From the Pastor
For the next several weeks, we are going to survey the preaching of the prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah was responsible for two books in the Hebrew Bible: Jeremiah and Lamentations. Most of what can be known about Jeremiah comes from the book itself.
Jeremiah is often called the weeping prophet, not because he was weak or timid, but because he wept over the people’s obstinance and the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple.
Jeremiah carried out his ministry during very tumultuous times from about 627 B.C. to sometime after 587 B.C. Judah’s northern sister Israel was destroyed, and its people carried into exile about one hundred years earlier. The Assyrian empire, which ravaged Israel, declined as Babylon was beginning its rise to power. Babylon would eventually sack Jerusalem and carry its people into exile as a judgment from the Lord. Jeremiah witnessed several deportations from Judah to Babylon, which probably included Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. The prophet Ezekiel was carried into exile about this time as well.
Jeremiah was persecuted throughout his ministry because he said some very unpopular things. He told the people that God would judge the people for their sins of idolatry, exploitation of the poor, and their lack of justice for the people. Jeremiah told the people to accept God’s judgment, go into exile, and make the best of it. That was very unpopular with the nationalistic state-supported prophets who prophesied about God’s protection.
We will look at what Jeremiah has to say to us in our 21st-century world during this series of sermons. His messages will be hard for us to hear at times, but necessary. We will end our time in Jeremiah with the hopeful words: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22–23).
Grace and Peace,