Jeremiah’s fifty-year prophetic career is astounding. He lives in an era when Judah experiences threats from Assyria, Egypt and Babylon. He ministers under the reigns of five kings of Judah. He sees both Assyria and Egypt defeated by a new superpower and he becomes an exile during the Babylonian captivity. His work is contemporaneous with the prophets Nahum, Zephaniah, Habakkuk, Daniel, and Ezekiel.

Four centuries earlier, Solomon erected shrines to false gods. Idolatry has proven disastrous for the nation. Sins include apostasy, idolatry, moral depravity, and hypocrisy. Superficial reforms can not avert God’s judgment. Radical spiritual surgery is inevitable and Babylon was God’s sharp instrument.

Jeremiah’s book divides itself into three parts. In the first 33 chapters, Judah is in focus and prophecies center on the impending fall of Jerusalem. In the next segment, surrounding nations are prophesied against during the fall of Jerusalem (Ch. 34-45). The final chapters center on prophecies regarding Babylon after the fall of Jerusalem.

Jeremiah has a zero-tolerance policy concerning the religious bigots of his day. He preaches to princes, paupers, kings, servants and beggars. Jeremiah reveals the true character of the nation, but as a result suffers severe opposition. He is persecuted, ridiculed, cursed, betrayed, threatened, ignored, rejected, starved, beaten, and imprisoned.

Conflict is the watchword of Jeremiah’s career. His own home town turns against him. A coalition of priests and false prophets charge him with blasphemy. He is branded as a traitor. People plan to kill him. The prophet is put in the stocks and publicly humiliated. He is left to die in a muddy cistern. But through it all, Jeremiah never compromises. He continues to prophesy through times of great national and personal stress. The prophet is always faithful, but is never pictured as joyful. Although tempted to give up his mission, he never does.

Jeremiah’s messages are marked by a hatred of social injustices, idolatry, and false prophecy. He is a selfless man of faith, courage, and prayer. The prophet is a heart-broken man with a heart-breaking message - willing to suffer for and with his people. He is gentle, meek, patient, compassionate, honest, and devoted to his ministry. The prophet is used by Jehovah to analyze men’s motives and actions. Knowing the nation is doomed and that exile is inevitable, he is optimistic and certain God will be victorious.

The personality of “the weeping prophet” does not match his task, for he is a timid person with bold words to share. He has great empathy for the people’s sufferings, but knows their wounds are self-inflicted. He is called to predict the downfall of his own nation and the divine imperative prompts him to preach a straightforward message. However, his speeches are sprinkled with the messianic hope of a better future. During the darkest days of Judah, the brightest star shining is Jeremiah.


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