Things looked bad. The nation of Israel had enjoyed a few years of peace and prosperity under King Josiah when his reforms turned the nation back to the worship of God. But that was then (640-609 BC) and this was now (598 BC) and everything had changed. One king after another (four to be exact) had failed miserably both with God and the people. Now the judgment of God was near and one man in Israel knew it – the prophet Jeremiah.
He had not wanted the job and complained to God about His choice. Jeremiah was born into the priesthood and that position held security and honor. But a prophet was often hated and some had even lost their lives. But God chose Jeremiah to be His mouthpiece and to proclaim to a people who would not listen that soon, because of their rebellion, the nation would be conquered by the Babylonians. It wasn’t going to be pretty…not for the nation nor for Jeremiah.
In the end after 40 years of faithful preaching, much of that time being rejected, mocked and brutally treated, Jeremiah’s prophesies were fulfilled. Thousands died from famine, pestilence and the sword. In 586 BC the Babylonians breached the wall and Jerusalem was destroyed. Most of those who were still alive were exiled. God had sent hope through Jeremiah but the people chose their own path to their destruction.
The book of Jeremiah reveals the inner struggles of a prophet of God. Jeremiah wrestled with the burden of his calling, his love for a rebellious people and his devotion to God and yet through it all he remained faithful to God and to his calling.
1. As Christians we also have a message of life or death. (Roman’s 1:16) What stops you from proclaiming that message with truth and love?
2. As you read Jeremiah, were there times when his attitude might reflect yours?
3. Jeremiah was called the weeping prophet. Why do you think he deserved that name? How would you have responded if you had been in his situation?
4. Does your love for people outweigh your fear of telling them about Jesus?