Over a long period of time, through Jeremiah, God warns his people of their sin through a series of exhortations and rebukes, but when they finally go into captivity, He encourages them with promises of restoration.
Explanation of Main Idea
Jeremiah’s ministry lasted over eighty years. It was a difficult career as he did not see much if any, response. He brought many warnings to God’s people who, at one time had a deep devotion to Him, but now had forsaken the Lord (Jer. 2:17). They were unfaithful (Jer. 3:6) and evil (Jer. 4:14). Nonetheless, God invited them to come back to Him, promising to cure them of backsliding (Jer. 3:22). None came, however, and God claimed that they should be punished (Jer. 5:9, 29). Finally, Jeremiah predicts the 70-year Babylonian captivity (Jer. 25:11). Jeremiah encourages the people to submit to their new life in Babylon (Jer. 29) and is faithful to tell them of God’s promised restoration and a coming new king and covenant (Jer. 33).
The purpose of the book of Jeremiah is to warn God’s people about judgment due to sinfulness, but it also offers hope of restoration. This is especially seen in the promise of a “righteous branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land” (Jer. 23:5). This, of course, is looking forward to Jesus. This promise is reiterated in Jeremiah 33:15, where the prophet again makes reference to a Branch from David’s line that will be called, “The LORD Our Righteousness” (Jer. 33:16).
We often think of the book of Isaiah when considering Messianic prophecies. But Jeremiah has some very clear words to say about the coming of the Messiah, specifically at the end of the age. Jer. 23 and 33 bring hope to the captives and to us that one day we will serve a perfect King in a perfect land!
2. Israel Regathered
Jeremiah reminds us that God has promised to bring Israel back into their land. Jer. 31 tells of a God who loves His people with an everlasting love and will “bring them from the land of the north and gather them from the ends of the earth. See also Jer. 23:8
Jeremiah had a long and lonely ministry. We don’t see many, if any, converts or good reception of his words. Yet the word of the Lord burned in his heart and he could not hold it in (Jer. 20:9).
How Does This Relate To Us?
The book of Jeremiah gives us insight into God’s calling on our lives, as Jeremiah received a clear call from the Lord. In spite of his feelings of inadequacy, he persevered through a long, difficult ministry. Serving the Lord in our culture can be long and difficult. But like Jeremiah, His word must burn in our hearts to such an extent that we can’t hold it in.
Like many of the prophets, we see that God punishes sin, but always offers hope through repentance. This always keeps us on our knees, as we seek to enrich our times of prayer and spend time in introspection always wanting to please the Lord.
Most significantly, our faith is increased as we read about the One we know as Jesus. He is the One Jeremiah was referring to as the King descended from David who will reign in perfect righteousness
- Read Jeremiah 5 and note some repeated words and phrases. We did God want to punish these people?
2. Read Jeremiah 20:7-18. In your own words, describe how Jeremiah must feel.
3. Read Jeremiah 29. In what way do you think this would have encouraged those who were taken captive to Babylon?
Life Application Questions
- Read Jeremiah 1:4-19. What do you think God is calling you to do? How can you use your gifts to serve Him?
2. Look at Jer. 16:12. Can you relate to this verse? Have you ever wanted to disobey God? What were the consequences?
3. The New Covenant is described in Jeremiah 31:30-34. What does this mean for you?