Summary: This message show Jeremiah’s ministry typifies Last Days ministry, and that though he was “unsuccessful” as men count success, he was a success before God.
Prophet of the Midnight Hour
Aim: To show how Jeremiah’s ministry typifies last days ministry, and that though he was “unsuccessful” as men count success, he was a success before God.
Text: Jeremiah 13:15-17
Introduction: Jeremiah is often referred to as the “weeping prophet”, and it is not hard to see why, not only did he write the next book of our Bible, labelled Lamentations, but his own prophecy often refers to his personal tears and anguish at the situation he faced.
Jer 9:1; 14:17.
In truth his spirit very much mirrored the Spirit of God in judgment, because God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked and is longsuffering, his heart is broken by the sins of men, and so was Jeremiah’s. Like Jesus, Jeremiah wept over the city of Jerusalem and over the people of Judah. His heart aching over their sin. So he is called the “Weeping Prophet” and so he is, but this morning I would like to give him another title and call him the Prophet of the Midnight Hour.
Jeremiah ministered in the last days of the kingdom of Judah. His ministry came some eighty or one hundred years after that of Isaiah, and like Isaiah he ministered to the Southern Kingdom of Judah. His ministered during the reigns of kings Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin and the last king of Judah, Zedekiah.
As one writer put it, “It was Jeremiah’s lot to prophesy at a time when all things in Judah were rushing down to the final and catastrophe; when political excitement was at its height; when the worst passions swayed the various parties and the most fatal counsels prevailed: . . . to see his own people, whom he loved with the tenderness of a woman, plunge over the precipice into the wide, weltering ruin.”
He was no doubt the prophet of the midnight hour to Judah. And for forty years he faithfully declared God’s Word, for which he received no thanks, nor indeed did he see even the slightest positive movement in response.
Jeremiah makes for an interesting read. His days were not unlike our days, his time, not unlike our time. I am convinced we are into the eleventh hour, and that the church is soon to be removed, the man of sin soon to be revealed and the final curtain soon to be drawn upon human history. What we read in Jeremiah’s prophecy is in so many ways reflective of our on situation. This morning I want to show you three clear characteristics evident in Jeremiah’s days, which are also apparent in our own day.
You see the Judah of Jeremiah’s time was a nation that disregarded God, disobeyed God, defied God and ultimately denied God. And the consequence of their rebellion was judgement. They were carried off into captivity, into Babylon where they remained, according to Jeremiah’s prophecy for seventy years. And every characteristic that revealed their infidelity centred upon their response to God’s message and His messenger. From the princes to the people, this was a nation that had turned from the Truth. Notice how that from prince to pauper there was a wholesale departure toward the Word of God.
I. There Was Antipathy Among The Princes.
A. Jeremiah served under five kings of Judah; of these only Josiah showed any degree of true. spirituality.
1. During his reign there had been something of a spiritual revival, but it was a half-hearted revival.
2. Yes God’s Word was rediscovered and restored to the heart of the nation, but the revival was superficial, like “rice Christians”, the people followed the Lord only because they loved their leader, and that was the direction he took them in.
3. But once Josiah passed away, normal service was resumed, and king after king gave in to idolatry and iniquity of every kind.
3. Each one was a vassal to some other king, either to Egypt or Babylon – and every one of them singly failed to heed the Word of God by the mouth of Jeremiah the prophet.
B. Perhaps this antipathy is seen at its worst when God instructs Jeremiah to write a letter to Jehoiakim.
1. See Jeremiah 36:20-32
2. That is how God’s Word was treated by the kings of Judah is the dark days of the kingdom’s demise.
3. The kings didn’t want to know, they were not only ignorant of God’s Word but they harboured antipathy toward it!.
4. Imagine such a thing – a king of Judah actively destroying God’s Word, BTW, that king should have known better, God’s Word cannot be destroyed, and once His actions were realised God instructed Jeremiah to write the same thing again and more!
a. In A.D. 303 the Roman Emperor Diocletian thought he had destroyed every Bible on earth, and was so proud of himself that he raised an obelisk over the embers of the last Bible and inscribed upon “Extinct is the Name Christian”. But he was so wrong.