God sometimes takes risks on us, even before we’ve proved ourselves or our character. This can lead to prophets like Jeremiah, whom God consecrated and appointed before he was even conceived in his mother’s womb. Would Jeremiah’s free will get in the way of his preordained calling? Fortunately, no—though Jeremiah would complain about his calling at times. Others would only meet God halfway, like Moses, whom God chose to be a king/priest figure, but he refused to do it in full, forcing God to make a concession he didn’t want to make. And then there are nuts like Samson, who was appointed to a task way ahead of time and stirred with the Holy Spirit at a young age, just to have the meathead break all the rules that God set in place for him and live a very disordered and sinful life.
Yes, God is omniscient and knows all the possibilities of what might happen when he appoints us to things, but he often has to take the great risk of hoping we follow through on our tasks. And when we don’t, the world falls into disarray, we sin, and even prophetic words get thrown off. So imagine the risk God must have taken on a figure like John the Baptist, who was appointed ahead of time to be the long-awaited-and-prophesied-about-Elijah-figure that would pave the way forward for the Messiah. God trusted him so much, that he actually filled him with the Holy Spirit while he was still in the womb—showing us all the more value of the unborn in that there can be deep spiritual things happening in them that we can’t even see!
God’s great risk was met with great response. For despite how little we know about John the Baptist and his thriving ministry, Jesus himself said that no one born of a woman was greater than John. Clearly this Spirit-filled fetus did something right with the anointing, calling, and responsibilities handed to him. Let us echo his faithfulness with our own lives.
*This devotional was created out of the themes of Luke 1:39-49 found in today’s reading at CommonPrayer.net.