A Man for the Hour

MEMORY VERSE: “Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord.” —Jeremiah 1:8


JEREMIAH was originally a priest, but was called by God to serve him as a prophet. His service embraced the period when Israel came under the domination of Babylon, and it was concluded in Egypt, where he was taken against his will. Like Saul of Tarsus of the New Testament, Jeremiah was called to be a prophet from his mother’s womb. He was ordained to be a prophet unto “the nations,” although his service in this field was confined mostly to Israel, Babylon and Egypt receiving his attention because of their attitude toward the Israelites.

Jeremiah was comparatively a young man when he began to serve the Lord as a prophet, and humbly he felt his inability for such an important task. But the Lord reassured him, saying, “Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord.” Jeremiah related, “Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my word in thy mouth.”

The Lord enlarges upon this, saying, “I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.” Actually, Jeremiah did not do any of these things, but he did declare the word of the Lord that they would be done. He foretold the destruction of Jerusalem, and the captivity of the Israelites. He also foretold their release.

Jeremiah foretold a building up of Israel which would take place in the distant future; a time when the Lord would make a New Covenant with his people, when he would put within them a heart of flesh, and when their sins and their iniquities he would remember no more.—Jer. 31:31-34

Jeremiah also foretold an awakening from the sleep of death, particularly of children. To weeping mothers he wrote, “Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border.”—Jer. 31:15-17

JEREMIAH 26:12-15

There was no doubt in Jeremiah’s mind that he had been commissioned by God to be a prophet in Israel, and his prophecy concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity of the people was not a pleasant one to utter; but this message the Lord had also given him, and he did not shrink from boldly declaring it.

However, Jeremiah pointed out to the Israelites that they could escape from the foretold calamities if they would amend their ways. Jeremiah was given a direct revelation from the Lord on this point, which is recorded in chapter 18, verses 6-8. This lesson is based upon the custom of the potter, as Jeremiah had observed it. After observing what the potter did when a vessel he was making did not turn out to his liking, the Lord said to Jeremiah,

“O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; if that nation against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.”

While Jeremiah’s message was stern and foreboding it was, after all, tempered by this promise of the Lord that upon the basis of repentance and following in the ways of the Lord, the nation still could be saved.

But the Israelites did not repent. Instead, they threatened to take Jeremiah’s life. But Jeremiah took this as from the Lord, believing that it could happen only by divine permission. So he said to the Israelites, “I am in your hand: do with me as seemeth good and meet unto you.”


When and to whom did Jeremiah prophesy?

How was mercy shown in his message?

Dawn Bible Students Association
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