A Devotional Journey
led by Dr. Gene Pearson
Thru the Bible in a Year
Jeremiah gives the most personal insight to the life and emotions of a prophet of any Old Testament book. His work covers the period between 626 B.C. and 586. Habakkuk, Obadiah and, from Babylon (about 593 B.C.) Ezekiel were his contemporaries and he followed the prophet Zephaniah. According to tradition, after the Babylonian exile, Jeremiah moved to Egypt where he was eventually stoned to death for his outspoken beliefs.
Jeremiah was a priest and being from the village of Anathoth, he may have been in the line of Abiathar, who served in the time of King Solomon (see 1 Kings 2:26). He was commanded by God not to marry because of the coming judgment (Jeremiah 16:1-4), and appears to have had few close friends beyond his companion and secretary, Baruch (see 36:4-32; also, 26:24, 29:14, 38:7-13). In several places, this prophet shares his deepest feelings about his life and relationship with God (11:18-23; 12:1-4; 15:10-21; 17:12-18; 18:18-23; 20:7-18; see especially 12:1 and 15:18).
This book is the longest in the Bible (in its number of words) and contains beautifully written prose, poetry and imagery.
The call of Jeremiah begins this book. The dialogue between an insecure young man and Almighty God is realistic and powerful, and two immediate prophetic visions serve to support its validity.
Chapter 2:1 through 6:30 contain Jeremiah's earliest prophesies presented during the rule of King Josiah of Judah. The subject is Judah's rebellion against God and His coming judgment which will involve invasion by a foreign nation. A key summary comes in 5:30 and 6:17: A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. . . . I appointed watchmen over you and said,
'Listen to the sound of the trumpet!' But you said, 'We will not listen.'
Have you ever reflected on what God wants to do with your life? Whatever you have accomplished, whatever you are capable of doing, God has His own ideas about how we may be useful to His plan. Jeremiah discovered young what God wanted form his life; he pursued that direction and was used in significant ways. In the New Testament we learn that God intends for each of us to be involved in His plans (see 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4). Ask some mature Christian whose opinion you trust to give you his/her impression of your gifts and how you might be most useful to God (you could also take a course at your church or read one of the many Christian books on this subject).
Another approach is to get involved in the work of Christ's Church and see how God uses you best. Whatever means you use to discover your gift(s), start serving God with them. You do not have to be a prophet to be called by God!
© A. Eugene Pearson 2010