This post is a message from Dr. Jeff Laborg of Fairview Baptist. I took notes so this post will appear to you like the message was preached to me.
Look, listen, and live.
The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin: to whom the word of the Lord came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign. It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month. Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
Jeremiah is the son of Hilkiah the High Priest of the temple of the Lord during the reign of Josiah, a king made at 8-years-old after his father was assassinated. In his 8th year of reign when Josiah was 16, something happened. The temple of the Lord in Jerusalem had fallen into disarray and disrepair. Hilkiah the priest was just going through the motions and God uses Josiah, a young man to teach the elders. Josiah orders a repair of the Holy Temple.
While they’re cleaning up, Hilkiah the High Priest was cleaning around and the Bible says he found the book. They discovered the book, the Word of God. Use your sanctified imagination for this: I’m not sure, but in the chronology Jeremiah is 8 or 9 when his father finds the book. Everyday up till this day his father had come home tired and droning, just coming back from a routine day at work. But then the day when they find the book comes. This time Hilkiah comes in with a pep in his step. He’s not berated or bent over. He is elated and ecstatic. His young son would ask, “daddy what happened?”, Hilkiah would reply “the most unthinkable thing happened. I went to church and found the bible!”.
Wouldn’t it be great if some of these weak-kneed preachers would find the bible and just preach the word?
What was Hilkiah experiencing? He was experiencing a personal revival. Back to Jeremiah, he has lived in the most incredible time of spiritual awakening. Josiah is going through Israel, tearing down the high places and destroying idols and false Gods. Envision Jeremiah bouncing and elated as he runs up to the temple at the age of 21, going up to see his dad at work. He was in the line of the High Priest. As Jeremiah walks up to the temple, the Holy Ghost speaks to him and tells him that he is ordained to be a prophet. Now that doesn’t mean much by itself, but take into account that the prophet is possibly the greatest contrast to the priests.
Everyone loved the priests, they had duties and sacraments that they performed every day. They sacrificed and called for God’s healing on people, offering up the prayers of the people. Everyone loved the priests, they knew everything they would do on every day of the year. The prophet waited on God, no one liked the prophet because generally what he said would skin you alive. Now, in line to be the high priest, having undergone all of the training and preparation and on the way to the temple, God tells him that he is ordained to be a prophet. What? No.
Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the Lord; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown.
The Lord says I remember you. I know your past. I understand the world is evil and things are bad right now. I’ve gone to prepare a place for you. I remember you Jeremiah. Jeremiah learned that his life, what he thought he was meant to do, what he was told since birth he was destined for, was not the plan God had for him. God had a purpose for Jeremiah, lets see where that got him.
Jeremiah finds himself in an open sewer, up to his arms in human waste. What was he in there for? For preaching the word of God. People asked him, “what did you do?” Jeremiah said, “oh, I went to the king and told him he was going to hell.”. While he was down there, his cousin comes and tells all the people that everything Jeremiah had been preaching about for 40 years had come true. A king called Nebuchadnezzar was on the rampage and was about to sack Jerusalem.
His cousin with bags packed, ready to pull out offers for Jeremiah to buy the family farm. Ready to leave because Babylon was going to destroy them, his cousin says, “wanna buy the family farm?”. God tells Jeremiah, “buy the farm, because I’m not going to state angry with you forever.” God gives Jeremiah a promise that he will restore the land of Israel. God uses Jeremiah to teach us a lesson. Jeremiah buys the family farm.
For 40 years the church of Jerusalem baptized not one sinner, saw no one saved. Jeremiah was hated until the day he died. When they took Jeremiah out of the sewer, they put him on a cart and shackled him. The Bible says they turned him around because he wouldn’t stop preaching to the drivers. Jeremiah cried into God “I’m a failure, I’ve preached for 40 years and nothing. I didn’t make a difference.”.
If that was where the story ended we would think that as well. But we read Daniel and he writes how he knew because of Jeremiah that he was in the 70th year. Because of Jeremiah Daniel had hope the there was a farm waiting back in Jerusalem for him. Jeremiah thought his life was worthless and his prophesies of no effect, but God uses the weeping prophet to encourage and give strength to Daniel, who after 70 long years of captivity, could finally go back home.
As always, thanks for reading.
—the anonymous novelist