The prophet Jeremiah (The Lord Exalts) would serve under Judah’s last five kings; Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, & Zedekiah. Jeremiah is known as the prophet of the broken heart. Jeremiah was born a priest, was chosen to be a prophet by God even before he was born, was called to be a prophet even at a very young age, was forbidden to marry because of the terrible circumstances of the day! During that time the destruction of Jerusalem & the Babylonian captivity would transpire. Jeremiah’s life was filled with tragedy, rejection, hatred, beatings, & imprisonment. He was a man in tears most of the time…God would choose a soft-hearted man to give a harsh message of judgment. His time of being a prophet was filled with agony and the outside world would look at his ministry as a failure. But in God’s eyes, Jeremiah’s ministry was filled with success. Success, as measured by God, involves obedience and faithfulness. Regardless of opposition and personal cost, Jeremiah courageously and faithfully proclaimed the word of God. He was obedient to his calling.
Vs. 5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Even before Jeremiah was born, God would already have His will for him. Amazing, huh? Jeremiah would begin serving God as His prophet at the tender age of 20. Though Jeremiah was young & felt inadequate, God would use him anyway! God told Jeremiah He would protect him and give him the words to speak. The almond tree signified God’s eye watching. God’s people had now forgotten him. All of God’s prophets of the past—Hosea, Joel, Amos, Micah and Nahum, all those who had been contemporaries of Isaiah—had now passed off the scene. Zephaniah and Habakkuk were still living. Ezekiel and Obadiah were also in the same time with Jeremiah, but they are not going to prophesy until the captives are actually in Babylon. Daniel, too, will be prophesying later on. But at this time, Jeremiah stands alone, and he is to proclaim these judgments that are to come upon the nation. God would warn Jeremiah that he would have an incrediblely hard task, his own people would be against him.
Regarding application…Stand Up For Something! Vs. 17, “Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them…” In the final chapter of his book Walden, Henry David Thoreau (Amercian author of the 19th century) writes: “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” “If anyone desires to come after Me,” said Jesus, “let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me….For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” Matt. 16:24-26. In light of that sobering question, what decision will you make? Will you conform to the crowd or carry the cross? Jeremiah was willing to Stand up in the face of opposition!
In the movie Braveheart…Mel Gibson’s character William Wallace stands up against tyranny and fights for Scotland! It’s a story of someone going against the odds…but even William Wallace would have his followers. Jeremiah would be asked by God to do something crazy from human standards….Stand up, but you must do it alone. Jeremiah’s story is one truly heartfelt and deeply moving story of a man who stood up against the odds. But did Jeremiah really do it alone? Of course, not…God was there…but it took an incredible amount of faith on Jeremiah’s part to believe & act upon it! Sometimes, we may feel alone & know one else understands what we are going through….but God does!!!! You are never alone.