If you’ve ever felt the tension between your current reality and the promises of God’s word, then you’ll relate to Jeremiah. His prophecies reveal God’s wonderful plan for His people and create a yearning for the fullness of redemption.
Jeremiah’s ministry spanned more than 40 years during some of the most chaotic times in the history of God’s people. Jeremiah personally witness the decline of Assyria & Egypt as Babylon rose as the regional superpower. He lived to see the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple. He felt the pain of Exile as the Jews were taken into captivity. Jeremiah himself was not taken to Babylon; instead he was taken hostage by Judean rebels and forced to settle in Egypt.
The book of Jeremiah reflects the chaotic times of the prophet’s ministry and seems to be a collection of anthologies — sometimes committed to writing decades after Jeremiah originally spoke the words. Chapters 1-25, for example, are a second edition of Jeremiah’s original prophecies (the first edition was written on a scroll that Judah’s king had cut up and burned). God’s judgment was even more severe in the second edition than it was in the first!
Jeremiah struggled with his calling, sometimes felt betrayed by God, and suffered greatly even though he was faithful to the Lord. I think Jeremiah would be deeply offended by modern “prosperity” teachers who claim that faithfulness to God results in earthly blessings like power, money and easy living.
Jeremiah’s hope was firmly fixed on the future–and eternal–era of God’s kingdom. The certainty of God’s eternal blessings gave the prophet courage and perseverance in the midst of chaotic times and intense suffering.
It can do the same for you…
Jeremiah 29:10-14 (NLT)
10 This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. 14 I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”