Today is Day 60 in our journey through the Bible in 90 days.
We’re 2/3 of the way done with the Bible, can you believe it?! It may not feel like you’re going too fast right now because we’re right in the middle of the “major” prophets. Their books are long, but real soon, we’ll be blowing through multiple books per day! Bring it, minor prophets!
Jeremiah is a bit of a sad read. He’s called “the weeping prophet,” and with good reason. God gave him a very hard message to proclaim. Whereas Isaiah’s message was “repent or God will judge,” Jeremiah’s was more along the lines of, “since you haven’t repented, God is going to judge. Soon.” It was a doom and gloom message. Understandably, Jeremiah wasn’t the most popular guy in his day. People often don’t like the truth.
Throughout the book, Jeremiah records the way that he was abused: beaten, falsely imprisoned, left to die, slandered, abandoned, and more. At one point, God tells Jeremiah to write down all the words that God had been giving him to say. So, he painstakingly obeys. By the end of the chapter, the king’s men have gotten their hands on Jeremiah’s handwritten scroll, and they’re ripping it apart, paragraph by paragraph. JERKS!
To make matters worse, Jeremiah couldn’t go home to the comfort of his wife and kids…because he didn’t have any. In Chapter 16, God commands Jeremiah to not get married or raise a family. After all, proclaiming impending judgment while handing out wedding and baby shower invitations sends a mixed signal. God wanted him to stay focused and for the people to realize how serious Jeremiah (and God) was.
Like Isaiah, there are messages of hope sprinkled throughout the book…
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11 (probably the most well-known verse in the book)
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. – Jeremiah 17:7
It may be that their plea for mercy will come before the Lord, and that every one will turn from his evil way… – Jeremiah 36:7
Although there are glimmers of hope, the overarching theme is that God’s judgment is coming and they’d better be ready. He wasn’t kidding either – judgment happens in the last chapter of the book. The book ends with Jerusalem itself being burned and destroyed and its people taking a blood bath…
In the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month—that was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon—Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard, who served the king of Babylon, entered Jerusalem. And he burned the house of the Lord, and the king’s house and all the houses of Jerusalem; every great house he burned down. – Jeremiah 52:12-13
Jeremiah was the warning that judgment was coming, then the next book, Lamentations, is the mourning after judgment did come.
Although Jeremiah is a heavy read, it’s a good reminder. God doesn’t just let His kids run wild – He loves us too much for that. He had mercy on them for years and years – generation after generation, but the time finally came for Him to prove to them that He meant business. He doesn’t take sin lightly and He doesn’t share His glory.
The great thing however, is the passage I mentioned above – Jeremiah 29. Although God has plans to severely punish His people, He wasn’t done with them – He also had plans for them after their punishment was over. He wanted to restore and revitalize what had been broken down and wrecked by their rebellion.
God isn’t done with you either. Philippians 1:6 reminds us that He finishes what He starts. He doesn’t do leftovers. Be reminded today that God does chastise His children, but it’s because He loves you and wants something so much better for you.
Enjoy your catch up day – Lamentations and the beginning of Ezekiel is next!