Old Testament (Jeremiah-Malachi)

Lesson 118: Jeremiah’s Call And Ministry
Jeremiah 1:1—2:19
Golden Texts Proverbs 29:25

I. The Historic Setting; 1:1-3. The decline of the nation of Judah due to its disobedience to the word of God and its sinful practices. Cp. 2 Chronicles 36:14-16. Jeremiah has been well called “The prophet of the bleeding heart and the iron will.”

II. The Divine Call; vs. 4, 5. Note its prenatal character. Cp. Galatians 1:15; Romans 8:29-31; Ephesians
1:4; John 17:2, 6, 9, 10, 11. 12, 24; 1 Peter 1:2; Romans 11:33, 34. Here is the glorious truth of God’s foreknowledge and predestination. Isaiah 40:28; 46:10; Acts 15:18.

III. The Response; V. 6. A sense of his weakness, ignorance and inexperience. Cp. Other calls and other responses. Moses, Exodus 4:10; Isaiah, Isaiah 6:5; Solomon, 1 Kings 3:7.

IV. The Divine Encouragement; vs. 7-19.

1. Divine Promise; v. 7. Think of Who is speaking! God’s promises are His enablings. Ephesians 3:20.

2. Divine protection; v. 8. “I am with Thee.” Cp. Hebrews 13:5; Matthew 28:19, 20; Isaiah 41:10; Deuteronomy 31:6; 2 Timothy 4:16, 17; Psalm 23:4.

3. Divine enduement. V. 9. Here is verbal inspiration Cp. 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21. Cp. 2 Samuel 23:2. “Thus saith the Lord.” Emphasize this.

4. Divine plan; v. 10. Note the order. First to pull down ere setting up. Man needs to be brought down. Matthew 9:12, 13? Luke 19:10. There must be repentance, humiliation, self judgment and confession of sin before there can be a building up in the holy faith. The great need of many is to unlearn their false theories before they can take in God’s truth.

5. The Divine illustration; vs. 11-16. All through this book symbols and pictures are used to convey the lesson.


The Book of the Prophet Jeremiah has a different character from that of Isaiah. It does not contain the same development of the counsels of God respecting this earth that Isaiah does. It is true, that we are told many things in it concerning the nations; but it is principally composed of testimony addressed immediately to the conscience of the people, on the subject of their moral condition at the time the prophet speaks, and with an eye to the judgment with which they were threatened. Judah...

Notes on Jeremiah


On the consideration of the second of the four great prophets we purpose to enter. Here we are not in presence of the comprehensive scope of divine purpose such as we have seen in Isaiah; but we are about to deepen our acquaintance with one who yields to none in pathos. The sublime strains of his inimitable predecessor are not more suited to the magnificent visions which he was inspired to see and communicate then is the plaintive style of Hilkiah’s son to his own solemn and touching commission.

Jeremiah began his prophetic ministry, as he intimates, in the thirteenth year of Josiah, the last king of Judah. It was the year which followed the first effort to purge the capital and the country from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images. The fairness of the promise but added to the poignancy of his grief when the reformation turned out altogether superficial, and the ruin impending was only stayed, under God, so to speak, by the life of Josiah, who died at the age of 39. Then followed the deplorable reigns of Jehoahaz (= Shallum), whom Pharaoh-Necho deposed, setting up Eliakim (= Jehoiakim); who was succeeded by his son Jehoiachin (= Jeconiah or Coniah), for whom Nebuchadnezzar soon substituted “his brother” (or, as we would say, his father’s brother) Zedekiah (= Mattaniah). Under these kings the closing disasters of Jerusalem, were mixed up with the struggle between Egypt and Babylon, which ended in the indisputable world-sovereignty of the latter and the various stages of Judah’s captivity. What juncture so suited to call out the exercises of such a heart as Jeremiah’s? These soul-trials, which the Holy Ghost wrought in, were, as far as circumstances and persons could be, the mould in which the various parts of the prophecy were cast.


The Tender-Hearted Prophet of the Nations


Jeremiah’s prophecies began in the thirteenth year of Josiah, king of Judah, and continued after the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar some forty years later. His testimony was therefore rendered at the time when the kingdom of David was about to be abolished as a national witness for Jehovah in the earth.

There is some analogy in moral character between the last days of Judah and the last days of the church, and as the various truths delivered by Jeremiah were chosen by the Spirit to suit the condition of the Jewish people, this Book has great practical value in the present times. Many salutary lessons of faithfulness and obedience amid prevailing weakness and confusion may be gathered from the prophet’s own experiences and from the messages he received from the Lord. These are as needful to-day as then.

To his office as a spokesman for Jehovah, Jeremiah was sanctified from birth, and he is distinguished among his fellow-prophets of the Old Testament as a prophet to the nations. Jerusalem was set in the midst of the Gentiles as the centre of divine government in the earth. Before the city of Zion was destroyed by the Gentiles, Jeremiah’s is the last voice to utter from that centre the word of Jehovah to Judah and Israel and to the surrounding nations.

Jeremiah 28

The opening verse of Jeremiah 28 confirms what has been said about the date in the previous chapter. Both events were in the reign of Zedekiah. "And it came to pass the same year, in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the fourth year, and in the fifth month, that Hananiah the son of Azur the prophet, which was of Gibeon, spake unto me in the house of Jehovah, in the presence of the priests, and of all the people." At this time the iniquity and enmity of the false pro...

Jeremiah 27

Jeremiah 27 opens thus: "In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah came this word unto Jeremiah from Jehovah, saying, Thus saith Jehovah to me; Make thee bonds and yokes, and put them upon thy neck, and send them to the king of Edom, and to the king of Moab, and to the king of the Ammonites, and to the king of Tyrus, and to the king of Zidon, by the hand of the messengers which come to Jerusalem unto Zedekiah king of Judah; and command them to say unto their ...

Jeremiah 26

Part 2: Jeremiah 26 - Jeremiah 52 The second division of Jeremiah begins with Jeremiah 26, and is distinguished by its taking up special circumstances rather than the general proof of the iniquity of the Jews and of the nations which brought them all into a state of subjugation to Nebuchadnezzar. In what follows, we find the moral ground in details. "In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah, king of Judah came this word from Jehovah, saying, Thus saith Jehovah." Jo...

Jeremiah 24-25

The state of the Jewish nation is portrayed in Jeremiah 24. by the two baskets of figs to which I have already referred. I need not say much about them, except to note one remark about the good figs (verse 5). "Thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel, Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good." Jehovah meant their exile to be for their eventual good. This is a very...

Jeremiah 23

Jeremiah 23 pronounces a woe upon the pastors in general. By the pastors, the prophet means the kings who ought to have provided protection and provender for the people. But they scattered and destroyed the sheep of Jehovah's flock. However, He would raise up a competent Ruler and Shepherd-King for His sheep. "Behold the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In His da...

Jeremiah 21-22

Jeremiah's prophecy was continued. In Jeremiah 21 the denunciation of Jehovah is directed particularly against the royal house of David. The sin of Zedekiah was still more serious. The guilt of the people and the priests and prophets has already been exposed, but now the responsible head of the nation is condemned. There was no exception; the ruin of Judah is complete. Royalty was always the last stem of blessing in the history of Israel. If only the king had been right, though the people...
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