The Book of Jeremiah is the prophecy of a man divinely called in his youth from the priest-city of Anathoth. Jeremiah labors for more than forty years proclaiming a message of doom to the stiff-necked people of Judah, but through his sermons and signs he faithfully declares that surrender to God’s will is the only way to escape calamity.
Because God’s people refuse to repent, the Babylonian captivity is inevitable. Jeremiah lists the moral and spiritual causes for their coming catastrophe, but he also proclaims God’s gracious promise of hope and restoration. There will always be a remnant, and God will establish a new covenant.
Verse 1 – The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin,
Verse 2 – to whom the word of the Lord came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign.
God’s word came to Jeremiah over many years, ending with the Babylonian exile. After the death of Solomon, Israel split into a northern and southern kingdom. The northern, Israel, and the southern, Judah.
Jeremiah lived during the last five kings of Judah. As Babylon, Egypt, and Assyria battle for world supremacy, Judah was caught in the middle. Although Jeremiah prophesied 40 years, he never saw his people heed his words and turn from their sin.
Verse 3 – It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month.
Verse 4 – Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying”
Verse 5 – “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; and I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
If you ever feel discouraged or inadequate, remember this: Our Creator knew you before you were ever conceived in the womb! Each child of His is set apart for His glory. Each one has a specific calling on their life to do God’s will and He will see to it that it is accomplished!
Verse 6 – Then said I: “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.”
Remember when Moses said he couldn’t speak for God because he stammered? Some will find all kinds of excuses to not do what God calls them to do. However, if God says you can be His spokes person, then He must know that “You can do it!”
Verse 7 – But the Lord said to me: “Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Verse 8 – Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you,” says the Lord.
Quit often God will challenge us to get out of our “comfort zone.” We’ll make every excuse we can think of as to why we can’t do what the Lord has asked. But because the Lord goes with us, there is no need to be afraid. We are not responsible for the consequences when being obedient to God, He is. When God gives us an assignment He will provide everything we need to fulfill it!
Verse 9 – Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me: “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.
Verse 10 – See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant.”
Jeremiah’s job was not only to warn the Jews, but all the nations about God’s judgment of sin.
Verse 11 – Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see a branch of an almond tree.”
Verse 12 – Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am ready to perform My word.”
The vision of the branch of the Almond tree revealed the beginning of God’s judgement because the Almond tree is among the first to blossom in the spring. God’s judgement would come upon Judah speedily. Keep in mind: Isaiah prophesied to them of God’s coming judgment for almost a hundred years before Jeremiah started. “They weren’t listening!”
Verse 13 – And the word of the Lord came to me a second time, saying, “What do you see?” and I said, “I see a boiling pot, and it is facing away from the north.”
Verse 14 – The Lord said to me; “Out of the north calamity shall break forth on all inhabitants of the land.
Verse 15 – For behold, I am calling all the families of the kingdom of the north,” says the Lord; “They shall come and each one set his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, against all its walls all around, and against all the cities of Judah.
Verse 16 – I will utter My judgments against them concerning all their wickedness, because they have forsaken Me, burned incense to other gods, and worshiped the works of their own hands.
The people of Judah continued to worship, make sacrifices, and burn incense to other gods, which was forbidden in Exodus 20:3-6.
Verse 17 – Therefor prepare yourself and arise, and speak to them all that I command you. Do not be dismayed before their faces, lest I dismay you before them.
Verse 18 – For behold, I have made you this day a fortified city and an iron pillar, and bronze walls against the whole land-against the kings of Judah. Against its princes, against priests, and against the people of the land.
verse 19 – They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you. For I am with you,” says the Lord, “to deliver you.”
Jeremiah was given 3 commands: (1) stand up, (2) tell them everything I command you, and (3) do not be intimidated by them. The prophet was not to speak out of his own thoughts. God would make the prophet as strong as iron pillars, resistant.