TODAY’S READING: JEREMIAH 1-4
God’s call of Jeremiah (1:1-19); God’s explanation that Israel was an unfaithful spouse (2:1-3:5); God’s explanation that there was still time for Israel to repent (3:6-4:4); God’s warning of judgment for refusing to repent (4:5-31).
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
As mentioned in the “Introduction,” Jeremiah details in verses 2 and 3 of chapter one that the period in which he prophesied was approximately between 627-587 B.C. His ministry spanned from Judah’s last RIGHTEOUS king (Josiah; 640-609 B.C.) to Judah’s last ACTUAL king (Zedekiah; 597-587 B.C.). Verse 3 lets us know that Jeremiah lived to see Jerusalem destroyed by the Babylonians, an event he both prophesied and lamented.
God’s call upon Jeremiah as it is revealed in chapter one forever settles the question of when life begins. The Bible is very clear that life begins before our actual birth (Jer. 1:5; Psalm 139:14-15), and continues on after our actual death (Heb. 9:27)! God tells Jeremiah that a whole lot had taken place concerning him even before He formed him in his mother’s womb: He “knew” him; He “sanctified” him; and “ordained” him to be “a prophet unto the nations.” The same thing could be said about God’s purposes for your life!
Much as in the case of God’s call upon Moses (Ex. 3:11), Jeremiah’s initial response was to focus on his own inadequacies and inabilities. God tells Jeremiah, as He did Moses (Ex. 3:14), that His call upon his life wasn’t about who Jeremiah was, but who He was! He tells Jeremiah: “I’ll send you; I’ll tell you what to say; when the people don’t like it, I’ll deliver you; I’ll put my words in your mouth, because I have set you over the nations and the kingdoms” (1:7-10).
God tells Jeremiah that his actual ministry would be six-fold: 1) “to root out” 2) “to pull down” 3)”to destroy” 4) “to throw down” 5) “to build” 6) “to plant.” Interestingly, two-thirds of Jeremiah’s ministry was intended by God to be negative. Perhaps this is a good time to make sure we understand what a “prophet” was actually being called to do. Basically, we could say that a prophet in the Bible was a man that God raised up to take God’s side against the people who had turned away from him. Obviously, there were other implications, but that’s it in a nutshell. It is not much different than what God intends for a New Testament preacher. In fact, it is interesting to note that two-thirds of the ministry of a preacher of the Word of God, God intends to be negative! God said through Paul in II Timothy 4:2, that a preacher of the Word must “reprove” (negative), “rebuke” (negative) and “exhort” (positive) “with all longsuffering and doctrine.” No wonder Jeremiah !
had it so tough in his day, and no wonder those who “preach the Word” have it so tough in our day (Rev. 3:14-22)! In Laodicea, just as in Jeremiah’s day, God’s side isn’t a whole lot like His people’s side! In fact, Jesus said it’s the exact opposite! “Because thou sayest (here’s what we think about ourselves), I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not (here’s what Jesus says is really true of ourselves) that thou are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:17).
Notice in 1:17-19, God didn’t tell Jeremiah that his task would be easy, in fact, He warned that it could be very intimidating (“be not dismayed at their faces” – 1:17), and that it would be a constant battle (“they shall fight against thee” – 1:19). Amidst the difficulty, however, God commanded Jeremiah to “suck it up” (i.e. “gird up thy loins” – 1:17), and promised His abiding presence and power. (“I am with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee” – 1:19). How much difficulty and adversity could you endure in your mission with a promise like that? Check out God’s promise to us in our mission in Matthew 28:18-20. Jesus said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. God ye THEREFORE (And, implied is that He is going to empower us with His power!), … and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world”!
In chapter 2 and through 3:5, God has some incredibly strong things to say to Jeremiah about His people. He even likens them to an unfaithful, adulterous spouse, in contrast to God’s constant faithfulness and goodness to them. He tells Jeremiah (2:1-3) that Israel had forgotten her devotion to Him in her “youth” (when God had first delivered them out of Egypt – i.e. her “first love” – Rev. 2:4); that she had become ungrateful (2:4-8); had changed her God (2:9-13); had ignored God’s discipline (2:14-19); had denied any wrongdoing (2:20-28); had mistreated the poor (2:29-37); and had been sleeping around (3:1-5).
In spite of her sin, however, God tells Jeremiah that He is merciful, and that He is willing to forgive her if she will simply return to Him, and put away her other lovers (3:6-4:4). What a God!
In 4:5-31, God tells Jeremiah that though Israel has time to repent, He is only providing a window of time to do so. He warns that if they refuse to return to Him, He will send an army to annihilate their nation.
SPECIFIC REFERENCES TO “THE DAY OF THE LORD”:
3:16 – “in those days” (specifically, the Tribulation Period)
3:17 – “At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord”
3:18 –“in those days” (specifically, the Tribulation Period)
4:9 – “at that day”
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
As THE FOUNTAIN OF LIVING WATERS – Jeremiah 2:13 (John 7:37, 4:1-26).