Many Kings Fail to Heed God: Bible Survey for New Christians

March 10th, 2009

Jeremiah 1:1–17

Summary:

The time
And the calling of Jeremiah
His prophetical visions of an almond rod and a seething pot
His heavy message against Judah
God encourages him with his promise of assistance

 1:1.  The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin,
 1:2.  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.
 1:3.  It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month.

 1:4.  Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying:
 1:5.  "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; and I ordained you a prophet to the nations.''
 1:6.  Then said I: "Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.''
 1:7.  But the Lord said to me: "Do not say, `I am a youth,' for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
 1:8.  Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you,'' says the Lord.
 1:9.  Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me: "Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.
 1:10.  See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant.''

 1:11.  Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, "Jeremiah, what do you see?'' And I said, "I see a branch of an almond tree.''
 1:12.  Then the Lord said to me, "You have seen well, for I am ready to perform My word.''
 1:13.  And the word of the Lord came to me the second time, saying, "What do you see?'' And I said, "I see a boiling pot, and it is facing away from the north.''
 1:14.  Then the Lord said to me: "Out of the north calamity shall break forth on all the inhabitants of the land.

 1:15.  For behold, I am calling all the families of the kingdoms of the north,'' says the Lord; "they shall come and each one set his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, against all its walls all around, and against all the cities of Judah.
 1:16.  I will utter My judgments against them concerning all their wickedness, because they have forsaken Me, burned incense to other gods, and worshiped the works of their own hands.

 1:17.  Therefore prepare yourself and arise, and speak to them all that I command you. Do not be dismayed before their faces, lest I dismay you before them.

Comments:

So what does this passage have to do with "many kings", as mentioned in the lesson title? We'll get to that. First a little about this reading.

Jeremiah was from a priestly family. Born in the land of Benjamin. He recieved God's call, but was reluctant because of his young age. It was during the days of the last kings over Israel. A time when the condition of Israel was so bad, it was about to be scattered and taken into captivity.

God had a purpose for Jeremiah since before he was born. God promised he would be there to deliver Jeremiah, no matter how bad it might go for him. God put his words in Jeremiah's mouth to speak.

God ordained Jeremiah to have power over the nation, to pluck up or to plant. Jeremiah was given visions, and God made it known what they meant. People from all around the country would be drawn to Jerusalem to listen to God's words through Jeremiah. Words of judgement on all the evil deeds that had been going on.

Did the people heed his warning? No, but Jeremiah wasn't there to save the people. He himselfwas to be protected by God, but his duty was to deliver God's message of judgement.

For many years, and through many kings, the leadership of the people had reached such decline, and the morality of the people had taken a turn in the direction away from God. It was time to take drastic measures. Get rid of the dead weight. Strip away the excess and get down to those people who might remain with that small spark of desire for serving him.

Too many kings, for too long had been failures. God, in his usual style, wants people to know that he is present and at work. He wants people to be alerted to what his intentions are. Before God performs a major work, he sends a messenger. He warned Noah of the coming flood. He warned Lot about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. He sent Moses to warn the Pharoah before taking the Israelites out.

Now he was sending Jeremiah to warn people of what was to come. Those who chose to take it to heart would be prepared. Those who ignored the judgements of their evil behavior were about to be killed, scattered, scoffed at, taken into captivity, and generally lose their identity as a nation.

It is possible to be physically prosperous outside the desire of God. People can have material wealth and be totally ungodly. There is a moral deadness. That kind of prosperity won't last. God has his ways to see that it doesn't. He wants us to prosper, but he also wants us to have a wake up call and learn to love him.

If the things of this world are leading you down the path away from God, listen to his message of warning. Choose for yourself. It's a message of judgement, sorry, but at the same time the warnings come because God cares, and wants us to choose correctly. He wants to be part of your solution to a better life that involves a relationship with him.

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