were being knit in the womb, that we were created like God? Yes, being made in the “image” or “likeness” of God means, in the simplest terms, that we were made to resemble God. We don’t resemble God in a physical resemblance but mentally, spiritually, socially, and morally. We were created to resemble and reflect God in righteousness and perfect innocence, a reflection of God’s holiness. We were created to reason and make choices. We were made to resemble God in our work and creativity. We were created to reflect His triune nature in fellowship. We were created to be a visible representation of our mighty Creator. We were created to live like we are fearfully and wonderfully made. The Lord ordains everything from eternity past to eternity future and everywhere in between.
This means from the womb to the tomb we are to live in a relationship with our Creator father. Because He knit us together in the womb, He knows our temper, dreams, weaknesses, and strengths. He created us on purpose for a purpose. He also knows that we need to rely on Him to be free of sin. Because He knows the very hairs on your head, we need to understand that even the smallest details of our lives matter to Him. Every small action matters just as much as every big action. Because we are the apple of His eye, we ought to live our lives in a way that honors Him in word and deed! Truly we are fearfully and wonderfully made. How incredible to know and be known by God—and to marvel at His love for each of us from the beginning to eternity.
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Heather Riggleman is an award-winning journalist and a regular contributor for Crosswalk. She calls Nebraska home with her three kids and a husband of 22 years. She believes Jazzercise, Jesus, and tacos can fix anything and not necessarily in that order! She is author of I Call Him By Name Bible Study, the Bold Truths Prayer Journal, Mama Needs a Time Out, and a contributor to several books. You can find her at www.heatherriggleman.com or on Facebook.