Many of the Old Testament prophets capture the problem at hand and the word of the Lord given to the prophet about the issue. We might get a few fleeting glimpses of the prophet, but they are minimal, with the emphasis focused on the Lord plus the person or people at hand.
In the book of Jeremiah, we get the issues and the Word of the Lord as with the other prophets. We also get the heart and mind of the prophet, how he felt about the situations at hand, and first-hand accounts of how he was treated (mostly mistreated).
From our look at Jeremiah’s ministry timeline, we know he actively ministered for over forty years. That’s forty years of waking up every morning and telling his fellow Israelites that they were disobedient to the Lord’s commands, and pleading with them to turn from their sinful ways and return to the God of their forefathers.
Jeremiah would, from a human perspective, be the poster child for how not to win friends and influence people. Jeremiah’s job satisfaction was not a concern for God. Winning back the hearts and minds of the Israelites, as well as warning them of the consequences of their current self-destructive path was God’s one and only concern.
Jeremiah captures God’s words and his thoughts in two primary forms – standard prose (“thus says the Lord”) and poetry (not the mushy stuff, but often God’s Words in poetic form). Part of the book of Jeremiah are in a first-person narrative while others were recorded by someone else (presumably Baruch, Jeremiah’s scribe).
In addition to the book attributed to his name, Jeremiah also recorded the book of Lamentations. In this subsequent book, Jeremiah laments (expresses sorrow and mourning) over the fall of Jerusalem, the great city. We see more of Jeremiah’s heart in Lamentations as he weeps over the nation’s sin and subsequent destruction. The book of Lamentations has sometimes been referred to as the funeral song for Jerusalem.
In both Lamentations and Jeremiah, we hear the hard words of warning as well as the tender heart of the Lord toward His people. God knows that any path that leads away from Him ultimately leads to Israel’s self-destruction. Through Jeremiah, God shows His heart of love, care, and concern to the Israelites.
May we observe, listen, and learn from our aged predecessors in the faith, heed the ancient warnings, and turn our hearts as a nation (whichever country in which we live) back to God.
The same God, who had a broken heart toward His people in Jeremiah’s day, is the same God who offered His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins and make a way for us to spend eternity with Him.
May revival begin with me, and with you.
And may it begin today.