God called Jeremiah at a young age, telling him that before He formed him in the womb, He knew Jeremiah-consecrated and appointed him a prophet-before he was even born (Jer. 1:4-10). Jeremiah was concerned about his immaturity, but God commanded him to go and speak, and placed His word in Jeremiah’s mouth. From the very beginning God told Jeremiah that He watched over His word to perform it (verse 12), and that He would use Jeremiah to pronounce judgment over His people.
Sounds like a fun calling…Obviously God knows it was going to be rough as He tells Jeremiah in verse 17, “Now, gird up your loins, and arise and speak to them all which I command you. Bo not be dismayed before them, lest I dismay you before them.” He encourages Jeremiah in verse 18 by saying that He had strengthened him. God then tells him in verse 19, “‘and behold they will fight against you, but they will not overcome you, for I am with you to deliver you,’ declares the Lord.”Israel had exchanged their glory for that which does not profit, chasing after other Gods. Israel had done two evils according to God. First they had forsaken Him, and secondly, they had hewn their own cisterns instead of taking His living water. The word that Jeremiah had to give wasn’t an easy one. It wasn’t “I haven’t seen you in Church lately,” or, “you need to read your Bible more.” No, he was to declare them as “harlots, prostitutes, and faithless adulterers. He had to tell them that God had given them their divorce papers, because they had even polluted the land.
Jeremiah did it! That is what amazes me. I a time when false prophets were the norm, he chose to do what God told him, to say what God said-knowing that the people would not listen to him (Jer. 7:27). God even warned him in 11:18-19 that the people were plotting to kill him. Not only was he responsible for telling God’s chosen people that punishment was coming, he had to do all of these strange object lessons to prove his point. He did it all knowing that they wouldn’t turn their hearts to God, knowing full well that they were going to be given over into the hands of their enemy and slaughtered. Why would he do this fruitless task? Because God told him to, plain and simple. He did complain, and even cursed the day he was born. He cried and lamented the plight of his people and at one time pleaded for them. But God had had enough.
Jeremiah was beaten, cast into a cistern of mud, put in stocks. He was mocked and was made a “laughingstock” to all of those around him. Jeremiah 20:7-9 says, “O Lord, you deceived me, and I was deceived, you overpowered ma and prevailed. I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me. Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the Lord has brought me insult and reproach all day long. But if I say, “I will not mention Him or speak any more in His name,” His word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” Yes, he had his moments of pity partying. But let’s move on to verse 11, “But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced; their dishonor will never be forgotten.”
God showed Jeremiah the destruction of His people. But He also showed Jeremiah their salvation. “’The days are coming,” declared the Lord, “when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In His days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which He will be called: The Lord Our Righteousness.’” God never leaves us hopeless. True to His promise, He preserved Jeremiah as well as a remnant of His people and sent the Savior.
So consider Jeremiah…What has God asked you to do? Did you think it was a hard thing? Do you still?
God called David, “A man after my own heart.” He made a promise to this young shepherd-turned King, to always keep one of David’s heirs on the throne. This line started with David’s son Solomon and went all the way to Jesus (who still happens to occupy the throne and hold the title of “King.”) Starting with Solomon, David’s heirs were not faithful to continue in their father’s footsteps. During Solomon’s reign he worshipped false Gods and led the people astray. So God separated His Chosen People into two groups, Judah who kept the throne of David and ruled in Jerusalem and Israel who ruled in Samaria. Israel had a string of leaders who mostly fought for the throne, while Judah continued to have David’s seed as their kings.
Read Kings and Chronicles as well as the prophets and you will quickly see that the very people that God had chosen to have as His own, turned their backs on Him. They built altars to foreign gods, worshipped and sacrificed to false gods; they even profaned the temple that David had dreamed of building for the Lord. They went as far as even sacrificing their own children to Molech, by throwing them into the mouth of the idol, which was a fiery furnace. Over and over through the lineage of those kings from Judah and Israel we read how they “did evil in the sight of the Lord,” and led God’s people to do the same.
Every now and then there was a light in the darkness, a prophet who really heard from God, a king who “did good like his father David.” They were few and far between and all but one, never removed one hundred percent of the idols and temple of the false gods, or restored the temple worship, sacrifices and the law. Only Josiah, who was only eight years old when he became king, did. He tore them down, pulled the altars to false gods out of the temple, crushed them into dust and let them wash away in the river. Then at the ripe age of sixteen he is given the book of the law that had been sitting unused in the temple. Once again God’s children renewed their faith in Him and they repented and followed the practices set up by God.
At his death, the next king, his very own son, “did evil in the sight of the Lord.” I read all of this and the one thing that stands out the most (no, not the stupidity of the people) is God’s patience! If I was Him, I would have given up after Solomon…So why did He keep trying? Why did He come when they remembered to call on Him? Because of the promise He had made to King David, all those generations ago, generations of unfaithful, hard hearted, stiff necked and rebellious people, that a son of David would always sit on the throne.
So even in His anger, when He used other nations to chastise the people and scatter them from their own land, He preserves the seed of David and a “Remnant” of His people. God was faithful to an unfaithful people. He preserved the line from David all the way until Jesus, the Son of David.
So what has God promised you? He is faithful. If He said it, He will bring it to pass. It might not always look like its coming, or come when we want it to, but it’s there. He is always watching over his word to perform it, (Jeremiah 1:12). Beware- don’t sin as the children of Israel and Judah did and expect God to move on your behalf. He clearly states in Zephaniah 3:12, that the remnant He preserved were, “A humble and lowly people and they will take refuge in the name of the Lord.” Those are the ones who inherit the promises.
Gods and Kings by Lynn Austin was a great Christian fiction read. It tells the story of a time in the history of Judah when they had turned their backs on God and even brought false gods into the temple. It includes biblical history with creative fiction and spans a few generations. There are more in the series and I will probably read them all. Lynn Austin knows how to tell a good story. I give this book 4 stars.