THE BOOK OF JEREMIAH
THE BOOK OF JEREMIAH
Author = Littleone
TREASURE SEEKERS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT - JEREMIAH
Bible Study On - THE BOOK OF JEREMIAH
T R E A S U R E... S E E K E R S ... I N ... T H E ... O L D ... T E S T A M E N T - JEREMIAH
'Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path......Where your treasure is there is your heart also'
Jeremiah is the longest book in the Bible! Because the book is so long, I have focussed on four
main areas for tonight’s study: Overview of the book, description of Jeremiah, Parable of the
Potter’s Wheel and God’s New Covenant.
I will illustrate these with two pictures the Lord gave me during my preparation.
Part 1: Overview
The book of Jeremiah spans the reigns of 5 kings, between 626 – 580BC.
The purpose of the book of Jeremiah is to urge God’s people to turn from their sins and back to
It was written to the people of Judah and its capital city, Jerusalem.
Jeremiah spoke at a traumatic time for the people of God. The 10 tribes of the north had been taken into exile by Assyria, leaving the two tribes of God’s people living in and around Jerusalem
Isaiah and Micah had now gone, their messages largely unheeded. Jeremiah is the last prophet
to speak to the people and warn them that it is almost too late to stop the disaster from coming.
It took place during a time which was full of wars as new empires conquered the old ones.
The tiny kingdom of Judah was caught in the middle, and during Jeremiah’s lifetime, Babylonia
conquered Judah and ended its freedom as a nation.
God’s word was deemed offensive!!!
God was angry with His people for turning their backs on Him and worshipping false idols. Time and time and time again He pleads passionately with them to turn back to Him and renounce their idols. He reassures them of His great love, however, and ensures them that their
place will be fully restored to them, if only they would turn back to Him.
Jeremiah dictated the book to his friend Baruch, but unfortunately it was not written in
chronological order!! He also wrote the book Lamentations.
The book is made up of the following: Call of the Prophet; Warnings and exhortations to Judah; Sufferings and persecutions of the Prophet; the Fall of Jerusalem and its aftermath; Judgement against the Nations; Historical appendix.
Part 2: Description of Jeremiah
Jeremiah was a priest from the family of Anathoth in the territory of the tribe of Benjamin.
Jeremiah was very young when he started bringing God’s message to the people – probably around 17 years old. He continued until 586BC, when the Babylonians captured Jerusalem.
Jeremiah was forced to go to Egypt with some of the people from Judah, and he continued to
speak from there.
Jeremiah brought a hard word from the Lord! Time and again, he told them that God was going to punish Judah for their disobedience.
Because he encouraged them to surrender to the Babylonians, his enemies accused him of being
a traitor. He was imprisoned, and had death threats made against him.
He was a catalyst for the great spiritual reformation under King Josiah.
He was known as the “weeping prophet” and the “troubler of kings” because of his sorrow for
the fallen condition of Judah. His name became identified with pessimism!! In Hebrew his name can mean either “to build up” or “to tear down”, so it describes his calling perfectly!! In English,
his name means “wet blanket”!!! A “Jeremiad” is a mournful poem or dirge.
Jeremiah was wracked with anxiety and self-doubt. He questioned his calling, begged God to destroy his enemies, and curses the day he was born. God instructed him not to marry or have children; he has few friends, and many enemies. His own family planned to assassinate him!!
Basically, he was not the kind of guy you would invite to a party!!!
But, he was sensitive, introspective, and passionate. Even when he cried out to God about the
injustice of how he was treated, cursing the day that he was born, He did not compromise on
the message he was given.
An absolutely crucial thing about Jeremiah, was that there was nothing in him to get in God’s way!!!
Jeremiah’s first response when God called him was to say: (1:6) “Ah, Sovereign Lord. I do not know how to speak; I am only a child.”
The Lord answered: (7) “Do not say ‘I am only a child’. You must go to everyone I send you to
and say whatever I command you. (8) Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will
rescue you.” (9) Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched Jeremiah’s mouth and said
to him, “Now, I have put words in your mouth. (10) See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”
The Lord gave me a picture as I started to prepare this study.
The picture was of a person standing in front of God, with his hands grasped in God’s. God was
cloaked and hooded. The person felt safe and loved in God’s hands, but when God asked him to meet his eyes, the person could not do so because he feared what God was going to ask him
to do. He squirmed and tried to wriggle free of God’s grasp, but was unable to do so. This
person knew that sooner or later he would have to face God, and meet His gaze.
I wonder how many of us are content to be held in God’s hands, but afraid to get too close to him for fear of what He would ask us to do?
We have our list of reasons ready prepared – I’m too young; I’m not a good speaker; I have
too much stuff going on in my own life right now; I don’t like the person You are asking me
to minister to; so-and-so person would be much better at that than me Lord, ask them…………
God doesn’t make mistakes. So, if He has asked you to do something, you can rest assured that
He will give you whatever is necessary for you to fulfil His request. The truth is that God can
use anyone to fulfil His purpose – He has even used a donkey!! The only qualification needed
from us, is a willing heart!!!
God reassures Jeremiah: (18) “Today I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land – against the kings of Judah, its officials, it’s priests
and the people of the land. (19) They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am
with you and will rescue you.”
Wow!!! Well, I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be on God’s team – wouldn’t you???
But there is a lesson for us to learn there too, for all the glory has to belong to God, and God alone. God warns (9:23) “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, (24) but let him who boasts boast about this:
that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and
righteousness on earth, for in these I delight.”
What an amazing insight into the character of God. He is telling us that what He delights in is
giving kindness, justice and mercy!
Part 3: The Parable of the Potter’s Wheel
God said to Jeremiah: (18:2) “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” (3) So Jeremiah went and saw him working at the wheel. (4) But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot,
shaping it as seemed best to him.”
God is the Potter!! He is continually moulding us, the clay pots, into the shape that suits the
purpose He has for us at that moment. Our shape is not fixed – the process is continual, and
we are only malleable while we are on the Potter’s wheel. Once we are hardened and set, “fired” in the kiln, we cease to be mouldable, and have to be broken. If we stay on the wheel, then God is continually at work, adding water, shaping here, shaping there, adding something here, taking something away there, keeping us changing, and growing into the design He has in mind for us.
We do, however, need to be obedient to the moulding. If we resist we can become malformed and unfit for the purpose we have been designed for!
God tells Jeremiah to purchase a clay vase and smash it to pieces in front of the people of Judah to illustrate how they will be broken if they fail to obey Him.
We too, need to be broken by God, in those areas of our lives we have failed to fully surrender to Him.
A constant cry in the book of Jeremiah is to the people to give up their idols and turn back to God.
But what is an idol, and do we still have them today? The answer is yes!! And an idol is anything which we elevate above God in our hearts. It may sound harsh to say it, but it can even be the love we have for our own families! If we trust God, and put Him first, he will restore the proper
order of priorities in our lives.
An idol can be many things, but chances are it is the thing you are most afraid of God asking you to give up if you would only “meet His eyes.”
For me, as a baby Christian, it was my enormous video collection. I actually remember telling
people that I deliberately asked not to be filled with the Spirit because I was afraid God would
ask me to give up my videos!!! When the time came that God did in fact ask me to surrender
my collection to Him, I was ready and willing to do it, and He helped me every step of the way!
Do not misunderstand me – it was not the collection itself that was the problem, but my
reluctance to give God sovereignty of it. I urge you to search your own hearts and ask God to reveal to you any idols in your own lives.
Part 4: The New Covenant
God’s judgement of His people and the nations, though terrible, was not to be His final word. Mercy and covenant would triumph over wrath.
Beyond the judgement would come restoration and renewal. Israel would be restored, the
nations that crushed her would be crushed, and the old covenants would be honoured.
In Chapter 31, God makes a new covenant with His people:
(31:31) “The time is coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the
house of Israel and with the house of Judah. (32) It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them out of Egypt, because they broke My covenant, though I was a husband to them.” declares the Lord. (33) “This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it
on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people. (34) No longer will a man teach
his neighbour, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
I will end with the second picture God gave me regarding this study. It was of a young Jewish boy surrounded by a sea of legs belonging to his elders, who were all wearing the same clothes.
The little boy was standing next to a table, bending down to peer through to the other side. On
the other side of the table, bending down and peering through at the little boy, was Jesus!!!! Beyond Jesus was a field with men, women, children, Jew, gentile, who were colourful and free.
But the field was only visible through the legs of the table. And you had to go through Jesus to
get to it.
The Lord then showed me the top of the table which was laid out with the symbols of
communion, the bread and the wine. Jesus body, and His blood, broken and shed for us.
His invitation is clear. Do we wish to accept it? And if we have accepted it already, are we
willing to give up or idols? To be moulded on the Potter’s wheel? To meet God’s eyes?