Today’s lesson comes to us from the Lord through the Prophet Jeremiah.
When we turn in our Pericope to the prophesies of Jeremiah; we do well to consider a few points of introduction so we can glean the greatest spiritual benefit that applies to us today.
First we ask, “Who is Jeremiah?” Then we can look into “How did his book arise?” and finally we can surmise “What was God’s Word to Jeremiah?”
Jeremiah, at our reading today is a youth, maybe even a teenager by some accounts.
Jeremiah was to be God’s chosen man; “A message of God would reach him at the most unexpected moments. An almond rod, a steaming pot, a potter at work, a chance remark of a drunkard may have passed unnoticed before others. For Jeremiah, however, God spoke through these things (see 1:11-14; 18:1-11; 13:12-14).” (Concordia Commentary Jeremiah Lamentation©1968 Concordia Publishing House; Pg. 12)
Jeremiah would speak the words of God’s wrath as a living sermon for God’s people and would be entirely unable to contain himself when faced with the insolence towards God.
Needless to say, young Jeremiah probably had the most awful and unappreciated ministry in the history of human kind.
Imagine, living a life, that executed the very visual reminder to God’s people of how God would judge them for all the evil they had done.
The olive branch formerly fruitful now shown burned to crisp; a sign of God’s wrath (11), Jars of wine set out to show them that sons and fathers would be made drunk on wine and smash into each other and be destroyed (13), Dogs that will devour and birds that will pick and beasts that will rule a land desolated by God’s judgement (15).
Over and over again Jeremiah was unrelentingly compelled to bring these visuals before the people;
Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage and the men and women are merely players”, and Jeremiah knew it better than anyone as he executed his role flawlessly as the lead actor in the judgment of God’s wrath.
Now one may think that this is a vindictive and unforgiving God, but thinking thus; one would be wrong.
For Jeremiah’s entire life was sacrificed again and again for the sins of God’s people.
Jeremiah was beat by Pashur the priest for prophesying as God told him (20), sentenced to death for prophesying against the city (26), forced to wear an oxen yoke to show how Nebuchadnezzar would yoke Judah (27), and cast into a cistern to starve to death (38).
God so loved his rebellious, insufferable, and disrespectful children that he sacrificed Jeremiah again and again and again to save all Judah from their sins.
The prophesies were cries from the Heavenly Father for them to change the way they think and act before they lose their heavenly lineage and eternal salvation.
Unfortunately, every prophecy had to be carefully written down by the scribes of the lord because the nation did not believe Jeremiah or listen to his pleas from God to change, and all that God warned them about, came to pass.
Another generation would have to open the scrolls and learn from their mistakes and see Jeremiah for who he is: A harbinger of truth and a means to life again.
The scrolls would be preserved and eventually they would find their way into the codex’s, or bibles as we refer to them today, in the communities that would look forward to another, who would sacrifice much like Jeremiah did and bring these words to life once again.
Knowing what we know now about Jeremiah’s life now; we understand why he would be so reluctant to speak God’s Judgement to the people of Israel.
But God would not accept his reluctant resignation, and thank God He didn’t or we would never know that Jeremiah’s life was sacrificed for our edification today.
God gave Jeremiah everything he needed to accomplish His will just like He did for Moses when Moses showed the exact reservations about speaking to Pharaoh to let God’s people go.
God showed Jeremiah that he was the pot and almighty Yahweh was the potter and Jeremiah would hold water for Him.
Just as we know from Romans 8:31, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
God showed Jeremiah that he was with him again and again, and serves as the same hope we have in God when He calls us to do the unthinkable, the challenging, and the intimidating work of the church.
He punished Pashur and redeemed Jeremiah from the unrighteous beatings.
He broke the yoke and relieved his burden.
He rescinded his death sentence and drew him up from the cistern of certain death.
So today we can draw great comfort from Jeremiah’s difficult and despairing ministry.
In a society that is moving away from God and courting every whim of the heart; Jeremiah’s counsel today comforts us with real hope; that God has been here before and knows what to do, especially when we feel just like Jeremiah.
When we feel like we’ll just take a beating for bearing witness to the truth of God’s Word, God understands and gives us comfort for our wounds.
When we see fully mature babies in the womb sentenced to death, God sends his prophetesses to call for mercy on our souls.
When we are burdened by the unrighteous yoke of cultural deception that wraps itself in the cloak of moral superiority and self-righteousness, our pastors assure us of God’s prevailing wisdom over it all.
And when we fall into the pits of emotional, spiritual, and physical despair, God raises, us up, to new life, before we even knew we were down so low.
And He does it with the Word of God to Jeremiah today.
For Jesus was whipped and beaten for telling the truth to the leaders of Jerusalem and Judah.
Jesus was falsely sentenced to death for telling the truth that his kingdom was not of this world and no man could render judgement upon Him.
Jesus was unceremoniously yoked to a cross and took the burden of the sins of the whole world for all time to Golgotha where He died abandoned by our eternal Father.
And Jesus was laid in the ultimate pit of a tomb, broken and dead for anyone to see for themselves.
But death and the pit of ultimate despair would not hold the Word the came to Jeremiah.
For Christ, the Word of God, in the Flesh of Jesus, would rise from the dead to show the ultimate price was paid for the sins of all for all time, and death would no longer hold any of us in the grave no matter what we did to sin against God.
Jeremiah saw the Word, and prepared the way of our Lord Jesus that we all know and believe did everything for us.