Jeremiah is the book of the prophet Jeremiah, who receives the divine call to prophesy while still very young. It is his mission to predict doom upon his nation for its many sins. For this he is hated by the priests and the people. More important than prophecies is the emphasis Jeremiah places on personal religion.
Two key passages to look at:
Jeremiah 7:23-24 – “But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’ Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but followed the counsels and the dictates
of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward.”
Jeremiah 8:11-12 – “For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of My people slightly, saying, Peace, peace! When there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed, nor did they know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; in the time of their punishment they shall be cast down, says the LORD.”
Jeremiah 31 is a key chapter because it holds all the wonderful promises amid all the judgment and condemnation. Even though Judah has broken the covenants of her great King, God will make a new covenant when He will “put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts: and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” Jeremiah 31:33 The Messiah instituted that new covenant with His death and resurrection. Matthew 26:26-29
Observations about Jeremiah
1. The Book of Jeremiah is the prophecy of a man divinely called in his youth from the priest-city of Anathoth.
2. A heartbroken prophet with a heartbreaking message, Jeremiah labors for more than forty years proclaiming a message of doom to the stiff-necked people of Judah.
3. Despised and persecuted by his countrymen, Jeremiah bathes his harsh prophecies in tears of compassion.
4. His broken heart cause him to write a broken book.
5. The Book of Jeremiah is difficult to arrange chronologically or topically.
There were three stages in Jeremiah’s ministry
a. 1st – From 627 to 650 B.C. he prophesied while Judah as threatened by Assyria and Egypt.
b. 2nd – From 605 to 586 B.C. he proclaimed God’s judgment while Judah was threatened and besieged by Babylon.
c. 3rd – From 586 to about 580 B.C. he ministered in Jerusalem and Egypt after Judah’s downfall.
In the Book of Jeremiah, God is seen as patient and holy. He delays judgment and appeals to His people to repent before it is too late. As the object lesson at the potter’s house demonstrates, a ruined vessel can be repaired while still wet (18:1-4): but once dried, a marred vessel is fit for the garbage heap (19:10-11).
God’s warning is clear: Judah’s time for repentance will soon pass. Because they defy God’s words and refuse to repent, the Babylonian captivity is inevitable.
Jeremiah lists the moral and spiritual causes for this coming catastrophe, but also proclaims God’s gracious promise of hope and restoration.
1. There will always be a remnant.
2. God will establish a new covenant.
Jeremiah is a record of the ministry of one of Judah’s greatest prophets during its darkest days. He is called as a prophet during the reign of Josiah, the last of Judah’s good longs. But even Josiah’s well-intentioned reforms cannot stem the tide of apostasy. The downhill slide of the nation continues virtually unabated through a succession of four godless kings during Jeremiah’s ministry. The people wallow in apostasy and idolatry and grow even more treacherous than
Israel was before its captivity (3:11). They pervert the worship of the true God and give themselves over to spiritual and moral decay. Because they refuse to repent or even listen to God’s prophet, the divine cure requires radical surgery.
Jeremiah proclaims an approaching avalanche of judgment. Babylon will be God’s instrument of judgment. For forty years Jeremiah faithfully proclaims the divine condemnation of rebellious Judah.
His efforts are rewarded with opposition, beatings, isolations, and imprisonment. His sympathy and sensitivity cause him to grieve over the rebelliousness and imminent doom of his nation. Because of the harshness of his message and its reception, he often desires to resign from his prophetic office. Nonetheless, he preserves to Judah’s bitter end.
Jeremiah is the weeping prophet. (9:1; 13:17) He is lonely, rejected, and persecuted.
The basic message of Jeremiah is clear:
1. Surrender to God is the only way to escape calamity.
2. Judgment cannot be halted, but promises of restoration are sprinkled throughout the book.
The book has four divisions
Jeremiah is called and sanctified before birth to be God’s prophet.
Jeremiah 1:9-10 – “Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me: Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.”
Jeremiah’s message is communicated through a variety of parables, sermons, and object lessons. In a series of twelve graphic messages, Jeremiah lists the causes of Judah’s coming judgment. The gentile nations are more faithful to their false gods than Judah is to the true God. The people are condemned for their empty profession, disobedience to God’s covenant, and spiritual harlotry. They have become corrupt and useless.
Jeremiah offers a confession for the people, but their sin is too great. The prophet can only lament for them.
As a sign of imminent judgment, Jeremiah is forbidden to marry and is forbidden to participate in the feasts.
Because the nation does not trust God or keep the Sabbath, the land will receive a Sabbath rest when they are in captivity. Jerusalem will be invaded and the rulers and the people will be deported to Babylon.
Jeremiah announces the duration of the captivity as being seventy years, in contrast to the messages of the false prophets who insist it will not happen.
Because of his message (2:25), Jeremiah suffers misery and opposition (26-45). He is rejected by the prophets and priests as they call for his death. He is spared by the elders and officials. Since he is no longer allowed in the temple, he sends his assistant Baruch to read his prophetic warnings. His scroll is burned by Jehoiakim and he is put in prison. After the destruction of Jerusalem, Jeremiah is taken to Egypt by fleeing Jews. He prophecies that Nebuchadnezzar will invade Egypt as well.
These chapters are a series of prophetic oracles against nine nations:
6. Damascus (Syria)
Three of the nine are given a promise of restoration:
Jeremiah’s forty-year declaration of doom was finally vindicated in an event so significant that it is recorded in detail four time in the Bible.
The event has to do with Jerusalem being captured, destroyed. and plundered. The leaders are killed and the captives taken to Babylon.
The four records of these events are:
a. II Kings 25
b. II Chronicles 36
c. Jeremiah 39
d. Jeremiah 52