Summary: The Study Of Jeremiah, Lamentations
The Study Of Jeremiah, Lamentations
2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV)
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
The nation of Israel divided in 975 B.C. Jeroboam I led the ten northern tribes to rebel against King Rehoboam, the son of Solomon. The Northern Kingdom came to be known as Israel. Its capital was eventually located in Samaria. All of the kings who ruled over the Northern Kingdom were evil men. Assyria conquered Israel in 721 B.C. Most of the people were taken into captivity. As a nation, Israel never again came into existence.
The Southern Kingdom was known as Judah. It was made up of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. Jerusalem, where the temple was located, was the capital of Judah. Although most of its rulers were wicked, a few were faithful to God. Judah became worse and worse. Because of this, God allowed Babylon to conquer it in 606 B.C. Some of the leading citizens, including Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, were taken to Babylon at this time. When Judah rebelled against Babylon in 596 B.C. others, including Ezekiel, were taken as captives to Babylon. Finally, in 586 B.C. the army of Babylon destroyed Jerusalem. Solomon’s temple was torn down. Most of the remaining people were taken to Babylon. During Judah’s last days, Jeremiah served as God’s spokesman to them.
Jeremiah was born during a troubled time in history. Great nations were struggling for control of the world. The powerful Assyrian Empire was slowly dying. Babylon became a superpower when its army conquered Nineveh, capital of Assyria, in 612 B.C. Egypt had been a world power for more than one thousand years. It was striving to maintain its power against threats from Babylon. The little nation of Judah was located between these two superpowers. When the armies from the Babylonian Empire in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley marched to fight the armies from the Egyptian Empire in the Nile Valley, they had to go through Judah. Many times, battles were fought on Judah’s territory. Its people suffered greatly as a result. Kings of Judah were tempted to make alliances with either Babylon or Egypt as protection against the other one. Jeremiah and the other prophets warned them to trust in God instead of these alliances.
Spiritually, the people of Judah had sunk very low. After the death of Hezekiah, a good king, his wicked son, Manasseh, came to the throne (2 Kings 21:1-9). Manasseh was followed by his son, Amon, who was also wicked (2 Kings 21:19-22). When Amon was killed by his own servants, his eight year old son, Josiah, was placed on the throne (2 Kings 21:23-26). Josiah was the last of the good kings of Judah. He led the people back to God and His Law (2 Kings 22, 23). Sadly, his reformation was cut short when he was killed in battle at the age of 39 (2 Kings 23:29). Jeremiah was called by God to prophesy during the rule of Josiah (Jeremiah 1:1-10).
Jeremiah was born about 650 B.C. His father was Hilkiah, a priest (Jeremiah 1:1). His home was , a village about four miles north of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 1:1). He was very young when called by God to be a prophet (Jeremiah 1:1-10). He was not a poor man for he owned property and had a personal secretary (Jeremiah 32:6-15; Jeremiah 36:4). God told Jeremiah not to marry or have a family (Jeremiah 16:1-4). Jeremiah’s name shows he was chosen by God. It means “Jehovah has appointed.” Jeremiah is often called “the weeping prophet” because he shed tears over the sins of his people. Although he was God’s spokesman for many years, he did not succeed in turning the people back to God. His own family rejected him. He was beaten and put in prison on several occasions (Jeremiah 26:8-11; Jeremiah 32:1-3; Jeremiah 33:1; Jeremiah 37:13-15; and Jeremiah 38:6-13). Jeremiah was taken to Egypt by Johanan the son of Kareah after he defeated the people who killed Gedaliah, Babylon’s governor over Judah (Jeremiah 41- 43). When he continued to preach God’s Word, he was stoned to death, according to Jewish history.
A key passage in Jeremiah sets forth the message of the book. In Jeremiah 2:12-13, the prophet points out that God’s people had committed two serious sins. First, they had forsaken God, “the fountain of living waters.” Second, they had hewn out for themselves “cisterns - broken cisterns - that cannot hold water.” A fountain of living water is a spring that always brings forth an abundant supply of fresh, clean water. God is like this. He is a constant source of blessings. A cistern has no water supply of its own, but is only a storage place for water. A broken cistern would hold no water at all. The people of Judah had come to trust in the idols of foreign nations. These idols were not living, and therefore could bring no blessings. They trusted in their own wisdom and strength. But the only wisdom and strength to be found was in God. They also trusted in their alliances with heathen nations to protect them. But these nations had no power unless God chose to give it to them. Thus, all the things the people of Judah trusted in were empty, just like broken cisterns. Judah had rejected the true God Who alone could bless them. In God’s place they trusted in things which could bring no blessings!