Summary: A faithful prophet speaks to a faltering nation about a forgiving God.
A DYNAMIC VOICE TO A DYING NATION
INTRODUCTION: Jeremiah was a man who was:
I. Trained for the times (v.1-8)
A. His Identification
B. His Revelation
C. His Duration
D. His Formation
E. His Hesitation
II. Touched for the task (v.9-10)
A. The Touch
B. The Task
III. Triumphant in the trouble (v.11-19)
A. The Tree
B. The Terror
C. The Triumph
A DYNAMIC VOICE TO A DYING NATION
John McCutchen, the famous illustrator, drew a cartoon for the one-hundredth anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. The drawing shows two men standing on the edge of a snow-covered forest in Kentucky on a cold February morning in 1809. A man in the general store asks, “What’s the news around here?” The other man answers, “Nothing much. Oh, there’s a new baby over at Tom Lincoln’s. That’s all. Nothing ever happens around here” (Grant, The Way of the Cross, 137-38).
Many important events in history began with the birth of a baby. The names of Isaac, Samuel, Samson, John the Baptist, and Jesus quickly come to mind. But the account of Jeremiah’s call takes us back to before his birth – to his development in his mother’s womb. Indeed, the story goes even farther back – back to the mind of God. (Taken from Dr. Fred Wood, Old Testament Commentary)
It is the birth, biography and book of Jeremiah that offers us great insight into a faltering nation, a faithful prophet and a forgiving God. Jeremiah, whose name means “God hurls”, is called the weeping prophet. Why that title? It was because of his disposition and his dilemma. He was a young man heartbroken over the condition of his land. Jeremiah was born in a day where politics were corrupt, the pulpit was compromised and the prophet was concerned. The day saw a political whirlpool and a moral cesspool. It was a time when the nation, as a whole, was in rank rebellion toward God. The prophet came with severe rebukes and a call to repentance. The whole scene has a striking resemblance to our day in time!
Jeremiah’s appearance, like ours, was not by accident. In order to understand his call and ministry you have to go back to his conception, birth and development. You have to go back to the mind and heart of God. There are some great lessons here for the Christian and the Church.
Today, let’s begin a series of studies from this book. I simply call it “A Journey through Jeremiah.” Jeremiah was a man who was:
I. TRAINED FOR THE TIMES (v.1-8)
Look at Jeremiah’s resume.
A. His Identification (v.1) Note, he grew up in a priestly family. He was a PK! (preacher’s kid). Jeremiah had a good beginning. He was well-trained, heavily influenced and had a sensitive spirit. God, himself, created, conditioned and positioned Jeremiah. Note his hometown – Anathoth. This town was about 3-4 miles NE of Jerusalem. It was a rural area. He was close enough to know what was going on around him. He was far away enough to be objective to the situation. He was a man ready for the time. Jeremiah must be examined in his context.
B. His Revelation (v.2) “The Word” (v.2, 4, 11, 13). No visions. Nothing spectacular. This is a man walking and talking with the Lord.
C. His Duration (v.2-3) Jeremiah’s ministry spanned 40 years and the reign of five kings. A future sermon will develop this thought. Suffice it to say it is vital who a nation elects to office.
D. His Formation (v.4-5) Before his birth there was a purpose. God was at work. Note four verbs: Formed – see Gen. 2:7. The word means “fashioned”. God is involved in forming and shaping the preborn. See Job 10:8-12; Psalm 139:14-16. The meaning there is “to weave”. Knew – God knew him before forming him. This describes interest and intimacy. Set Apart – The idea is “consecrated”; a special category. Appointed – He was called to be a prophetic voice.
E. His Hesitation (v.6-8) Isaiah said “I will”. Moses said “I won’t”. Jeremiah said “I can’t”. He thought himself to be inadequate for the mission. Why? Because of his age and articulation. Look at the Lord’s rebuke. Jeremiah did not volunteer for the job, he was drafted. He was not overpowered but persuaded. Always remember “a little pigeon can carry a great message.”
Compare all this to the Christian and the Church.
II. TOUCHED FOR THE TASK (v.9-10)
A. The Touch – All four major prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel) received a divine touch. Isaiah’s touch was for cleansing. Jeremiah’s touch was to empower. He would need a special measure of God’s power for his task. He didn’t want to begin and there would be times when he wanted to quit.