The prophet Jeremiah, whose name means "God (Yahweh) establishes (or exalts)", was a priest living in a little town, Anathoth, in the tribe of Benjamin, not far from Jerusalem. Born about 65O B.C. he exercised his prophetic ministry from 629 B.C. until the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.
1. Jeremiah is a young man, probably in his early twenties, and as reluctant to become Gods spokesman as Moses before him. But he had no doubt that his message was from God. "The word of the Lord came to me" runs as a refrain throughout the book, from first to last. Jeremiah 1:1-19.
GOD SPEAKS TO JUDAH AND JERUSALEM.
1. God charges his people with unfaithfulness. The heathen nations
are at least loyal to their idols. Not so the people of the living God. Their offence is
set before them. Like a wife turned prostitute, the nation has run after foreign gods.
Jeremiah 2:1-37 & 3:1-10.
2. Even now the Lord will save his people if they repent. He will bring them back from exile. Jeremiah 3:11-25 & 4:1-4.
3. Destruction and devastation are about to fall on Judah. Jeremiah is given a preview on the nations collapse which fills him with horror. Jeremiah 4:5-31.
4. God searches in vain for a vestige of truth and justice among his people. The nation is steeped in idolatry; happy with a rotten society; untroubled by conscience. God has no option but to punish. Jeremiah 5:1-31
5. All Gods warnings have fallen on deaf ears. His call to men to "walk the good way" has met with refusal. So God has rejected his people and turned them over to the invading armies. Even Jerusalem will be besieged. Jeremiah 6:1-30.
6. The people had a superstitious faith in the temple. They thought that Jerusalem could not fall because of the temple; but they were wrong. God knows what is in peoples hearts; he knows the difference between religious ritual and real religion. Jeremiah 7:1-34 & 8:1-3.
7. The people refuse to repent, and the men of religion aid and abet them with their smooth words. The scribes (professional interpreters of Gods law) the wise men who applied Gods laws to the practical matters of life, prophets and priests, are all alike motivated by self-interest. Jeremiah 8:4-17.
8. Jeremiah shares Gods grief at his peoples sin and its tragic consequences. Society is sick as a direct result of abandoning God and his laws. Jeremiah 8:18-22 & 9:1-26.
9. The idols man creates - no matter how elaborate are lifeless, powerless, motionless, speechless. Not so the God of Israel. Jeremiah 10:1-25.
10. The terms of Gods covenant with his people, made at Sinai, are still in force. By persistent disobedience to Gods law, and by idol-worship, Judah has broken that covenant. Jeremiah 11:1-17.
11. Jeremiahs message aroused such intense anger that men of Anathoth, his home town, were prepared to kill him. The discovery leads Jeremiah to question God about the way evil men get on in the world. In answer God tells him that there is worse to come. Jeremiah 11:18-23 & 12:1-17.
12. God compares the rotting of a loin-cloh with the rot in Judah. Jeremiah got no joy from announcing Gods vengeance. Jeremiah 13:1-27.
13. There is a severe drought. The people once again appeal to God. But God will not listen. Neither will he listen to Jeremiahs pleas that they have been duped by the lies of false prophets. Jeremiah 14:1-22 & 15:1-21.
14. Jeremiah is forbidden to marry. By remaining single, in a society where this was almost unheard of, Jeremiah becomes a living symbol of Gods message. Very soon there will be the most terrible famine and slaughter in Jerusalem. This is no time, no place, to raise a family. Jeremiah 16:1-21.
15. Judahs sin is indelible. Yet God still sets the alternatives before them. If only the people will listen. Disregard for the day of rest is symptomatic of the nations general disobedience. Jeremiah 17:1-27.
16. Like the human potter, God has the right to remould the spoilt nation. More plots against Jeremiah. Jeremiah 18:1-23.
17. Another acted parable. God will break the city and the people as surely and irreparably as the jug which the prophet shatters before their eyes. Jeremiah 19:1-13.
18. Jeremiah in the stocks. With hands and feet made fast he pours out his heart to God. Jeremiah was not thick-skinned. It hurt him to be hated and ridiculed. Jeremiah 19:14-15 & 20:1-18.
1. The date is about 586 B.C. when Judah was involved in her final
struggle with Babylon. King Zedekiah turns to the prophet hoping for a word of comfort.
But none is forthcoming. The only hope lies in surrender. Jeremiah 21:1-14.
2. This prophecy is earlier than the last chapter. King Jehoiakim reigned from 609 to 598 B.C., the year Jerusalem first surrendered to Babylon, and the young king was taken into exile with the first batch of captives. Jeremiah 22:1-30.
3. The government and religious leaders alike receive rebuke. Misrule, and the lies pronounced in Gods name, will not go unpunished. With such a message against men of religion is it not surprising that Jeremiah encountered bitter hatred. Jeremiah 23:1-40.
4. The date is sometime after 597. The exiles are the pick of the bunch of Gods people. (Ezekiel was among these first captives and Daniel had been taken to Babylon earlier still.) And God is shaping a future for them. For those who remain in Judah there is no future. Jeremiah 24:1-10.
5. The year is 605. when Nebuchadnezzar routed the Egyptians. For twenty-three years Jeremiah has been repeating Gods message, and still the people remain unmoved. Now he tells them that the city will fall and they will serve the Babylonians for seventy years. Jeremiah 25:1-38.
6. Jeremiahs life in danger. It was one of those times when it was dangerous to declare the plain truth and Jeremiahs straight speaking almost cost him his life. Jeremiah 26:1-24.
7. It is 597: the Babylonians have taken the first captives from Jerusalem and placed Zedakiah on the throne. Jeremiah walks the streets wearing a wooden yoke in token submission to Babylon. It was not a popular message but time proved the truth of Jeremiahs words. Jeremiah 27:1-22 & 28:1-17.
8. Jeremiahs letter to the exiles. His letters tell them that their exile will last for seventy years then they will return. Even from far away Babylon his enemies make trouble for him. Jeremiah 29:1-32.
1. The promise of a new covenant. Jeremiah looks forward. At the
nations darkest hour God promises his people a future. They will be saved and be
restored. A new covenant will replace the old one. In the short term Jeremiah is referring
to the return from exile - in the long term he is referring to the new covenant of Christ.
Jeremiah 30:1-24 & 31:1-40.
2. Jeremiahs home town is under enemy occupation so, on Gods instructions, he buys land in Jerusalem. Everyone must have got to know of this transaction and it must have given reason for hope in a future for Judah. Nevertheless Jeremiah is puzzled at buying the land. In answer God outlines his immediate, and ulitmate purpose for the nation. Jeremiah 32:1-44.
3. Gods unbreakable promise. The theme is still future restoration. Where God has destroyed, he will rebuild. Joy and prosperity will return. It will happen as surely as night follows day. Jeremiah 33:1-26.
1. The date is 588/7. After receiving Gods message King
Zedekiah issues an order to free all slaves, hoping that this will win Gods favour.
But their owners quickly go back on it, and God condemns them as law breakers. Jeremiah
2. The obedience of the Rechabites. (We are taken back ten years to the earlier siege of Jerusalem). The Rechabites were Bedouin descendants of Jehonadab, who took Gods part against Baal-worshipers (see 2 Kings 10:15-23). Fear of the invading army brings them to the city where their obedience to a pledge made two hundred years before puts the people of God to shame. Jeremiah 35:1-19.
3. A very dramatic biblical occurence. Jeremiah is banned from the temple. But the word of God cannot be stifled. The message is written and is read aloud in the hearing of the people, the rulers and the king himself. The king may burn the scroll but he cannot destroy the message it conveys or prevent its fulfilment. Jeremiah and Baruch write the words again. Jeremiah 36:1-32.
4. The year is 588 B.C. Zedekiah is king. Jeremiahs advice to surrender lands him in deep trouble. He is flung into prison as a traitor. Only through the prompt action of a good friend and the intervention of the king, is his life saved. Zedekiah is anxious to know Gods word but lacks faith and courage to act on it. So Jeremiahs terrible vision becomes reality. But even in the midst of judgement God does not lose sight of individuals - he saves the life of Ebed-Melech. Jeremiah 37:1-21 & 38:1-28.
5. Jerusalem falls - Jeremiahs choice. Gods warnings finally give way to judgement and Jeremiah is the only man to have any say in his future. Offered a place of honour at the Babylonian court he chooses instead to stay with the have-nots in the land of Judah. Jeremiah 39:1-18 & 40:1-6.
6. The governer, Gedaliah, is murdered. The people, fearing reprisals make ready to escape to Egypt. Jeremiah 40:7-16 & 41:1-18.
7. For all their declared willingness to obey Gods word, when the message came telling them to stay put, they disobeyed. Egypt seemed safer. They take Jeremiah and Baruch with them. As God had predicted the long arm of Nebuchadnezzar reached down into Egypt in 568 B.C. Jeremiah 42:1-22 & 43:1-7.
8. Jeremiah warns against idolatry but despite all that has happened the people refuse to listen. They will go back to worshipping the queen of heaven; (the moon) and all will be well again! (After this we hear no more of Jeremiah. Tradition has it that he was stoned to death in Egypt.) Jeremiah 43:8-13 & 44:1-30.
9. This short chapter refers to the writing of the scroll (see Jeremiah 36:1-32.) Jeremiah 45:1-5.
1. Verses 1-12 describe the defeat at Carchemish in 605 B.C. Verses
13-26 forecast Nebuchadnezzars invasion of Egypt in 568 B.C. Jeremiah 46:1-26.
2. The final verses of chapter 46 give words of comfort for Israel: ".behold I will save you from afar off". Jeremiah 46:27-28.
3. A prophecy against the Philistines. Calamity is predicted from the Babylonians in the north. Jeremiah 47:1-7.
4. A prophecy against Moab. Jeremiah 48:1-47.
5. A prophecy against Ammon. Jeremiah 49:1-6.
6. A prophecy against Edom. Jeremiah 49:7-22.
7. A prophecy against Damascus. Jeremiah 49:23-27.
8. A prophecy against Kedar. Jeremiah 49:28-33.
9. A prophecy against Elam. Jeremiah 49:34-39.
10. Jeremiahs impressive prophecy was sent with the delegation that went to Babylon six years before the fall of Jerusalem. It was given a public reading then thrown into the Euphratesin the same way that Babylon itself would sink and be destroyed. Babylon was Gods instrument to punish his people, but God cannot ignore evil; judgement must always come. Jeremiah 50:1-46 & 51:1-64.
1. This chapter details the fall of Jerusalem in the ninth year of the reign of King Zedekiah. It also tells of the pillaging of the Temple and gives numbers of Jews taken into exile. It finishes with the story of Evil-Merodachs kindness to Jehoiachin who was released from prison, allowed to eat at the Kings table and given a regular allowance. (See 2 Kings 24:8-17.) Jeremiah 52:1-34.