God called Jeremiah to preach to a people on the brink of judgment. He preached, for forty years, words that were also the Word of God. He repeatedly called Judah to turn back to God. He poured out his soul in the Lord’s service with courage, passion and self-sacrifice. He had to deliver to God’s covenant people an indictment of their high-handed and persistent covenant violations.
No nation is in such a covenant with God today but ‘the West’ is witnessing the self-destruction of a civilisation more deeply imbued with Christian values than any in history. If people despise God, judgment will follow. Jeremiah’s message rings true for a rebellious Christianised culture but also for a world that tries to cast off the weight of a holy God.
Yet the words of accusation, challenge and condemnation are laden with grief. The cries to ‘turn’ are vibrant with love. The promises of mercy abound with grace waiting to be manifest in a new covenant. Judah did not listen; Jerusalem was destroyed; Jeremiah died in exile. We see, however, the fulfilment of his prophecies and of God’s promises in the grace displayed to the world in the Lord Jesus Christ and the covenant in his blood.
Whose word will stand? The words of Jeremiah. The Word of God, both in Scripture and incarnate.
This commentary will enable you to understand Jeremiah’s message for both his original hearers, and today.