The book of Jeremiah is an amazing and uplifting book of the Bible. In my quiet time this morning the book of Jeremiah was heavy on my heart. I just purchased the susbscription to Logos Bible Software and have been blown away by it’s usefulness. The verses that stood out to me where both in chapter 33.
Jeremiah 33:3 (MSG) — Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own. (the NIV says ‘and I will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known’).
Jeremiah 33:6-9 (MSG) — But now take another look. I’m going to give this city a thorough renovation, working a true healing inside and out. I’m going to show them life whole, life brimming with blessings.
Tell me, as a church leader, are those not encouraging words? Read about Jeremiah below and be sure to check out the Jeremiah sermon series graphic set by clicking here.
Jeremiah’s life and Jeremiah’s book are a single piece. He wrote what he lived, he lived what he wrote. There is no dissonance between his life and his book. Some people write better than they live; others live better than they write. Jeremiah, writing or living, was the same Jeremiah.
This is important to know because Jeremiah is the prophet of choice for many when we find ourselves having to live through difficult times and want some trustworthy help in knowing what to think, how to pray, how to carry on. We’d like some verification of credentials. This book provides the verification.
We live in disruptive times. The decades preceding and following the pivotal third millennium are not exactly unprecedented. There have certainly been comparable times of disruption in the past that left everyone reeling, wondering what on earth and in heaven was going on. But whatever their occasion or size, troubles require attention.
Jeremiah’s troubled life spanned one of the most troublesome periods in Hebrew history, the decades leading up to the fall of Jerusalem in 587 b.c., followed by the Babylonian exile. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. And Jeremiah was in the middle of all of it, sticking it out, praying and preaching, suffering and striving, writing and believing. He lived through crushing storms of hostility and furies of bitter doubt. Every muscle in his body was stretched to the limit by fatigue; every thought in his mind was subjected to questioning; every feeling in his heart was put through fires of ridicule. He experienced it all agonizingly and wrote it all magnificently.
What happens when everything you believe in and live by is smashed to bits by circumstances? Sometimes the reversals of what we expect from God come to us as individuals, other times as entire communities. When it happens, does catastrophe work to re-form our lives to conform to who God actually is and not the way we imagined or wished him to be? Does it lead to an abandonment of God? Or, worse, does it trigger a stubborn grasping to the old collapsed system of belief, holding on for dear life to an illusion?
Anyone who lives in disruptive times looks for companions who have been through them earlier, wanting to know how they went through it, how they made it, what it was like. In looking for a companion who has lived through catastrophic disruption and survived with grace, biblical people more often than not come upon Jeremiah and receive him as a true, honest, and God-revealing companion for the worst of times.
Peterson, E. H. (2005). The Message: the Bible in contemporary language (Je). Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.