The book of Jeremiah is the second of the four "major" prophets
and it contains 52 chapters.
Jeremiah, son of Hilkiah, was a priest who lived during the
reigns of Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiachin and Zedekiah, Kings
of Judah about 628-583 BC. This was about 70 years after Isaiah
when Babylon threatened to overrun Judah.
God directly inspired Jeremiah. He was young when God called
him and he did not want to be a prophet but he later said
that even if he decided not to prophesy, God's Word could
not be resisted (20:9).
God chose Jeremiah to speak about His judgements, which were
to come about on all nations (1:10) and especially on Judah
and Jerusalem (1:18). He had to tell the Jews to submit to
Babylon, as it was God's way of trying to teach them. For
preaching such a message, Jeremiah was cast into a muddy dungeon
and left to die (38:6).
So much of Jeremiah's prophecy had to be about God's judgements
that he is often spoken of as a miserable prophet. In fact,
some people use the word "Jeremiah" to mean a pessimist, one
who always looks on the black side.
Jeremiah was right. Babylon did overthrow Judah and Egypt
and the other nations. But those, who like Jeremiah, believed
God, were spared even though they were in captivity.
Jeremiah did not only prophesy doom. He spoke of the
time when God would restore Israel:
(a) After 70 years in Babylon (25:11-12)
(b) After centuries of scattering and persecution throughout
the world (chapters 31-33).
God speaks of Himself as being like a potter - with complete
control over what He makes (18:6). He is able to mould His
people into shape, if they will let Him. On the other hand,
He will destroy those who become so hardened that they cannot
be changed (19:11,15).
God's Prophecies Fulfilled:
· After 70 years in Babylon some of the Jews returned as
predicted (see Ezra 1:1; Daniel 9:2).
· In our own era, after centuries of scattering and persecution
worldwide, the Jews have been returning to the Land of Israel,
as was foretold.
· In 1917 the Balfour Declaration promised Palestine (then
under Turkish rule) as a national homeland for the Jews.
· In 1948 the State of Israel was proclaimed; and in 1967
Jerusalem was unified as its capital city (see Luke 21:24).
Jeremiah's prophesying placed him in great personal danger
from his own countrymen. His experiences were rather like
those of Jesus, who was rejected by his countrymen. Jesus
has been raised from the dead, like Jeremiah was brought out
of the pit. He is still alive and his words will come true.