Comforts from the Fall of Babylon

Jeremiah 50.1


It would be a formidable challenge to look at everything in the Book of Jeremiah. But we can at least look at all the great features of it, to give a sense of direction for personal reading and study, and to mine the depths of the things that apply to our present walk and ministry.

Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet. He had a 40-year ministry in a time which bears striking similarities to our own. And so there’s a very great deal of direct and helpful counsel for us and commands of God and principles to follow in this great prophecy.

There’s no doubt that Jeremiah was a priest, and was descended from a priest. He describes himself as a child, but the Hebrew term translated ‘child’ is a very elastic one, and it’s used in the Bible to describe someone who could be anything up to 40 years of age. So for all we know, Jeremiah uses the term in the sense of inexperienced, unprepared, not sophisticated enough or learned enough to have this calling and this task.

The word of the Lord to Jeremiah came in the days of Josiah, first of all, and it mentions the thirteenth year of his reign. You may recall that Josiah’s reforms, his great work of reformation in Judah, began in the twelfth year of his reign. So the year after the commencement of the reforms of Josiah to purify the worship and the land comes this call to a young prophet, a priest who is made a prophet. It’s unusual for a prophet to be also a priest, but Jeremiah held both offices.

This call comes at a strategic time. The Lord is working. The people will reject the reforms of Josiah. They’ll outwardly comply with them, but not in their hearts. All the evidence will be that the people are as obdurate and rebellious and idolatrous as they ever were.

However, God provides not only a king to enact reforms, but a prophet to teach and to warn at the same time. So the people will be, we could say, doubly responsible for their failure to follow the reforms.