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“See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” Jeremiah 1:10
Jeremiah was a priest who became a prophet. He began his work during the reign of good king Josiah, a reformer who died too soon and was unable to turn his people back to God. Jeremiah then faced increasing opposition from faithless leaders and a nation unwilling to change. He proclaimed God’s word for 40 years culminating at the time of Jerusalem’s destruction. His message of judgment was fully realized in history, giving great confidence that his promises of restoration would also come true.
- 627 Jeremiah’s ministry begins, Josiah is king
- 622 Book of the Law discovered and reforms accelerate
- 609 Josiah dies in battle and reforms end
- 608 Jehoiakim becomes king
- 605 Nebuchadnezzar rules Babylon, which invades Judah and makes it a vassal of Babylon
- 598 Jehoiachin becomes king but is taken as prisoner to Babylon
- 597 Zedekiah becomes king
- 586 Jerusalem destroyed by Babylon
- 585 Governor Gedaliah killed and Jeremiah taken to Egypt
The first 24 chapters of Jeremiah are full of warning for the people of Judah. Jeremiah gives a series of sermons that accuse the nation of breaking covenant with God, worshiping idols, and failing in their responsibilities as leaders. The sermons are not given in chronological order but jump back and forth through the years leading up to Jerusalem’s destruction.
“ ‘Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, “We are safe”—safe to do all these detestable things? Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the Lord.’ ” Jeremiah 7:9-11
Then, in Chapter 25, Judah’s world changes as Nebuchadnezzer takes the throne in Babylon. In the Babylonian king’s first year Jeremiah proclaims that Judah’s time for repentance is over. Had they repented, they could have been reshaped as a potter reshapes a marred piece of clay (Chapter 18). Instead, like a hardened pot that cannot be mended they are bound to be broken (Chapter 19). Jeremiah urges the people to take up the yoke of subjugation under Babylon, but they refuse even this advice (Chapter 27).
Therefore the Lord Almighty says this: “Because you have not listened to my words, I will summon all the peoples of the north and my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon,” declares the Lord, “and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants and against all the surrounding nations. I will completely destroy them and make them an object of horror and scorn, and an everlasting ruin. I will banish from them the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, the sound of millstones and the light of the lamp. This whole country will become a desolate wasteland, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” Jeremiah 25:8-11
Jeremiah will still speak words of hope, but the last half of the book is mainly about judgment and instead of sermons we will read many reports of the harsh treatment the prophet suffered as he faithfully spoke God’s message.
About this blog
During 2020 I plan to post weekly writings covering the material you would read during each week as you proceed from Genesis to Revelation in one year. And so for this week I have covered Jeremiah 4-29. Next week I will write about Jeremiah 30-50. I hope you will continue along with me. You can find daily posts about these chapters archived here on the Bible in a Year blog. For your convenience here are the previous posts covering Jeremiah 4-29.