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He is the Weeping Prophet
The book of Jeremiah is an account of Jeremiah's prophetic ministry, beginning at around 626 BC and continuing till about 586 BC. Jeremiah notates in chapter 1 and verses 2 and 3 that Jeremiah's ministry started about the middle of Josiah's reign and continued through to the siege of Jerusalem by King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians during the reign of Zedekiah. Many of his prophesy sermons were fulfilled within a short period of time; many of his prophesy sermons were not fulfilled till much later or will not be fulfilled until time's end.
According to some, because Jeremiah was a son of Hilkiah of Anaothoth, who was a priest, Jeremiah may be a descendant of Abiathar, who was, in his time, a priest in the court of King Solomon. God decreed to Jeremiah that he not marry or have children (Jeremiah 16:1-4) because of the impending wave of God's judgment upon the people and the land leading to the sweeping away of the next generation of families. It was God's way of putting a bubble of great protection around Jeremiah's heart and soul. The time and place of Jeremiah's death is not known; but many Jewish scholars still believe that Jeremiah was stoned while living in Egypt. Their basis for this is found in the treatment of the prophets as told in Hebrews 11:32-40.
The prevailing theme of Jeremiah's messages was judgment, and, though he spoke of God's wrath and judgment, he also cried for repentance, letting the people know that if they heed the warning's, the judgments would be postponed. Jeremiah loved the people of Judah with great fondness, and he prayed, continually, for them. He was always urging them to submission and rebuking their rebellion.
And, though, the judgment came, a promise of restoration and renewal was given. Israel would see a restoration and renewal of their land. Israel would see a crushing of the nations that crushed her. There was a renewing and reviving of the old covenant, and later, God gave a New Covenant (Jesus).
See, I'm not the only one who likes to use visual aids!
I am very big on visual aids. I use them all the time as I home school my kiddos. My best learning myself, when I was a child, was through visual aids. For me, it's a matter of seeing it, then applying; whereas, some people can make words happen, I make pictures happen. And, so, apparently did Jeremiah. God is like that sometimes; He will use objects in our everyday lives to give us object lessons. Praise God!
the Almond Tree and the Boiling Caldron
- The word of the Lord came to me: "What do you see, Jeremiah?" "I see the branch of an almond tree," I replied.
- The Lord said to me, "You have seen correctly, for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled."
- The word of the Lord came to me again: "What do you see?" "I see a boiling pot, tilting away from the north," I answered.
- The Lord said to me, "From the north disaster will be poured out on all who live the land. I am about to summon all the people of the northern kingdoms," declares the Lord.
**In the Hebrew language, the words for watching and almond tree, are very similar.
a Linen Belt
- This is what the Lord said to me: "Go and buy a linen belt and put it around your waist, but do not let it touch water."
- So I bought a belt, as the Lord directed, and put it around my waist.
- Then the word of the Lord came to me a second time:
- "Take the belt you bought and are wearing around your waist, and go not to Perath and hide it there in a crevice in the rocks."
- So I went and hid it at Perath, as the Lord told me.
- Many days later the Lord said to me, "God now to Perth and get the belt I told you to hide there."
- So I went to Perath and dug up the belt and took it from the place where I had hidden it, but now it was ruined and completely useless.
The demonstration used here with this belt was for the Lord to show Jeremiah that the pride of Judah, and of Jerusalem, was about to meet with tragic ruin. The people of Judah had continued to ignore the warnings that God was giving to them through the prophets, and God was ready to send His judgment.
the Potter's Wheel
- This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord:
- "Go down to the potter's house, and there I will give you my message."
- So I went down to the potter's house, and I saw him working at the wheel.
- But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into anther pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
God wanted Jeremiah to know that if the people continued in their rebellion, God would uproot them. If this same people repented, he would build them up. God is like the potter who, when working with his clay, fashions and re-fashions his pot to make it better. Oh, that I might be a moldable clay.
Two Baskets of Figs
- After Jehoiachin [Jeconiah] son of Jehoiakim king of Judah and the officials, the craftsmen and the artisans of Judah were carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Lord showed me two baskets of figs placed in front of the temple of the Lord.
- One basket had very good figs, like those that ripen early; the other basket have very poor figs, so bad they could not be eaten.
- Then the Lord asked me, "What do you see, Jeremiah?" "Figs," I answered. "The good ones are very good, but the poor ones are so bad they cannot be eaten."
The Lord wanted Jeremiah to know that there would be a good remnant of people that would return to Jerusalem at the end of the exile; but, that there were the bad of the people (i.e.-Zedekiah and his officials) that the Lord would deal with in a severe manner. This is a promise of restoration and renewing.
a Book Sunk in the River
- When you finish reading this scroll, tie a stone to it and throw it into the Euphrates.
- Then say, "So will Babylon sink to rise no more because of the disaster I will bring upon her. And her people will fall." The words of Jeremiah end here.
God, through divine providence, used Babylon to strip the pride of Judah, and of Jerusalem, and bring her to humbleness. God, through divine providence will bring to destruction Babylon for the cruel treatment of His people. God has always been in control. God will always be in control.
Jesus, the Weeping Prophet?
Like Jeremiah, Jesus lived in a time of unrest for Israel, for Jerusalem. Much like Jeremiah, Jesus gave grave warnings of what would happen to the people who rejected Him as Lord, Savior and King. Jesus preached against hypocrisy and cried for repentance, as did Jeremiah; and, as Jeremiah, Jesus was known to be an "enemy of the state." Not once did Jeremiah abandon his people, always giving them God's hope (Lamentations 3:22-25), and not once did Jesus abandon his people, always giving them God's hope (John 14:1, 27). Jeremiah was falsely accused, arrested and beaten as read in Jeremiah 37:12-15; Jesus was falsely accused, arrested and beaten as read in Matthew 26:61 and Matthew 27:26. Many, many other example of Jesus's weeping prophet status that could be compared with that of Jeremiah's. Jeremiah was an example of love and hope, even through death and destruction, for a people of his time; Jesus came as an example of love and hope, even through death and destruction for all people for all time.
In Lamentations, He is the cry for Israel.
Lamentations is so named because it is comprised of the deep sorrowfulness of the siege and destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC. The book is also a confessional of the sins committed through the rebellion of the people against God's laws, commands and decrees. The writer goes further to pray that God would once again give life ad liberty to His people in bringing them the promised restoration and renewing.