JEREMIAH, THE WEEPING PROPHET

 

Most Bible students know who the weeping prophet was.  Jeremiah was truly one of the great O.T. prophets.  He was referred to as the weeping prophet because his writings often reveal that he was moved to tears as a result of the transgressions of his fellow countrymen. No prophet of the Lord ever faced a more difficult task than did Jeremiah. The book of Jeremiah shows us how this messenger of God faithfully proclaimed His word for at least four decades to a people that for the most part had no interest in hearing the truth. Here was a man who preached for some forty years without any visible results.  Can you imagine how discouraging that must have been?  He was discouraged numerous times, but he was never defeated.  The fault was not with the message or the messenger, but with the audience.  They were sinful and proud. That was the attitude of the people Jeremiah is to preach to.  Time and time again Jeremiah will point out the sins of the people.  If we were to be sent to a group of people such as this, we would probably reply, ŇNot me, Ňlord...Ó

            As we begin a brief survey of the preaching of this great man, letŐs look quickly at how he got to this place in his life.  He was permitted to stay in Judea when the southern kingdom was taken.  Later, he was taken against his will to Egypt.  One writer stated that you could divide his life into five sections, i.e. under the five kings that he served under.   I want to call your attention to several verses that show JeremiahŐs conviction concerning GodŐs word. [1] Jeremiah  8:9..no man is really wise who rejects the word of the lord. [2] Jer. 17:5É [3] Jer. 37:17ŃIs there any word?  Yes, but you will not like it.  Jeremiah was a man who told people what they needed to hear and not necessarily what they wanted to hear.  LetŐs take a journey with Jeremiah through this book that bears his name. 

 

I)           JeremiahŐs challenge (1:4-10, 17-19)

A)      Jeremiah was reluctant to accept (1:6)

B)      His call  (1:9)

1)        Not thought, but the very words.

2)        Verbal inspiration

3)        II Sam. 23:2

4)        Jer.1:1, 2 ,4. . . word of the Lord came to me.

C)      Charge to Jeremiah

1)        1:6---too young and inexperienced for such a responsibility.

2)        Positive and Negative (1:10)

(a)     He would have to tear out and remove the evil thinking and wicked ways of his listeners before their hearts would be ready to obey the Lord.

(b)    Have to clear the new ground before you plant.

(c)     Today we have to root out false teachings before we can begin to plant the pure seed of GodŐs word.  You have to unteach before you can teach.

3)        Speak to them all that I command thee.

(a)     They needed to hear all of GodŐs message.

(b)    No doubt it would have been easier and more pleasant for Jeremiah to leave off part of GodŐs condemnation of JudahŐs errors, but Jeremiah could not be true to God w/o speaking all of His message.

(c)     Acts 20:27

(d)    Surely Satan would love for us to be silent about the evils that surround us today.

(e)     He would love for us to back off when it comes to exhorting brethren to put God first in their lives, yet, we cannot be true to our Lord w/o speaking the whole counsel of God.

4)        God told him right away that people would not welcome him or his message (1:19). What a way to start a work.

II)       JeremiahŐs Trials and Temptations

A)      He underestimated his ability to do GodŐs work.

1)        Jer. 1: 6

2)        Jer. 20:7

3)        Jer. 23:9

B)      His message was a strong negative message.

1)        Jer. 1:18,19

2)        Jer. 5:14

3)        Jer. 23:29

4)        How tiring it must have been for Jeremiah (Jer. 15:10)

C)      There was the temptation to give in to peer pressure and give up his work.

1)        Jer. 15:17, 20

2)        Notice what he says in Jer. 20:7,8,10  

3)        Jer. 9:2 compared to Jer. 20:9

D)      There was the temptation to substitute human reasoning for GodŐs command

1)        Jer. 32:6-15ŃGod had commanded Jeremiah to buy a field in his hometown, and he complied

2)        He had some lingering doubt abut the advisability of such plan (16-25)

3)        Babylon was about to conquer Judah, why buy land??

4)        He evidently was tempted to follow his own thinking in this matter.

5)        Human reasoning does not always coincide with GodŐs will (Jer.10: 23).

(a)     ManŐs wisdom is inadequate in morals

(b)    ManŐs wisdom is inadequate in religion.

E)       Notice how they treated Jeremiah

1)        They threatened him (26:8ff)

2)        They mocked him (18:18; 20:7)

3)        They hit him (20:2)

4)        They restricted his movements (36:5)Ńeven from the temple!

5)        They burned his message (36)

6)        They put him in public stocks (20:2)

7)        They imprisoned him for years (32:2,3; 37:15,21)

8)        They put him in a dungeon to die (38:4-6) [Not a concrete slab with a bed, water,  toilet facilities. This was mire!!!]

F)        Jeremiah struggled with all of this

1)        At times he complained (10:24; 12:1-4; 15:15-18)

2)        In spite of all these things, he did not quit.

3)        He was faithful to his charge daily for over 40 years.

III)    Jeremiah taught some great object lessons (Lesson for us today)

A)      Girdle hidden in the cleft of the rock (13:1-11)

B)      Jars of wine (13:12-14)

C)      PotterŐs vessel (18:1-12)

D)      Bottle broken in the valley of Hinnon (19)

E)       Good and bad figs (24)

F)        Bonds and bars (27:1-15)

G)      Buying land and recording the deed (32)

H)      Rechabites (35)

IV)  Notice some highlights (in my opinion) in this great book.

A)      Two mistakes made (2:13)

1)        They forsook God

2)        They made idols to worship

B)      Forgot God (2:32)

1)        Can a bride forget her wedding dress

2)        Yet, my people.

3)        We are prone to forget our blessings and be ungrateful.

C)      One righteous person (5:1)

1)        Abraham tried to find 10.  Noah only had eight. Jeremiah was trying to fine one!

2)        Some say he had one friend, Baruch. In Chap. 45, he had to rebuke him for seeking his own glory.

D)      Leave us alone in our sin (Jer. 5:30,31).

E)       Peace, peace (Jer. 6:14)

F)        Not able to blush (Jer. 6:15)

G)      Ask for the old paths (Jer. 6:16)

H)      WeŐve been to the temple (7:4). Some are like that today,  ŇWeŐve been to church!Ó

I)           Balm of Gilead (Jer. 8:22)

J)          Time of Discouragement (Jer. 9:1-3)

K)      Foolishness of idolatry (Jer. 10:3-5) [Isa. 44:14-17]

L)       DonŐt pray for them (Jer. 11:14)

M)    Even Moses and Samuel can not help you (Jer.15:1) [Best at pleading for people]

N)      Potter and the clay (Jer. 18)

O)      Burning fire in his heart (Jer. 20:9)

P)        Power of GodŐs word (Jer. 23:29)

Q)      New Covenant (Jer. 31)

R)      Rechabites (35:16)

1)        More loyal to their father than GodŐs children were to him.

2)        The same holds true today (families, jobs, recreation,  etcÉ)

S)        Pen-knife religion (36:21-23)

T)       We will continue to disobey God (44:15-17)

U)      Let Jerusalem come to your mind (51:50)

 

Con:  You canŐt help but admire this great prophet. So much more in this great book and in the life of this great man. His messages still speak to us today.  The problems that Jeremiah faced are problems that we still face today in the LordŐs church.  (Jer. 36:7). Even if no one listens to us, we must still teach and preach and live the word, always with the goal of bringing about repentance and the saving of a soul.