Understanding Jeremiah’s Storyline and Powerful Principles (Come, Follow Me: Jeremiah 1-29) – powered by Happy Scribe
How much do you know about the prophet Jeremiah? If you’re like the average person, you might not know a lot, even though the Book of Jeremiah is the longest book in the entire Bible. Although there is much to learn from Jeremiah, we sometimes don’t study his life as carefully as we could. Part of the challenge is that the Book of Jeremiah doesn’t appear in chronological order, making it more difficult to understand. In this video, I’m going to tell you the story of Jeremiah.
Along the way, we’ll see many lifechanging principles. I pray that the Holy Ghost will be with us for the next few minutes, and that inspired ideas will come to your mind of how you can apply lessons from Jeremiah’s life. In about the year 635 BC. Jeremiah was called to be a prophet. God called Jeremiah, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee, and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
I love this assurance from the Lord I knew you before you were born. That same thing is true for you and me. We are not in a short term relationship with the Lord. He has known us since before the beginning. But even with these encouraging words from the Lord, jeremiah didn’t feel up to the mission he had been given.
He said, I cannot speak, for I am a child. But the Lord reassured him, say not I am a child, for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee. And whatsoever I command thee, thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces, for I am with thee to deliver thee. The Lord touched Jeremiah’s mouth and said to him, behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.
Girteth thy loins and arise and speak unto them all that I command thee. Be not dismayed at their faces. They shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee, for I am with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee. Like many other prophets, Jeremiah felt unable to rise to the task the Lord had given him. I’m a child, jeremiah said.
Nevertheless, with the Lord’s encouragement, Jeremiah went forth to preach. When you feel you’re not strong enough to do what God has asked you to do, remember his words to Jeremiah I am with you. When I was younger, I heard a word that I thought was unusual. The word is backsliding. It means to fall back into sin.
This is actually one of Jeremiah’s favorite words. He uses it more than all other scriptural authors combined. Repeatedly, Jeremiah speaks for the Lord on this topic, saying, return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord, and I will not cause my anger to fall upon you, for I am merciful. Turn o backsliding. Children.
Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backsliding, all of us backslide or fall back into temptation. I love the lord’s consistent invitation to return, to keep going even as we stumble, he will heal us one day. Jeremiah was commanded by God to stand in the gate of the temple in Jerusalem and proclaim a public warning to the people that they needed to repent. First. Jeremiah offered hope.
Saying. If you truly amend your ways and your doings. If you truly act justly one with another. If you do not oppress the foreigner. The orphan and the widow.
Or shed innocent blood in this place. And if you do not go after other gods. Then I will dwell with you in this place. In the land that I gave to your ancestors forever and ever? But the Lord knew that the people weren’t going to repent.
Through Jeremiah, the Lord asked, will you steal, murder, commit adultery, square falsely, make offerings to Ball, and go after other gods that you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house which is called by My name, and say we are safe only to go on doing all these abominations? In other words, the people were saying, we have the temple, so even though we’re doing wrong things, God will deliver us. In response, Jeremiah prophesied that the temple in Jerusalem would be destroyed, which it was just a few years later. Through Jeremiah, the Lord said, has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your sight? Note that phrase, den of robbers.
In Matthew 21, Jesus alludes to this passage from Jeremiah as he cleanses the temple. When Jesus says, It is written, my house shall be called the house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves. We can see an allusion to Jeremiah’s words, giving the message that the temple in Jesus’time would soon be destroyed, just as the temple was destroyed in Jeremiah’s day. The Lord told Jeremiah to continue preaching, even though God told Jeremiah that the people would not hearken to his words. Think about that for a minute.
How would you like God to tell you, go preach to the people for the next 30 years, but just so you know, no one’s going to listen to you. That’s a tough mission call. Sometimes we might not realize what Jeremiah’s willingness to prophesy cost him. The people of Jeremiah’s hometown saw his life saying, do not prophesy in the name of the Lord, or you will die by our hands. Even Jeremiah’s family members abandoned him in this difficult time.
Jeremiah said to the Lord, why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease? You are always on their lips, but far from their hearts. I can sympathize with Jeremiah. He didn’t want to be called as a prophet.
He’s been diligent doing everything God asks of him, and the result is that everybody, including his family, hates him. I’d be discouraged too. But God responds to Jeremiah, saying, if thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how can thou contend with the horses? And if in the land of peace were in thou trustest they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan, in other words, the Lord says, Jeremiah, this is only the beginning of the trials you’ll face. Jeremiah preached for decades, warning the people of Jerusalem to repent and prophesying that if they did not, they would be overtaken by Babylon.
In about the year 605 BC, jeremiah was told to write a book that contained all the words that God had spoken unto Jeremiah since the beginning of his ministry, so that perhaps the House of Judah might return from their sins. A man named Baruch acted as a scribe for Jeremiah, and they completed writing out a copy of the book. Think of how much effort it took to create that manuscript. Can you see Jeremiah and Baruch working together tirelessly to create a book they hoped would cause people to deeply change? Think about a project that you’ve worked really hard on, one where you’ve poured out all your heart and soul.
That’s what Jeremiah is doing with this book. Once it was completed, Jeremiah asked Baruch to go and read the book at the temple so that the people would hear the word of the Lord and repent. Some of the leaders heard Baruch reading the words of the book and were concerned. They took the book from Baruch and brought it to the king, who was sitting in front of a burning fire. After hearing some of the words from the book, the king used his knife to cut the book into little pieces and burned them.
How would you feel if you were Jeremiah? You’ve worked nonstop to do what God asks you to do, and it was a complete failure. Your book was burned. After this happened, God told Jeremiah to rewrite the book. I might have said, God, if you wanted the book, why did you allow the first one to be burned?
But Jeremiah didn’t complain. He and Baruch rewrote all the words of the book, which Johayakim, King of Judah, had burned in the fire. And there were added besides unto them many like words. I love that phrase. They were added besides unto them many like words.
Jeremiah didn’t quit when the king burned his book, he not only kept going, he started going even harder than he had done previously. One interesting thing about Jeremiah’s preaching is the unusual object lessons he sometimes uses. For example, Jeremiah was instructed by God to go to a potter’s house. Jeremiah went and saw that the potter was making a clay vessel. The vessel didn’t turn out properly, and so the potter used the clay to remake a new vessel.
God gave an interpretation of this, saying, can I not do with you a house of Israel, just as this potter has done? Says the Lord. Just like the clay in the potter’s hands, so are you in my hand, O House of Israel. If the people of Israel didn’t repent, god would have to reshape them through serious trials. On another occasion, the Lord told Jeremiah to get a pottery jug and to take it to the elders of the people at the city gate and say, hear ye the word of the Lord.
O kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel. Behold, I will bring evil upon this place because the people have forsaken me. After uttering these ominous words, jeremiah smashed the jug onto the ground and said, thus saith the Lord of hosts. Even so, I will break this people and this city as one breaketh a potter’s vessel that cannot be made whole again. In response to Jeremiah’s prophesying, a temple priest hit Jeremiah and put him in stocks by the temple.
Think of the humiliation and suffering Jeremiah is experiencing. He’s doing what God told him to do, and his life is getting harder, not easier. Jeremiah poured out his soul to God in frustration because the people mocked him daily. Things were so bad that Jeremiah wanted to quit being a prophet, but Jeremiah couldn’t stop. He said, God’s word was in my heart as a burning fire.
Shut up in my bones. And I could not stay ponder that phrase. God’s Word was in my heart as a burning fire. In my bones. I pray that God’s word will burn in my heart just like it did in Jeremiah’s.
Well, in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah, at about the same time Lehi was called to leave Jerusalem, jeremiah was told to put a wooden yolk upon his neck and to wear it. This was to symbolize that Judah would soon be under the yoke of bondage to Babylon. One day, Jeremiah was wearing this yoke in the temple when a false prophet named Hannaniah proclaimed that God had revealed that the yoke of Babylon would, in fact, be broken. In other words, Hannaniah’s prophecy was the opposite of Jeremiah’s. To prove his point, Hannah took the yoke that Jeremiah was wearing and broke it.
Hannah and I said, just as the yoke Jeremiah was wearing has been broken, within two years, I will break the yoke of oppression from all the nations now subject to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Jeremiah later said to Hannan, you have broken a wooden yoke, but you have replaced it with a yoke of iron. The Lord of Heaven’s armies. The God of Israel says, I have put a yoke of iron on the necks of all these nations, forcing them into slavery under King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Jeremiah prophesied that Hannah and I would die that year, and that prophecy came to pass.
This was a difficult time. Babylon had already taken captives from Judah, and it seemed like they would soon conquer the city. The king zedekaiah sent men to Jeremiah to inquire of the Lord. What would happen with Babylon. The word of the Lord that Jeremiah sent back was that if Zedekai would surrender, then he and the people would survive.
Otherwise, the inhabitants of Jerusalem would die. Even with Jeremiah’s encouragement, Zedekai was too fearful to follow the Lord’s counsel. In about 587 BC, babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah continued to preach the words God put into his heart. Jeremiah told the people, everyone who stays in Jerusalem will die from war, famine or disease, but those who surrender to the Babylonians will live. Some of the king’s officials heard Jeremiah and said to the king, sir, this man must die.
That kind of talk will undermine the morale of the few fighting men we have left, as well as that of all the people. This man is a traitor. King zedekiah agreed. All right, he said, do as you like. I can’t stop you.
I see a connection here between Jeremiah and Jesus. Jeremiah only does what the Lord has told him to do. He is arrested, officials demand his death, and the ruler who could have intervened does nothing. Jesus did only what his father told him to do. He was arrested, officials demand his death, and Pilate did not stop it.
Unlike Jesus, however, Jeremiah was not killed at that time. Although the officials threw Jeremiah into a muddy dungeon and left him to die, jeremiah was rescued by a courageous man from Ethiopia. The following year, the Babylonian forces captured Jerusalem. Zedakaiah tried to escape, but was captured. The King of Babylon killed Zedekaiah’s sons in front of him and then took out Zedakaiah’s eyes and carried him captive to Babylon.
While many in Jerusalem were killed or taken captive, some people remained in the land. A man named Johann led a group of remaining Jews, and they approached Jeremiah to ask whether they should remain in Jerusalem or flee to Egypt. Jeremiah said that he would inquire of the Lord, and the people promised. Whether we like it or not, we will obey the Lord our God, to whom we are sending you with our plea, for if we obey him, everything will turn out well for us. After ten days, the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah that the people should remain in the land of Judah.
Even though the response was clear and the people had promised to do whatever God told Jeremiah, johannes claimed that Jeremiah was lying, and so Johanne and his followers went to Egypt, taking Jeremiah with them. That story makes me wonder if I ever do something similar. Do I ever say, Lord, give me guidance, and then when I receive inspiration, I just decide to do my own ideas anyways? In any event, that’s where the story of Jeremiah comes to an end, at least as far as the Bible goes. What happened to Jeremiah in Egypt?
We don’t know for sure. According to later tradition, Jeremiah was stoned to death for preaching a message that the people didn’t want to hear. Although this short video hasn’t covered all the details of Jeremiah’s life, I hope you’ve learned a few things about him. Because of Jeremiah, we have comforting words from the Lord, like, before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee and I am with thee. Jeremiah’s example can motivate us to keep going in the face of difficulty.
When his book was burned, he not only rewrote it, he made it better. Jeremiah paid the price to have God’s word in his heart. Like a burning fire in his bones, jeremiah shows us that we can resist peer pressure even when it’s hard. And even though Jeremiah did so many things right, he still experienced extreme hardships. Jeremiah reminds us that happy endings don’t always come in mortality.
Sometimes when we follow God, things get harder, not easier. Sometimes happily ever after doesn’t come until the next life. But for those who trust in the Lord, that happy ending will eventually come. We have this promise from the Lord. I know the plans I have for you.
Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future. To learn more about Jeremiah, including how you can watch a movie about about his life, please click the link in the description.