Jeremiah 1 - Outline of Jeremiah (MENU page)
- The call of the prophet during the reign of Josiah
- I. The man and his times, v.1-3
- Jeremiah was of (from among) the priests who lived in Anathoth, a city of the priests. (Josh 21:18)
- Josiah was a good king, who began his reign at 8 years of age, after his wicked father, King Amon was deposed. (2Kin 21:19-26; 22:1-2)
- Jeremiah's ministry began (v.2) in the thirteenth year of Josiah's reign. This was 5 years prior to the discovery, by Hilkiah (Jeremiah's father), of the forgotten scroll of God's Word, and the resulting revival (2Kin 22:8-11; 23:1-25), which only temporarily withheld judgment. (2Kin 23:26-27)
- Jeremiah's ministry continued (v.3) through the reigns of the last 5 kings of Judah:
- Josiah, a righteous king who restored Temple worship and removed idol worship. He reigned 31 years. (Jeremiah was active during the last 18 years of Josiah's reign.)
- Jehoahaz, Josiah's son, did evil in the sight of the Lord. He was taken captive by Egypt after only 3 months on the throne (2Kin 23:31-33). He is not mentioned by name in Jeremiah.
- Jehoiakim, another son of Josiah, was installed on the throne by the Egyptians. He reigned 11 years, during which he reversed all of Josiah's reforms. Near the end of his reign, the balance of power had shifted. Judah was no longer under the sway of Egypt, but became tributary to Babylon. Because Jehoiakim rebelled against Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar initiated action against Judah (2Kin 23:34- 24:7). During his reign a small number of princes, including Daniel (Dan 1:1-3), and some of the Temple vessels were deported to Babylon.
- Jehoiachin (also called Coniah), a son of Jehoiakim, reigned for 3 months, during which Nebuchadnezzar laid siege against Jerusalem. Jeconiah surrendered and was taken captive, along with many officials and princes in the second deportation of the Babylonian captivity. Most of the remaining Temple treasures were also carried away (2Kin 24:8-16).
- Zedekiah, another son of Josiah, was installed as king by Nebuchadnezzar. He reigned for 11 years. For the closing 2.5 years, Jerusalem was under siege by Babylon. When the city fell, Zedekiah was taken captive, along with a large portion of the population, in the third and final deportation of the Babylonian captivity. The city and Temple were destroyed. The remaining things of value were carried away from the Temple, including the brass pillars and the brazen sea and its supports. These items, too large to transport, were broken up and carried away as scrap metal. (2Kin 24:17- 25:21)
- Jeremiah ministered "unto the carrying away of Jerusalem in the fifth month" (of the eleventh year of Zedekiah's reign, 2Kin 25:8).
- II. The Lord's purpose for, and call of, Jeremiah (v.4-5)-
- Before I formed thee, in the belly...
- I knew thee, before thou camest forth out of the womb... (cp. Psa 139:13-16)
- When does human life begin? at birth? at conception?
or, in eternity past in the mind of God?
- I sanctified thee...- ie., I set thee apart for my service.
- I ordained thee...- ie., I determined your specific role, and placed you in it:
- "a prophet to the nations"- Jeremiah addresses Judah and the gentile powers.
cp. Paul's calling, Gal 1:15-16 (separated... called... that I might preach...)
- III. An inadequate man learns that sufficiency is of God, v.6-10 (cp. 2Cor 3:5)
- I am a child- ie., a youth, a young man (see this word in Ex 33:11, referring to Joshua;
- and Zech 2:4, where an angel is told to speak to Zechariah). Jeremiah was not saying that he was too young, but that he was inexperienced.
- I cannot speak- Jeremiah's protest reminds us of Moses.
- But he raises a very different issue. (Moses distrusted his ability to speak. "I am not eloquent," Ex 4:10). Jeremiah says, in effect, "I am inexperienced, without standing in the community, having no authority to merit a hearing." Timothy had similar concerns (1Tim 4:12).
- Say not I... for I will send thee... whatsoever I command thee... I am with thee...
...I have put my words in thy mouth... I have set thee over the nations...
- The authority of the messenger is in the One who sends.
(cp. Mat 28:18,19..."All power is given unto me. Go ye, therefore...")
- The authority of the message is in the One whose Word it is.
(cp Mat 28:20a... "whatsoever I have commanded you...")
- be not afraid of their faces... I am with thee...
- The assurance of the messenger is the Presence of the Lord.
(cp. Mat 28:20b... "I am with you alway...")
- The assurance of the message is the Power of the Lord to fulfill His Word.
(cp. Mat 28:18... "all power is given unto Me...")
- touched my mouth... I have put my words in thy mouth... (cp. Isa 6:7; 51:16)
- Since the Words Jeremiah would speak were not his own, but God's Word, they could not fail but would be fulfilled, both for judgment (root up, pull down, destroy) and for restoration (build, plant).
- IV. Confirmation and Commissioning of Messenger and Message
- The sign of an almond rod- v.11-12 (A vision given to illustrate & confirm God's call to Jeremiah.)
- the rod of an almond [HB= shaqed] tree- The first tree to bloom in the spring.
- The Hebrew word means "awake." Jeremiah's message would sound an alarm to the spiritually sleeping nation.
- I will hasten [HB= shoqed, watch over] my word to perform it-
- cp. Num 17:8, Aaron's rod had appeared as dead as all the others (Num 17:1-7), but the Lord made it to bud, blossom, and bring forth almonds. Though men disregard and discard God's Word as dry and dead, God will bring His purposes into being.
- The sign of a seething pot- v.13-16 (Another vision, illustrating & confirming God's call to Jeremiah)
- a seething pot... its face toward the north...- This was a picture of the cauldron of trouble
- that was about to overflow Judah in the form of Babylon (cp. Jer 39:1,2). Assyria, which had taken the northern kingdom of Israel captive about a hundred years earlier, was directly north. But Assyria was no longer a threat, having been displaced by Babylon, as a world power. Babylon was actually east of Israel. But geography would require their armies to approach from the north.
- they shall set their thrones... in the gates of Jerusalem- cp. Jer 39:3
- I will utter my judgments... - Lev 26:15-39 outlines a series of judgments, culminating in the dispersion. (also see Deu 28:20)
- Jeremiah is sent on his mission- v.17-19
- gird up thy loins - ie., Gather up the skirts of your robes to prepare for a difficult task. cp. 1Pet 1:13
- I have made thee a defenced city... an iron pillar... brasen walls...-
- The Lord would enable Jeremiah to stand immovable, and unassailable in the face of opposition and persecution. cp. 1Cor 15:58
- against the whole land... the kings of Judah... the princes... the people-
- Jeremiah would stand against everyone. (cp. Rev 2:13, Antipas [lit. "against all"] my faithful martyr.) However, the Lord would preserve and deliver Jeremiah from his enemies (cp. Php 1:27-30).
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