A Protracted Ministry
Jeremiah 1:1-3
The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin:…

The ministry of Jeremiah attracts attention because of its length, the varied scenes amidst which it was carried on, and the external aspect of failure worn by it from first to last. May there not be in these and other respects a moral attaching to it for those who in distant ages can regard it as a whole, and in connection with the subsequent Divine evolution of events of which it spoke? Contrast it with that of John the Baptist.

I. ITS BACKGROUND OF CIRCUMSTANCE. Five reigns: for the most part brief; two of them ridiculously or tragically so. Beginning in a fitful flush of religious enthusiasm, and ending in a long and shameful captivity. Foreign politics were unusually interesting. The Merle-Babylonian overthrow of Syria was about to take place when he began; in the twenty-third year of his ministry Nebuchadnezzar laid the foundation of Baby-Ionian empire in the victory of Carchemish, in which Israel was subdued, and universal rule passed into his hands; the invasion of Judaea followed in four years, and in the eleventh year of Zedekiah Jerusalem was taken. Personally his had been a checkered career. For twenty-two years comparatively obscure; for the most part probably at Anathoth. But towards the end of this period he came to Jerusalem. We find him in the temple (Jeremiah 7:2); in the gates of the city (Jeremiah 17:19); in prison (Jeremiah 32:2); in the king's house (Jeremiah 22:1; Jeremiah 37:17); and then at times in Egypt. There are two traditions as to his death - one that he was stoned by the Jews in their settlement at Tahapanes, in Egypt; the other that Nebuchadnezzar, having in the twenty-seventh year of his reign conquered Egypt, took him and Baruch with him to Babylon. In any case, he probably lived to an extreme age.

II. ITS MESSAGE. To warn against idolatry, by exposing its real nature and declaring its consequences. Bat through all and beyond all, to declare the indestructibleness of the kingdom of God, the certain advent of "The Lord our Righteousness," and the ultimate glory and happiness of a redeemed and purified people. Of scarce any other prophet can it be said that his predictions were so absolutely, and to present perception hopelessly future. Yet is his tone on this account none the less believing and confident.

III. ITS DIVINE SIGNIFICANCE The "burden" of Jeremiah is identical from reign to reign, although the illustrative and occasioning circumstances vary. May we not say that:

1. The personality of the prophet had a place in the Divine intention? Certain we are that its influence was second only to that of his words, if even to that. His astonishment, sorrow, hope, etc., are all instructive and remarkable.

2. The word of God has to deal with the continuity and development of error, and will outlast it. The best antidote to error is the healthful development of truth. There is no phase of depravity, transgression, or unbelief for which the Word of God has not, in its historic evolution, some doctrine, reproof, correction, or instruction in righteousness. Revealed through human lips and lives by the operation of the Holy Spirit, it is a living, manifold growth, intimately associated with the vicissitudes of that human life it has to correct and redeem. There can never be a time when the gospel will have no word for the inquiring, wondering, suffering, sinning, unbelieving spirit of man.

3. The ministry of the prophet was a visible sign of the Divine long-suffering. "But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people" (Romans 10:21; Isaiah 65:2). "O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you?" (Matthew 17:17). - M.

Parallel Verses
KJV: The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin:

WEB: The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin:

Transgressors Punished
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