Sunday, August 11, 2013

Jeremiah -- an Introduction

Jeremiah comes from a priestly family and was born and raised a few miles north of Jerusalem. Jeremiah was born about 640 BC and began his prophetic ministry at a young age. Jeremiah speaks God’s prophetic word in Jerusalem for forty (40) years, through the reigns of Judah’s last five (5) kings. His prophecies continue through the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple in 587 BC and continue shortly thereafter. The political backdrop of Jeremiah is that the Assyrian empire has fallen and the land of Judah finds itself in the crossfire between the new major power to the north, Babylon, and the traditional power to the south, Egypt. Jeremiah warns of the coming disaster and appeals in vain to the leaders and the people to repent and turn back to God. The book was primarily written by Jeremiah and his disciple/assistant Baruch.
The main theme of the book is that the impending destruction of the city of Jerusalem and the temple therein is part of God’s plan for Israel’s redemption. God wills this destruction as punishment for the idolatry of the people and the apostasy of the nation’s leaders. The major consequence of Jeremiah’s writing is a maturing of the people’s faith; he teaches that Judah can survive, even without the sanctuary in Jerusalem.

Jeremiah can be outlined as follows:

·         Jeremiah 1:1-3             Title page
·         Jeremiah 1:4-19           Jeremiah’s call and beginning of his career
·         Jeremiah 2:1-37           Israel’s apostasy, a fateful error
·         Jeremiah 3:1-10           A persistently unfaithful people
·         Jeremiah 3:11-4:2        Invitation to return and a promise of the Messiah
·         Jeremiah 4:3-4             Peril for stubborn disobedience
·         Jeremiah 4:5-31           More about the devastating foe from the north
·         Jeremiah 5:1-31           The calamities are deserved
·         Jeremiah 6:1-30           The calamity is near
·         Jeremiah 7:1-10:25      False religion and its punishment
·         Jeremiah 11:1-15:9      Warnings and punishments
·         Jeremiah 15:10-21       The prophet’s lament and God’s response
·         Jeremiah 16:1-9           Jeremiah the solitary prophet
·         Jeremiah 16:10-21       Mingled threat and promise
·         Jeremiah 17:1-18         Observations and prayers
·         Jeremiah 17:19-27       Importance of Sabbath rest
·         Jeremiah 18:1-17         Lesson from the potter
·         Jeremiah 18:18-23       A private prayer
·         Jeremiah 19:1-20:6      Dramatic pronouncement and consequences
·         Jeremiah 20:7-13         A personal private prayer
·         Jeremiah 20:14-18       Inner fury
·         Jeremiah 21:1-23:8      The kings are denounced
·         Jeremiah 23:9-40         Concerning prophets and prophecy
·         Jeremiah 24:1-10         Two baskets of figs
·         Jeremiah 25:1-14         Ineffective warnings
·         Jeremiah 25:15-38       Worldwide devastation
·         Jeremiah 26:1-24         Jeremiah’s arrest and release
·         Jeremiah 27:1-22         Jeremiah declares Nebuchadnezzar’s success
·         Jeremiah 28:1-17         Two types of prophets in conflict
·         Jeremiah 29:1-32         A letter to the exiles
·         Jeremiah 30:1-31:40    Hope for the restoration of Jerusalem
·         Jeremiah 32:1-44         Jeremiah’s confidence in a restored Judah
·         Jeremiah 33:1-26         More comforting thoughts
·         Jeremiah 34:1-7           Warning to Zedekiah about his captivity
·         Jeremiah 34:8-22         The evils of slavery
·         Jeremiah 35:1-19         A lesson in loyalty
·         Jeremiah 36:1-32         Jeremiah, amide difficulties, records his words
·         Jeremiah 37:1-10         Jeremiah disappoints the king
·         Jeremiah 37:11-16       Jeremiah is accused of desertion and imprisoned
·         Jeremiah 37:17-21       Jeremiah speaks bluntly
·         Jeremiah 38:1-13         Jeremiah is charged with sedition
·         Jeremiah 38:14-28        Zedekiah consults with the prophet
·         Jeremiah 39:1-14         Jeremiah is spared when Jerusalem falls
·         Jeremiah 39:15-18       Jeremiah praised Abed-melech
·         Jeremiah 40:1-6           Jeremiah after the capture of Jerusalem
·         Jeremiah 40:7-41:18    Assassination of Gedaliah
·         Jeremiah 42:1-43:7      Fugitives consult Jeremiah
·         Jeremiah 43:8-44:30     Jeremiah in Egypt
·         Jeremiah 45:1-5           The experience of Baruch
·         Jeremiah 46:1-51:64    Heathen nations will be destroyed
·         Jeremiah 52:1-34         Zedekiah’s end, Jerusalem’s fall, deportation and                                                     Jehoichin’s release

Key Lesson: The externals of religion (the Temple, sacrificial system, etc) are a means to an end. The people have turned them into ends in and of themselves. Religion and religious rituals are not what matters. What matters the most are the people’s relationship with and faithfulness to God and obedience to His commandments.

1 comment:

Diwakar said...

Dear Dr.Bj,

So good to know you through your profile on the blogger. I am glad to stop by your blog "Thoughts from Dr. Bj" and the post on it of dated 11th August 2013 " Jeremiah- an introduction" is going to be an interesting study on Jeremiah for Bible students. I am also in the Pastoral ministry for last 33 yrs in the great city of Mumbai, India a city with great contrast where richest of rich and the poorest of poor live. We reach out to the poorest of poor with the love of Christ to bring healing to the broken hearted and to give them new hope, life, purpose and future. We also encourage young people as well as adults from the West to come on a short term missions trip to work with us. Since you are a Pastor of the Church I would love to see that your church young people come on a short term missions trip to work with us. My email id is : dhwankhede(at)gmail(dot)com and my name is Diwakar Wankhede. I am also going to write on your email id so that you would open it. Some time I do not open the email that come from strangers with the fear of having spam and hence I am informing you before hand.