“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,” Jer 1:1-3.
Part 1, preached by Rev Ivan Foster in Kilskeery Free Presbyterian Church, at the evening service, 7th January, 2018
(Part 2 will, DV, be preached at the prayer meeting on Monday 8th January and mounted on this site)
Stream or download Jeremiah: A witness we must heed today, Pt1
I have always had an affiliation with and affection for Jeremiah! I think that what these verses say of him gives us all, in these increasingly dark days, a reason to closely study his life and words and learn from them.
- You see, Jeremiah saw spiritual conditions in Judah declining from days of stirring and blessing to days of utter apostasy and the coming of the Lord in judgment.
- Of Josiah’s reign we read: 2 Chron 34:1-7. These events would have taken place progressively during the first 18 years of his reign. Jeremiah began preaching in the middle of these events, Jer 1:2; 2 Chron 34:3.
- Despite the actions of Josiah, much sin remained in the land of Judah and the hearts of the majority remained wicked. Judah complied with Josiah feignedly, in a deceitful manner, Jer 3:10.
- When Josiah was 26, the 18th year of his reign, there was a very significant event. 2 Chron 34:14-21. A good people may live in ignorance of the Word of God and the judgments drawing ever nearer!
- As a result of the broken-hearted prayer of Josiah, the coming judgment was stayed until after his death, verses 27-28.
- Despite the reforms instigated by good Josiah, the nation was not really of the same spirit as that good man and the remnant gathered around him and Jeremiah. “And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the LORD,” 3:10.
- Shallowness and mere pretence marked the religion of the majority in that day which saw many wonderful reforms. These reforms were most impressive. One of these reforms involved the restoration of the Passover feast to something like its original purpose. “And there was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did all the kings of Israel keep such a passover as Josiah kept, and the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel that were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah was this passover kept,” 2 Chron 35:18-19.
- And yet, some 25 years or so later, the first carrying away of Judean captives began with the destruction of the city and temple following in 587BC.
- From days of blessing to utter desolation there was a period of some 40-45 years! Does this not speak to us as we see the apostasy deepening?
I. JEREMIAH PROVIDES US WITH A PATTERN TO LIVE BY IN THESE DAYS.
1. He faithfully proclaimed the word of God. 2 Chron 36:21-22.
2. He did so amidst great opposition. Jer 1:17-19.
3. He encountered despair and dejection. “Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name,” 20:9.
4. However, he was sustained by the Lord. “But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay,” Jeremiah 20:9.