August 12, 2021
Daily Reading: Jeremiah 1-3
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.
This was the call of God to Jeremiah. To root out, pull down, destroy, throw down, then to build and plant. In a way it is the ministry of every man of God, but specifically, it was Jeremiah’s. His prophecy is, without doubt, the most unwelcome message of any man of any age in any portion of the Bible. Reading it is not easy, understanding it less so, but with the help of the Author of the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, we endeavor to glean from it that which we can.
Jeremiah’s overall message falls into two categories: doom and hope. Doom because he foretold of Israel’s captivity by Babylon which happened in three stages: 606, 597 and 586 B.C. This would be like a preacher today foretelling the USA that they would be conquered and carried away to a foreign land, adding that this was the Lord’s doing and that all Americans should take it gracefully and obediently. This would not be popular. No wonder that tradition says Jeremiah was killed by stoning. But his message was also one of hope because he also told of the restoration of the nation Israel which happened in 536 B.C. when 50,000 Israelites returned to their homeland under the decree of Cyrus. This is the same Cyrus that Isaiah prophesied of, even calling him by name prior to his birth.
Beginning with Isaiah, the books of the prophets began. When reading their books, it would help to understand the time of their ministries. Below is an overview.
The Assyrian Period (Pre-Exilic, meaning prior to captivity) 887-710 BC
Obadiah, Joel, Jonah, Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Micah, Nahum
The Babylonian Period (Pre-Exilic) 626-586 BC
Zephaniah, Habakkuk, Jeremiah (Jeremiah also wrote Lamentations)
The Babylonian Period (during the Exile) 592-533 BC
Persian Period (Post-Exilic) 520-400 BC
Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.
Jeremiah’s message was totally rejected by his family, the priests, his friends, the people in general, and especially the king. Because of this they paid a terrible price. Why? Why was the Lord so harsh in dealing with His people? Idolatry. This was a problem then, and it is a problem now. The question in 2:28 is apropos. But where are thy gods that thou hast made thee? Let them arise, if they can save thee in time of thy trouble… What is an idol? Anything man made that is put above, or before, the Lord God. This is a transgression of the first great command and always leads to disastrous results.
Until tomorrow, live for Christ today.