Series: Thru the Bible
Introduction to Jeremiah (the Prophet, not the bullfrog)
Thru the Bible: Jeremiah 36 & 1
Well, there may have been a fabled Jeremiah who might have been a bullfrog, but the one we are learning about and from was an Israelite prophet of 600BC. He was the son of Hilkiah a priest, thus making Jeremiah of the priestly line.
It is quite likely, though not known for certain, that this Hilkiah may have been the High Priest, which would also make Jeremiah’s father the one who found a lost copy of the Book of the Law at the Temple in Jerusalem when King Josiah had commanded the Temple to be refurbished. We read about that back in 2 Kings 22:8. Though also conjecture, it is possible that this Hilkiah’s testimony and perhaps even his teaching may have helped encourage the young King Josiah towards the worship of God.
Jeremiah’s ministry began in about 627BC exactly 13 years into Josiah’s reign and it coincided with the prophetic ministries of both Zephaniah and the prophetess Huldah.
The book of Jeremiah covers the reign of Josiah King of Judah, Jehoiakim his son who was deported to Babylon and on through the 11tyh year of the reign of Josiah’s second son Zedekiah who was placed a regent over Judah by King Nebuchadrezzar.
Now we are going to begin tonight by reading the 36th chapter which we will do again when we get there in succession. The REASON I am doing this is because it gives us the read and history of this book. In other words, IN THIS BOOK is a record of when and why the book was written. So we will begin with that…
Jeremiah 36:1-32, “(1)The LORD spoke to Jeremiah in the fourth year that Jehoiakim son of Josiah was ruling over Judah. (2) “Get a scroll. Write on it everything I have told you to say about Israel, Judah, and all the other nations since I began to speak to you in the reign of Josiah until now. (3) Perhaps when the people of Judah hear about all the disaster I intend to bring on them, they will all stop doing the evil things they have been doing. If they do, I will forgive their sins and the wicked things they have done.” (4) So Jeremiah summoned Baruch son of Neriah. Then, Baruch wrote down in a scroll all of the LORD’s words which he had told to Jeremiah as they came from his mouth. (5) Then Jeremiah told Baruch, “I am no longer allowed to go into the LORD’s temple. (6) So you go there the next time all the people of Judah come in from their towns to fast in the LORD’s temple. Read out loud where all of them can hear you what I told you the LORD said, which you wrote in the scroll. (7) Perhaps then they will ask the LORD for mercy and will all stop doing the evil things they have been doing. For the LORD has threatened to bring great anger and wrath against these people.” (8) So Baruch son of Neriah did exactly what the prophet Jeremiah had told him to do. He read what the LORD had said from the scroll in the temple of the LORD. (9) All the people living in Jerusalem and all the people who came into Jerusalem from the towns of Judah came to observe a fast before the LORD. The fast took place in the ninth month of the fifth year that Jehoiakim son of Josiah was ruling over Judah. (10) At that time Baruch went into the temple of the LORD. He stood in the entrance of the room of Gemariah the son of Shaphan who had been the royal secretary. That room was in the upper court near the entrance of the New Gate. There, where all the people could hear him, he read from the scroll what Jeremiah had said. (11) Micaiah, who was the son of Gemariah and the grandson of Shaphan, heard Baruch read from the scroll everything the LORD had said. (12) He went down to the chamber of the royal secretary in the king’s palace and found all the court officials in session there. Elishama the royal secretary, Delaiah son of Shemaiah, Elnathan son of Achbor, Gemariah son of Shaphan, Zedekiah son of Hananiah, and all the other officials were seated there. (13) Micaiah told them everything he had heard Baruch read from the scroll in the hearing of the people. (14) All the officials sent Jehudi, who was the son of Nethaniah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Cushi, to Baruch. They ordered him to tell Baruch, “Come here and bring with you the scroll you read in the hearing of the people.” So Baruch son of Neriah went to them, carrying the scroll in his hand. (15) They said to him, “Please sit down and read it to us.” So Baruch sat down and read it to them. (16) When they had heard it all, they expressed their alarm to one another. Then they said to Baruch, “We must certainly give the king a report about everything you have read!” (17) Then they asked Baruch, “How did you come to write all these words? Do they actually come from Jeremiah’s mouth?” (18) Baruch answered, “Yes, they came from his own mouth. He dictated all these words to me and I wrote them down in ink on this scroll.” (19) Then the officials said to Baruch, “You and Jeremiah must go and hide. You must not let anyone know where you are.” (20) The officials put the scroll in the room of Elishama, the royal secretary, for safekeeping. Then they went to the court and reported everythin g to the king. (21) The king sent Jehudi to get the scroll. He went and got it from the room of Elishama, the royal secretary. Then he himself read it to the king and all the officials who were standing around him. (22) Since it was the ninth month of the year, the king was sitting in his winter quarters. A fire was burning in the firepot in front of him. (23) As soon as Jehudi had read three or four columns of the scroll, the king would cut them off with a penknife and throw them on the fire in the firepot. He kept doing so until the whole scroll was burned up in the fire. (24) Neither he nor any of his attendants showed any alarm when they heard all that had been read. Nor did they tear their clothes to show any grief or sorrow. (25) The king did not even listen to Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah, who had urged him not to burn the scroll. (26) He also ordered Jerahmeel, who was one of the royal princes, Seraiah son of Azriel, and Shelemiah son of Abdeel to arrest the scribe Baruch and the prophet Jeremiah. However, the LORD hid them. (27) The LORD’s message came to Jeremiah after the king had burned the scroll with the words Baruch had written down at Jeremiah’s dictation. (28) “Get another scroll and write on it everything that was written on the original scroll that King Jehoiakim of Judah burned. (29) Tell King Jehoiakim of Judah, ‘The LORD says, “You burned the scroll. You asked Jeremiah, ‘How dare you write in this scroll that the king of Babylon will certainly come and destroy this land and wipe out all the people and animals on it?’” (30) So the LORD says concerning King Jehoiakim of Judah, “None of his line will occupy the throne of David. His dead body will be thrown out to be exposed to scorching heat by day and frost by night. (31) I will punish him and his descendants and the officials who serve him for the wicked things they have done. I will bring on them, the citizens of Jerusalem, and the people of Judah all the disaster that I threatened to do to them. I will punish them because I threatened them but they still paid no heed.”’” (32) Then Jeremiah got another scroll and gave it to the scribe Baruch son of Neriah. As Jeremiah dictated, Baruch wrote on this scroll everything that had been on the scroll that King Jehoiakim of Judah burned in the fire. They also added on this scroll several other messages of the same kind.”
Now, that we know the how and why of this book and that is MUST be TERRIBLY important in order to be written not only once, but twice…turn with me back to chapter one where we will study the first chapter.
As you are turning, I will tell you that the first 6 chapters contain the call and commission of Jeremiah. As we will read, Jeremiah was a national and international prophet and his first official prophecy was to the people of Judah.
During which time he confronts Judah about…
- Forsaking God in their unfaithfulness
- Warns them of Disaster from the North (that is from Babylon)
- All have sinned
Then we see Jerusalem under attack.
“(1) The following is a record of what Jeremiah son of Hilkiah prophesied. He was one of the priests who lived at Anathoth in the territory of the tribe of Benjamin. (2) The LORD’s message came to him in the thirteenth year that Josiah son of Amon ruled over Judah. (3) It also came in the days of Jehoiakim, son of Josiah, king of Judah, and continued until the eleventh year of Zedekiah, son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the people of Jerusalem were taken into exile in the fifth month of that year.
(4) The LORD’s message came to me,
(5) “Before I formed you in your mother’s womb I chose you. Before you were born I set you apart. I appointed you to be a prophet to the nations.”
- Formed – same word used for forming man out of the dust of the ground
- Chose – means “knew you”, discerned and considered who you were
Set you apart and appointed you – means God set Jeremiah apart as different (holy) and placed him and gave him to the nations as a prophet.
This phrase lays out a doctrine taught in various ways and in different locations through scripture. After we finish this initial account we will look at a few examples of them.
“(6) I answered, “Oh, Sovereign LORD, Really I do not know how to speak well enough for that, for I am too young.”
(7) The LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ But go to whomever I send you and say whatever I tell you. (8) Do not be afraid of those to whom I send you, for I will be with you to protect you,” says the LORD.
(9) Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I will most assuredly give you the words you are to speak for me. (10) Know for certain that I hereby give you the authority to announce to nations and kingdoms that they will be uprooted and torn down, destroyed and demolished, rebuilt and firmly planted.”
God knows the future. He knows all of His creations BEFORE they were ever created. He is directly involved in forming us in the womb. He considers us and with perfect clarity perceives our character and heart and determines the proper course of our lives before we take our first breath. How awesome is our God?!
Concerning David and all humanity
Psalm 22:9-10, “(9) Yes, you are the one who brought me out from the womb and made me feel secure on my mother’s breasts. (10) I have been dependent on you since birth; from the time I came out of my mother’s womb you have been my God.”
Psalm 139:1-18, “(1)O LORD, You examine me and know. (2) You know when I sit down and when I get up; even from far away You understand my motives. (3) You carefully observe me when I travel or when I lie down to rest; You are aware of everything I do.
(4) Certainly my tongue does not frame a word without You, O LORD, being thoroughly aware of it.
(5) You squeeze me in from behind and in front; You place Your hand on me.
(6) Your knowledge is beyond my comprehension; it is so far beyond me, I am unable to fathom it.
(7) Where can I go to escape your Spirit? Where can I flee to escape your presence? (8) If I were to ascend to heaven, You would be there.
I were to sprawl out in Sheol, there You would be.
(9) If I were to fly away on the wings of the dawn, and settle down on the other side of the sea, (10) even there Your hand would guide me, Your right hand would grab hold of me.
(11) If I were to say, “Certainly the darkness will cover me, and the light will turn to night all around me,” (12) even the darkness is not too dark for You to see, and the night is as bright as day; darkness and light are the same to You.
(13) Certainly you made my mind and heart; You wove me together in my mother’s womb. (14) I will give you thanks because Your deeds are awesome and amazing.
You knew me thoroughly; (15) my bones were not hidden from You, when I was made in secret and sewed together in the depths of the earth. [a metaphor for both the womb and sometimes the grave]
(16) Your eyes saw me when I was inside the womb. All the days ordained for me were recorded in Your scroll before one of them came into existence.
(17) How difficult it is for me to fathom Your thoughts about me, O God! How vast is their sum total!
(18) If I tried to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. Even if I finished counting them, I would still have to contend with you.”
Concerning Isaiah the prophet,
Isa. 44:1-2, “Now, listen, Jacob my servant, Israel whom I have chosen!” (2) This is what the LORD, the one who made you, says – the one who formed you in the womb and helps you: “Don’t be afraid, my servant Jacob, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen!”
Isa. 49:1-5, “(1) Listen to me, you coastlands! Pay attention, you people who live far away! The LORD summoned me from birth; he commissioned me when my mother brought me into the world. (2) He made my mouth like a sharp sword, he hid me in the hollow of his hand; he made me like a sharpened arrow, he hid me in his quiver. (3) He said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, through whom I will reveal my splendor.” (4) But I thought, “I have worked in vain; I have expended my energy for absolutely nothing.” But the LORD will vindicate me; my God will reward me. (5) So now the LORD says, the one who formed me from birth to be his servant – he did this to restore Jacob to himself, so that Israel might be gathered to him; and I will be honored in the LORD’s sight, for my God is my source of strength –”
Paul’s testimony of himself to the believers of Galatia –
Gal. 1:15-16, “(15) But when the one who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace was pleased (16) to reveal his Son in me so that I could preach him among the Gentiles, I did not go to ask advice from any human being”
The angel’s testimony of John the Baptist to his father Zachariah,
Luke 1:15, “For he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.”
It is not uncommon for people to think, well that is for people like David, or prophets like Jeremiah, Isaiah or John.
Rom. 8:29,“For those Whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”
“(11) Later the LORD’s message came to me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” I answered, “I see a branch of an almond tree.”
(12) Then the LORD said, “You have observed correctly. This means I am watching to make sure my threats are carried out.”
(13) The LORD’s message came to me a second time, “What do you see?” I answered, “I see a pot of boiling water; it is tipped away from the north.”
Now we are about to see three distinct statements from God which need to be recognized as part of God’s ways, His power and part of His character.
This is important!!!!!
It is very easy to misunderstand God – we ALL do it! We are ALL looking through a glass dimly, so we MUST be careful to pay attention. This is especially true in regard to God and His character.
While God’s covenant with man may change (like the differences between the Old and the New) God Himself remains the same – GOD DOES NOT CHANGE!
So we HAVE to pay attention to when God’s actions are the result of His Character or the requirements of the covenant He has with man. In many cases these will present no difference at all, but in some it will.
Under the Old Covenant – people’s sins were merely covered, they were not forgotten, in fact they were reminded of them annually and nothing could cleanse man’s conscience before God.
Under the New Covenant, all of this changed.
God’s desire for love, mercy and forgiveness has ALWAYS been true, but He was bound by honor and the covenant to deal with sin the way He did under each covenant.
So when we see God doing something or claiming direct responsibility for something we need to pay VERY CLOSE ATTENTION – not only for ourselves and our understanding of God, but also for the sake of others as God’s ministers and representatives. We HAVE to take our responsibility of representation SERIOUSLY and THAT should DRIVE us in humility to study passages like this and not just graze past them.
The next three statements have God declaring…
- What is coming – destruction will break out against all those who live in Judah.
- That God is the One sending it.
- The reason it is coming – it is God carrying out the sentence of a judgement He made some time ago!
Let’s read it…
“(14) Then the LORD said, “From the north destruction will break out on all who live in the land.”
This is from Babylon.
(15) For I will soon summon all the peoples of the kingdoms of the north,” says the LORD. “They will come and their kings will set up their thrones near the entrances of the gates of Jerusalem. They will attack all the walls surrounding it, and all the towns in Judah.”
They will come and they will prevail. As God’s people we need to remember God’s sovereign hand regarding us – especially nations (and the body of Christ is referred to as a nation – or a “people”).
Deut. 32:30 tells us, “How could one man pursue a thousand, or two put ten thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them, unless the LORD had given them up?”
When things of this nature happen, God is NOT playing a passive role but is directly involved.
It goes on to say why…
“(16) IN THIS WAY I WILL PASS SENTENCEon the people of Jerusalem and Judah because of all their wickedness. For they rejected me and offered sacrifices to other gods, worshiping what they made with their own hands.”
This was a sentencing of a judgment made regarding Israel. Their destruction was due to their rejection of God through idolatry. The WAY it came was due to King Hezekiah. You may remember that back in 2Kings, Isaiah prophesied this destruction would come from Babylon due to this kings actions. Let’s read it….
2Kings 20:12-18,“(12) At that time Merodach-baladan son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a gift to Hezekiah since he heard that Hezekiah had been sick. (13) Hezekiah gave them a hearing and showed them his whole treasure house–the silver, the gold, the spices, and the precious oil–and his armory, and everything that was found in his treasuries. There was nothing in his palace and in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them. (14) Then the prophet Isaiah came to King Hezekiah and asked him, “What did these men say, and where did they come to you from?” Hezekiah replied, “They came from a distant country, from Babylon.” (15) Isaiah asked, “What have they seen in your palace?” Hezekiah answered, “They have seen everything in my palace. There isn’t anything in my treasuries that I didn’t show them.” (16) Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the LORD: (17) ‘The time will certainly come when everything in your palace and all that your fathers have stored up until this day will be carried off to Babylon; nothing will be left,’ says the LORD. (18) ‘Some of your descendants who come from you will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’”
“(15) Nebuchadnezzar deported Jehoiachin to Babylon. Also, he took the king’s mother, the king’s wives, his officials, and the leading men of the land into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. (16) The king of Babylon also brought captive into Babylon all 7,000 fighting men and 1,000 craftsmen and metalsmiths–all strong and fit for war.
(17) Then the king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, king in his place and changed his name to Zedekiah.
(18) Zedekiah was 21 years old when he became king; he reigned 11 years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah; she was from Libnah.
(19) Zedekiah did what was evil in the LORD’s sight just as Jehoiakim had done.
(20) Because of the LORD’s anger, it came to the point in Jerusalem and Judah that He finally banished them from His presence.
Then, Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.”
The reason I spent time with this was not only to show you the continuity of scripture and the faithfulness of God to His word, but also to teach you a few other truths.
- God’s faithfulness is NOT just TO us, but regarding His word. That word may be FOR us or AGAINST us, but His faithfulness is absolute.
- This is given testimony to in the second letter of Paul to Timothy, though it is often understood incorrectly – just like the previous passage of 1 putting a thousand to flight. In 2Tim. 2:11-13 it says – “(11) Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; (12) if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; (13) if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” This means that God is faithful regardless of our actions, but we can be on the good side of that if we will remain faithful to Him.
- God’s judgments are NOT always immediate and in fact when dealing with nations it rarely is! We know that the kingdoms established in Canaan had been there between 500 – 1000 years before God gave the land to Israel. The Bible tells us in Acts that God give nations a place to dwell and time to live there SO THAT they might seek the Lord and find Him though He is NOT far from any one of them. The Cananites had possessed that land for nearly 1000 years before God judge them and gave their land to Israel – that is a LOT of time to repent! We see God telling Abraham that his descendants would take the land, but that the time allotted for the Ammorites to repent had not yet fully expired. God was giving them another 400 years time. Let’s read it…
- Gen. 15:13-16, “(13) Then the LORD said to Abram, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign country. They will be enslaved and oppressed for four hundred years. (14) But I will execute judgment on the nation that they will serve. Afterward they will come out with many possessions. (15) But as for you, you will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age. (16) In the fourth generation your descendants will return here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its limit.”
- God practices an economy in regard to His power. He often settles two or more issues with one judgment. Like with the Israelites and the Ammorites above. So we need to bear in mind that in any one action of God – YOU are not the ONLY thing on His radar!
- God is ABLE to direct the hearts of people, kings and kingdoms to accomplish His will – even when they do not realize it, recognize Him as God nor serve Him.
(17) “But you, Jeremiah, get yourself ready! Go and tell these people everything I instruct you to say. Do not be terrified of them, or I will give you good reason to be terrified of them.
(18) I, the LORD, hereby promise to make you as strong as a fortified city, an iron pillar, and a bronze wall. You will be able to stand up against all who live in the land, including the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests and all the people of the land. (19) They will attack you but they will not be able to overcome you, for I will be with you to rescue you,” says the LORD.”
I am reminded that God has said the same thing to you and I.
- John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
- 1Jn. 4:4, “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
- 1Jn. 5:4, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”
I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
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