Jeremiah was a sixth century prophet who is known for his long ministry among the unrepentant people of Judah. His career began in the early days of King Josiah and ended sometime after the destruction of Jerusalem, when Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had taken God’s people captive. He contributed two volumes to the sixty-six books of inspiration: Jeremiah and Lamentations. His prophecy is comprised of several literary genres: prophetic utterances, sermons, autobiographical information, and historical narrative. Sounds dull, huh?
Give me another chance to introduce this important prophet of God. When he was a young man, perhaps a thirteen-year-old boy, he received a mysterious but clear call from God to deliver a message of doom to the people of Judah who had ignored the true and living God and exchanged him for idols made of stone and wood. They had even stooped so low as to offer their children as human sacrifices to Baal. Jeremiah answered God’s call, sometimes boldly, sometimes reluctantly, but always faithfully. And the people of God responded in the usual “shoot the messenger” kind of way. They mocked him, burned his prophecies, put him in stocks, threw him into a cistern, accused him of treason, put him on death row, and exiled him to Egypt. Jeremiah wanted to quit, but God’s Word was like a fire shut up in his bones and he could not stop preaching – begging the people to repent, and promising doom if they did not. The people did not repent, and as a result God sent the king of Babylon to lay siege to Jerusalem. Jeremiah saw all kinds of atrocities: princes reduced to rags, men starving, cannibalism, children dying in the streets, and violent bloodshed. Somehow he survived, and through it all he continued to faithfully preach the Word that God had put into his mouth.
This coming quarter, on Wednesday nights our adult classes will be concentrating on the book of Jeremiah. The Major Prophets get a bad rap. They are often neglected because of their length and obscure subject matter, but these are not irrelevant books. Whatever was written in former days, Paul says, was written for our instruction (Romans 15:4). If we open our hearts and apply ourselves, God’s Word will speak to us in fresh, exciting ways, regardless of which part of it we are studying.
We’re going to be taking a fresh approach to Wednesday night Bible classes, dividing up into smaller classes to facilitate discussion. Prior to the study, each class will receive worksheets that will help them prepare for the discussions. Instead of having teachers who will lecture classes, this quarter we will have “facilitators” to promote discussion of the text for the week.
I’m excited about digging into this much neglected book of the Bible. Make a commitment to be here every Wednesday night as we study the Word of God through the mouth of his servant Jeremiah.
For more information and class companions, click here.