Who wrote it?
Jeremiah chapter 1, verse 1 identifies the Prophet Jeremiah as the author of the book of Jeremiah.
When(ish) was it written?
Jeremiah was written between 630 and 580 BC.
Why was it written?
The book of Jeremiah records the final prophecies to Judah, warning of oncoming destruction if the nation does not repent. Jeremiah calls out for the nation to turn back to God. At the same time, Jeremiah recognizes the inevitability of Judah’s destruction due to its unrepentant idolatry and immorality.
Some Key Verses
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.
– Jeremiah 1:5
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
– Jeremiah 17:9
For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
– Jeremiah 29:10-11
In the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month—that was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon—Nebuzaradan the captain of the bodyguard, who served the king of Babylon, entered Jerusalem. And he burned the house of the Lord, and the king’s house and all the houses of Jerusalem; every great house he burned down.
– Jeremiah 52:12-13
A Quick Summary
The book of Jeremiah is primarily a message of judgment on Judah for rampant idolatry (Jeremiah 7:30-34; 16:10-13; 22:9; 32:29; 44:2-3). After the death of King Josiah, the last righteous king, the nation of Judah had almost completely abandoned God and His commandments. Jeremiah compares Judah to a prostitute (Jeremiah 2:20; 3:1-3). God had promised that He would judge idolatry most severely (Leviticus 26:31-33; Deuteronomy 28:49-68), and Jeremiah was warning Judah that God’s judgment was at hand. God had delivered Judah from destruction on countless occasions, but His mercy was at its end. Jeremiah records King Nebuchadnezzar conquering Judah and making it subject to him (Jeremiah 24:1). After further rebellion, God brought Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian armies back to destroy and desolate Judah and Jerusalem (Jeremiah chapter 52). Even in this most severe judgment, God promises the restoration of Judah back into the land God has given them (Jeremiah 29:10).
Jeremiah 23:5-6 presents a prophecy of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ. The prophet describes Him as a Branch from the house of David (Jeremiah 23:5; Matthew 1), the King who would reign in wisdom and righteousness (Jeremiah 23:5, Revelation 11:15). It is Christ who will finally be recognized by Israel as her true Messiah as He provides salvation for His chosen ones (Jeremiah 23: 6; Romans 11:26).
What does this mean?
The Prophet Jeremiah had an incredibly difficult message to deliver. Jeremiah loved Judah, but he loved God much more. As painful as it was for Jeremiah to deliver a consistent message of judgment to his own people, Jeremiah was obedient to what God told him to do and say. Jeremiah hoped and prayed for mercy from God for Judah, but also trusted that God was good, just, and righteous. We too must obey God, even when it is difficult, recognize God’s will as more important than our own desires, and trust that God, in His infinite wisdom and perfect plan, will bring about the best for His children (Romans 8:28).
Take a few minutes to read aloud the Scripture from Jeremiah 1:4-9, 2:12-13, 17:1-18, Lamentations 1:1-6, 3:1-27. What verses or ideas stand out to you from these passages? What questions do you have? What would you like to remember and apply to your life?
What are some of the “cisterns” you tend to build that indicate that you may be trusting in yourself more than in God? Give specific examples. What would it look like for you to truly trust in the “living water” that only God Himself provides?
Do you tend to be more of a “know it all,” or are you more likely to underestimate your potential? How does your understanding of the Gospel help you to develop a healthy mindset?
In the midst of horrible sin, destruction, and brokenness, in Jeremiah 15:11 and 15:21, God says to Jeremiah, “I will deliver you,” and, “I will save you.” How has God delivered you from sin and saved you from destruction? How can you be part of His plan to deliver and save others?