Growing in Christ
"He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures." Luke 24:45
Links to observations drawn from other books of the Bible
Background: Jeremiah's name means "the Lord establishes." Jeremiah received his call while "a youth" (Jer. 1:6) and ministered faithfully, and largely unfruitfully, for over 40 years (627-585 BC). When Jeremiah began to call Judah back to the Lord and warn of pending punishment for its apostasy, Judah was comparatively prosperous, free and secure. Judah's leaders continued to reject Jeremiah's warning through the rise of Babylon and Babylon's final breaching of Jerusalem's walls and exile of it's most prominent people.
Jeremiah, like Jesus, wept over Jerusalem. Yet, Jerusalem's hardness of heart remained firm. Jeremiah himself was taken to Egypt (against his will) by a remnant left in the land as the Babylonians withdrew, where Jeremiah died (in oral tradition by stoning at the hands of his countrymen weary of a message they refused to heed).
If you are able to access a copy, the NLT provides an excellent introduction to Jeremiah, as do many other translations. (Those who purchase the NLT have access to the introduction online: http://www.nltstudybible.com/02_Online/viewarticle.asp?typename=BookIntro&shortname=Jer-Intro.)
Practical and Pastoral Observations on the Book of Jeremiah (please read each chapter slowly and meditatively, taking personal notes, before reading observations below):
A Purpose for Every Life: God's plan for Jeremiah's service of the Kingdom is formed before his birth (v.5) and God's call to obey (v.7) comes to Jeremiah while still young (v.6), probably in his teens.
Sustained by God: See how God sustains Jeremiah in his call
1.) the Word of God is put into Jeremiah's mouth (v.9) and continued to come to Jeremiah from 627 BC (v.2) through 586 BC (v.3) without fail,
2.) God knew there would be violent opposition to His message and messenger but promised to protect Jeremiah as a fortified city (v.18), to be with and deliver him (v.8, 19), and
3.) promised to watch over the Word He gave to Jeremiah and bring it to pass (v.12).
Jeremiah as royal messenger: In the ancient near east messengers representing their King and were sometimes abused by those rejecting the message. Jeremiah knew this. Yet the cost of fearing man more than fearing God is a very bad exchange (v.17). Therefore Jeremiah remained a faithful messenger to the end, knowing the Lord's promise: "I am watching over my Word to perform it" (v.12).
Stuff: People are prone to "worship the works of their own hands" (v.16), whether homes, car, clothes or technology. This is no different than the ancients worshipping idols fashioned by their own hands. It may be for this reason some Christians have resisted even the idea of private property (despite the fact ownership tends to produce better care of it.)
My Practical Response: I will embrace God's calling on my life until I have fully fulfilled His purpose for me (Acts 13:36). I will hold lightly the "works of my own hands" (possessions, education and achievements) and hold absolute allegiance to the King of the rulers of the earth.
My Prayer: I will go everywhere You send and speak all You
command. Lord, give me ears to hear your voice.