Which fourteen-year-old boy in your church can you envision preaching and being God’s Mouthpiece? That was the age Jeremiah began his prophetic work. He then proceeded to speak to a nation who would not listen for the next 40 years.
He has been called the “weeping prophet” because of the times in his book he sheds tears. Jeremiah prophesied while his nation tottered on the bring of captivity.
Jeremiah certainly lived one of the most dramatic lives in the Bible. It appears he never learned to like his role. He was reluctant and unhappy with the job God asked him to do.
God chose him before he was even born, while he was still in his mother’s womb. His assignment was to be over nations, to root out, to tear down, to build and to plant. The only resource he had to accomplish this task was his mouth. His response? “Ah Lord God, I cannot speak, for I am a child” (1.6), and he was! He was only 14 years old!
He was given the unusual directive that he could never marry, never attend a happy event or a sad event. He was not to experience any human emotion so he would never be confused as to what he felt. He felt what God felt!
For forty years Jeremiah gave the nation’s leaders messages they did not want to hear. They arrested him, they imprisoned him, and they almost killed him.
Jeremiah hung on.
He let them know that the Babylonians were coming and would carry them into captivity. He warned them that alliances with powers like Egypt would not do any good. They ignored him and he pressed on anyway. Jeremiah made it clear, Judah’s only hope was to renew their relationship with the living God.
Jeremiah does not impress us like Isaiah. His book is not poetic or beautiful in imagery. The power of the book comes entirely from the insight of this prophet’s mind.
He was living a nightmare and that nightmare was coming true.
The nation was going under!
No person in the Bible shows their feelings like Jeremiah. He quarreled with God. He told God he wished he were dead. He accused God of being unreliable. And yet, he stood, never wavering! No relationship in the Bible speaks more to me of what it means to serve God. He continued to follow God no matter what.
I am sure he tired of the ridicule. He continued to stand alone against the crowd. He spoke dark things in dark times. His message was not wanted or popular. In the end his message proved true.
He stands greater and more important to the kingdom of God than the very Kings who detested him.
The book of Jeremiah is an anthology of prophecies given at different times. It jumps back and forth and is not in any chronological order. It is a glimpse into the troubled mind of a man trying to warn a drowning nation.
300 years before the nation had been split into two nations with the civil war. Israel and Judah had existed side by side for 200 years. Then, 100 years before, the northern nation had been carried away into captivity into Assyria never to be heard from again. He was seeing deja vu for Judah. This time mighty Babylon was breathing down their neck and invasion was imminent.
Bullet points for Jeremiah:
- Prophesied during 5 kings
- Lived through the Babylonian invasion
- Contempories were Zephaniah and Habakkuk
- He was forbidden to marry
- He was forbidden to go to any social meetings, happy or sad
- His book has no particular order
- He was called at 14 years old and preached for 40 years
- Tradition says he was stoned in Egypt at the end of his life
- He was the first person to speak of 70 years, then Daniel picked it up
- Never liked his role but he obeyed
- His only weapon was his voice
- He was one man against a surging mass going in the opposite direction
- He quarreled with God and told God he wished he were dead (20.14-18)
- Accused God of being unreliable (15.18)
- Had no social life (16.8)
Some of his memorable messages:
- Broken cisterns
- Potters house (18)
- Rechabites (35)
- The miry clay
- The buried sash
- The smashed pot
- Purchasing land for the return after the exile
His supreme contribution:
It is my opinion that Jeremiah gives us the high point of the Old Testament. In chapter 31 he gives the turning point after 1000 years of failure as a nation.
God wrote the law on tables of stone and the nation never was able to fulfill their destiny. It was smoke, ashes, debris, and failure. It was time for the second edition to be written!
Abraham was called in 1921 BC. The children of Israel entered Canaan in 1451 BC. It had been 1300 years since Abraham’s call and 800 years since they crossed the Jordan. The judges, the kings, the prophets, had all proved unable to stem to tide.
God called a fourteen-year-old boy. God quarantined him from social events, and gave him the New Covenant!
1000 years of history flowed into this young boy’s heart. From that river flowed out the New Covenant that is the foundation of the New Testament.
This time God would write it not on tables of stone, but on their hearts. Jeremiah chapter 31 becomes the foundation of all the teachings of Jesus and the Apostle Paul.
It is an incredible story of an incredible man, used by God.
It is the story of a 14 year old boy who lived a lifelong nightmare!
Thanks for stopping by today.