Monday, November 9, 2009


“For twenty-three years--from the thirteenth year of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah until this very day--the word of the LORD has come to me and I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened. And though the LORD has sent all his servants the prophets to you again and again, you have not listened or paid any attention,” Prophet Jeremiah declared angrily. The disheartened man of God was the last call of Yahweh to the stiff-necked people of Judah. The cup of God’s wrath against Judah was almost tilted to pouring.

Jeremiah was called to be a voice of God in an unprecedented time of rebellion. It was even dangerous to live a righteous life, what’s more, to be a prophet. Time was so bad that Jeremiah himself was so overwhelmed by it that he fell into a short depression. His heartfelt prayer for his beloved nation often bounced back from the brazen heavenly roof. God told him not to pray for this people anymore, and said even if Moses and Samuel were to stand before him, his heart would not go out to them. Jeremiah felt as if a knife had plunged right into his heart. But the Lord restored his prophet gently, asking Jeremiah to repent from deep anger and a sense of hopelessness.

When Jeremiah started out, God told him how he had given a certificate of divorce to Israel, the northern nation. It was supposedly to be an object lesson to Judah but alas, it was taken without even a tinge of fear. “Faithless Israel is more righteous than unfaithful Judah,” God spoke to the prophet, signifying a more drastic judgment soon to be unleashed. Then, the merciful God declared through Jeremiah what seemed to be the last call for reason, "Return, faithless Israel. I will frown on you no longer, for I am merciful. I will not be angry forever. Only acknowledge your guilt-- you have rebelled against the LORD your God, you have scattered your favours to foreign gods under every spreading tree, and have not obeyed me.”

King Josiah’s reform during the ministries of Jeremiah and Zephaniah did prompt some changes but it was too little too late. Kings after Josiah, officials, priests, prophets and people were all responsible for the impending wrath. The remnant concept was conceived prior to the destruction of Israel, but under Jeremiah’s ministry, it was prominent and clear. The prophet saw in a vision from God two baskets of figs, one very good and the other rotten. The bad figs represented deadly and fearful wrath of God to be poured out on Zedekiah, the last king of Judah, its officials and all those who sinned against him. There would be no escape! Then God told Jeremiah about the good figs, “The exiles from Judah whom I sent away from this place to the land of Babylonians, my eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land.” In fact, it even had a time frame for their punishment, a whopping 70-year exile. It was the turning point for Jeremiah, widely known as the weeping prophet, to continue to trust God. With confidence, Jeremiah even bought a field in preparation for the return of the exiles.

His prophecies of doom did not augur well with kings and often followed with anxiety of death and imprisonment. Their perception was contrary to a 'weak stance' taken by Jeremiah that the invincible Yahweh could let Judah be taken into exile by a foreign nation. The great irony was that the kings of Judah did harm to prophet Jeremiah while the Babylonians showed mercy to him. Finally, the time came for the end of a great era of the Davidic kingdom, for the time being. Not only doom politically, when the temple was burned to the ground and all the articles taken, it was also a religious calamity.

But God preserved Jeremiah and shielded him from being taken from Jerusalem in the aftermath of the Babylonian defeat of Judah. From there, he sent a letter and encouraged the remnant.

“This is what the LORD says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. I will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."

The remnant theology was not only settled with the return of the exiles from Babylon, it would stretch out even to the final days where a righteous Branch, sprout from David’s line would come. “In those days, Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness,” Jeremiah proclaimed God’s Word like a fire trapped inside him! As promised, God would restore the kingdom of David to its greatest heights one day!

What would Prophet Jeremiah say to us if he were still alive today?

1. We do not know everything about what God is doing but we can trust Him in everything.
2. If God takes away every consequence of sins, we will forever live in darkness.
3. God is not mocked. We will reap what we sow.
4. The truths of God must be proclaimed even though the whole world may go against them.
5. God always plans the best for us, even sometimes we may not like it. It helps us mature!

Next: Prophet Habakkuk


  1. "If God take away every consequence of sins, we will forever live in darkness."

    A poignant message from the weeping prophet. My own soul is heavy with His message as I look upon my people.

  2. I understand what you go through as I have the same burden for my own countrymen/women here as well. As we obey and trust, let God be God!