Thursday, March 2, 2017
Block 53: Jeremiah
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Come back to me with all your heart.” Joel 2:12
The nation of Israel was falling apart. God had repeatedly warned Israel to stop worshipping false gods, but they didn’t listen. As punishment, God allowed the ten northern tribes to become Assyrian captives. The two southern tribes, Benjamin & Judah, The prophet Jeremiah, a Benjamite himself, was called to tell the Israelites that their behavior had resulted in the destruction of their nation. Jeremiah was only 17 when God called him to action, and he was very fearful that the last two tribes would also fail God’s test. He was called the “weeping prophet” because he often cried real tears when begging the Israelites to listen and conform. Jeremiah quickly became an outcast amongst his friends and family who did not want to hear God’s warning.
The people of Israel had sinned for so many years that they no longer believed in God, His promise of rewards or threats of punishment. Jeremiah became depressed and even more worried. He felt alone in his ministry. God confirmed that this sense of isolation was to be expected, but Jeremiah would be far better off than the suffering that would strike the sinning Israelites. Jeremiah preached for 40 years, and he felt that he made no progress with the Israelites. But God knew that Jeremiah’s words were not wasted. Little did they know, but every Israelite who heard the word, but denied God was essentially “convicted.”
Ultimately, Jeremiah fell victim to his isolation and depression. His life was a never-ending spiral toward death and destruction of the people he loved and tried to save. He began to doubt God himself. But God did not give up on Jeremiah, giving him a message to share with believers at a time when their faith is tested, “If you return, I will restore you…” Jeremiah 15:19. Our world today is much the same as the nation that Jeremiah tried to save. As He did with Jeremiah, God is promising salvation to us as well. He is calling, “Come back to me…”