A BRIEF LOOK AT THE BOOK OF JEREMIAH
The prophet Jeremiah was the bad news bearer. His message was intended primarily to warn Judah’s people, who were living in the Israel’s southern kingdom, and Jerusalem that if they continued to live by defying God’s truth and refused to ask forgiveness for their wickedness, their destruction as a nation was inevitable. However, despite the bad news, Jeremiah also pointed to a wonderful new future hope. God would send His good shepherd, Messiah Yeshua, to lead his people into a new relationship with himself.
King Josiah’s reformation failed because the people’s repentance was shallow. They continued in their selfishness and idol worship. All the leaders rejected God’s law and will for the people. Jeremiah lists all their sins, predicts God’s judgment, and begs for repentance. Judah’s deterioration and disaster came from the people’s callous disregard and disobedience to God. When we ignore sin and refuse to listen to God’s warning, we invite disaster and failure into our lives. Don’t settle for half measures in removing sin because there are no short cuts with God.
Because of sin, Jerusalem was destroyed, the Temple was ruined, and the people were captured and carried off to Babylon. The people were responsible for their destruction and captivity because they refused to listen to God’s message. Un-confessed sin brings God’s full punishment. It is useless to blame anyone else for our sin; we are accountable to God before anyone else. We must answer to him for how we live.
God is the righteous Creator. He is accountable to no one but himself. He wisely and lovingly directs all creation to fulfill his plans, and he brings events to pass according to his timetable. He is Lord over all the world. Because of God’s majestic power and love, our only duty is to submit to his authority. By following his plans, not our own, we can have a loving relationship with him and serve him with our whole heart.
Jeremiah predicted that after the nation’s destruction, God would send a new shepherd, Messiah Yeshua. He would lead them into a new future, a new covenant, and a new hopeful day. He will accomplish this by changing their sinful hearts into hearts that love God. God still transforms people by changing their hearts. His love can eliminate the problems created by transgression. We can have a new heart assurance by loving God and trusting Messiah Yeshua to save us by repenting of our transgression.
Jeremiah served God faithfully for 40 years. During that time the people ignored, rejected, and persecuted him. Jeremiah’s preaching was unsuccessful by human standards, yet he did not fail in his task. He remained faithful to God. People’s acceptance or rejection of us is not the measure of our success. God’s approval alone should be our standard for service. We must bring God’s message to others even when we are rejected. We must do God’s work even if it means suffering for it.
SUMMARY OF JEREMIAH’S MESSAGE
Jeremiah’s message was the most unwanted prophecy ever delivered to a people. He was called a traitor by many because he said that they were to yield to Babylon. Isaiah, almost a century before him, had said to resist. Why this transformation? In Jeremiah’s day surrender was the only thing left to do. In the economy of God the nation was through, and the “Gentiles Times” had already begun with Babylon, the head of gold. Jeremiah predicted the 70-year captivity in Babylon. However, he saw beyond the darkness to the light, and few prophets spoke as vividly of the future as did he. Jeremiah’s message was not only unwelcomed, but it was rejected by the nation.
Today, the United States of American appears to be headed in the same direction as ancient Israel did during Jeremiah’s generation. When America ignores sin and refuse to listen to God’s warning, this nation will invite disaster and failure upon the population. A
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