KEY VERSE FOR MEMORIZATION
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
It was common for Hebrew writers of this era to arrange the record of historical events under a theme, rather than in chronological sequence. These chapters are a collection of incidents and oracles from different periods of Jeremiah’s life, and show the reactions of the false prophets, the people, and leaders during Jeremiah’s ministry.
The leaders of Judah resisted the prophesies of Jeremiah because he brought bad news to them. His bitterest foes were the religious leaders of the nation. God reminded Jeremiah that he must preach the entire message from God, and to “diminish not a word” (Jeremiah 26:2). It would have been much easier for Jeremiah to soften his pronouncements. The pure message from God made Jeremiah sound like a traitor to Judah, for God had told the prophet to warn the people to submit to King Nebuchadnezzar and the armies of Babylon. God had ordained that Nebuchadnezzar would conquer Judah as judgment for sin.
False prophets were telling the leaders of Judah to resist captivity, and to join with other nations to fight against Nebuchadnezzar. Chapter 26 records how Jeremiah’s warning made the leaders of Judah so angry that they apprehended the prophet with the intent of killing him. However, certain of the elders intervened, and after the rehearsal of two historical examples, Jeremiah was spared.
In chapter 27, the prophet continued to urge the people to submit to Babylon. At God’s instruction, he used a yoke to portray the God-ordained captivity of Judah and her allies by Nebuchadnezzar. In chapter 28, the false prophet Hananiah contradicted Jeremiah’s words. However, God led Jeremiah to tell Hananiah that because he had taught rebellion against the Lord, he would die. Two months later, this prophecy was fulfilled — another demonstration of God’s judgment.
In the last chapter of our lesson, Jeremiah prophesied that God would bring the exiles back to Jerusalem after seventy years of captivity. This event took place shortly after Daniel was delivered from the lion’s den in 537 B.C.
Jeremiah was a faithful prophet. Instead of preaching what the people wanted to hear, he preached the truth, offering the only hope for Judah. The false prophets offered temporary comfort, with the consequence of long-term punishment. Jeremiah offered temporary correction but long-term benefit. Tragically, the people failed to heed Jeremiah’s warning.
As God instructed Jeremiah to not deviate from His words in spite of the opposition he faced, we also must never diminish or ignore what God has instructed us to do. It may not be easy or popular, but if we are faithful, we will receive God’s richest blessing.