Sunday, August 1, 2010

Introduction to Jeremiah

Jeremiah was certainly one of the greatest men in human history. There was nothing this man wouldn't do for God, no words of rebuke or insult, no threats or warnings, no persecutions or personal harm could keep him from declaring whatever message Jehovah wanted preached. Over and over and over again, as recorded in his book, he was in some trouble with the Jewish authorities, but that never stopped him from telling the people what God wanted them to hear. The man was fearless and totally loyal to Jehovah--and yet, had as tender a heart as anyone in Scripture (read his book of Lamentations). He put himself at the Lord's disposal, and God used him to the fullest, and apparently until a ripe old age. Jeremiah was probably around 90 when he finally died, having prophesied at least 50 years, through the most troublesome times in Judah's history.

He began his work in the thirteenth year of Josiah's reign (628 B.C.). Josiah was probably the second greatest monarch Israel ever had (after David), but his reign was cut short by his untimely death in an ill-advised campaign against the Egyptians. To Jeremiah, Josiah's death was a national catastrophe (II Chron. 35:25).

Yet, even during Josiah's reign, the Lord knew that the people, as a whole, were far from pious. Thus, Jeremiah's message was a strong denunciation of the idolatry and hypocrisy of Judah. And, as noted, it got him frequently in trouble. And ultimately did little good, for the country ended up in Babylonian captivity. But it was in spite of everything this man did for them.

There is a lot of information in the book about Jeremiah, and we will consider more of his biography and the events of his life as we proceed through his prophecy. But, to be honest, this man is one of my heroes. Jesus excepted, of course, there is perhaps no one in the Bible I admire more than Jeremiah. The apostle Paul is certainly to be respected and loved for the great work he did. Amos, the unprofessional prophet, can only be lauded for his fearless preaching to a carnal, worldly people. And Jeremiah ranks right up there with them for his unceasing, sacrificial devotion to the Almighty. Oh, if this world only had more men like him!

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