Scripture reading – Jeremiah 1-3
Our chronological Bible reading schedule brings us to the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah, and marks the 219th Scripture reading assignment of 2020. For the sake of brevity, today’s devotional commentary will serve as an introduction to the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah and focus solely on Jeremiah 1.
The book of Jeremiah is biographical and prophetic, chronicling the life and experience of a man of God who stood alone in his day. Written by the prophet whose name it bears, the Book of Jeremiah accounts for the ministry of a faithful prophet. Fifty-two chapters long and spanning fifty-four years, from Judah’s revival years during the reign of King Josiah, to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple under the reign of King Zedekiah in 587 BC.
Jeremiah 1 – The Prophet of God
Jeremiah’s ministry was to a people who had turned from God. Israel had broken God’s covenant and disobeyed His commandments. It was for such a time the LORD called one man to stand in the gap and warn His people that should they not repent all would be lost.
Jeremiah’s ministry began during Josiah’s reign (est. 640 BC to 609 BC) and continued through the reigns of four wicked kings: Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah died (2 Kings 23-25; 2 Chronicles 36).
He was a Levite by birth. His father Hilkiah was a priest and he was a descendant of Aaron, the brother of Moses (1:1). Anathoth, his hometown, was only about three miles northeast of Jerusalem (1:1; Joshua 21:15-19), and there is little doubt Jeremiah was familiar with the politics of Jerusalem.
The LORD made a wonderful revelation when He called Jeremiah to be His prophet.
Jeremiah 1:4-5 – “Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified [consecrated; set apart] thee, and I ordained [appointed] thee a prophet unto the nations.”
In the same way God knew Jeremiah from the moment of conception, He knows you. He knows your talents, gifts, and abilities. He knows your strengths and weaknesses.
Jeremiah protested, “LORD God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child” (1:6).
Jeremiah was not a child in the chronological sense, but he was a young inexperienced man. The thought of being God’s prophet in the midst of an ungodly nation was no doubt intimidating and overwhelming.
God answered Jeremiah’s objection with the assurance, “I am with thee” (1:8b).
Jeremiah 1:7-8 – “Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. 8 Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.”
The breadth of Jeremiah’s ministry and message was universal. (1:9-10)
Jeremiah 1:9b-10 – “The LORD said unto me [Jeremiah], Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. 10 See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.”
From heaven’s perspective, Jeremiah was a messenger of the LORD. From man’s perspective, he was a troublemaker, perhaps an antagonist, called “to root out [sin], and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant” (1:10).
We will see in our study of Jeremiah that he was a prophet who was hated and despised by his people. The LORD warned him, “they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee” (1:19).
Let us, in the words of the apostle Paul, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2).
Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith