April 5, 2009 – April 11, 2009
“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, [and] I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5.
Study Help: Prophets and Kings, 407–409; The Review and Herald, October 20, 1896.
“It is the privilege of the watchmen on the walls of Zion to live so near to God, and to be so susceptible to the impressions of His Spirit, that He can work through them to tell men and women of their peril and point them to the place of safety.” The Acts of the Apostles, 361.
1 By nature, what kind of person was Jeremiah? Jeremiah 9:1, 2.
Note: “Naturally of a timid and shrinking disposition, Jeremiah longed for the peace and quiet of a life of retirement, where he need not witness the continued impenitence of his beloved nation. His heart was wrung with anguish over the ruin wrought by sin.” Prophets and Kings, 419, 420.
2 Despite Jeremiah’s timid nature, why did the Lord call him? Jeremiah 15:20, 21. What lesson do we thus learn?
Note: “In the youthful Jeremiah, God saw one who would be true to his trust and who would stand for the right against great opposition. In childhood he had proved faithful; and now he was to endure hardness, as a good soldier of the cross.” Prophets and Kings, 407.
“We must meet troubles and sorrows. Temptations and wearisome toil will afflict the soul, but we must patiently wait in faith to reap with joy. In the final victory God will have no use for those persons who are nowhere to be found in time of peril and danger, when the strength, courage, and influence of all are required to make a charge upon the enemy. Those who stand like faithful soldiers to battle against wrong, and to vindicate the right, warring against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places, will each receive the commendation from the Master: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant: … enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.’ [Matthew 25:23.]” Testimonies, vol. 3, 327. [Emphasis in original.]
3 What important office did Jeremiah’s father hold in the temple? II Kings 22:4. What unusual double office was Jeremiah called to occupy? Jeremiah 1:1, 5.
Note: “Among those who had hoped for a permanent spiritual revival as the result of the reformation under Josiah was Jeremiah, called of God to the prophetic office while still a youth, in the thirteenth year of Josiah’s reign. A member of the Levitical priesthood, Jeremiah had been trained from childhood for holy service. In those happy years of preparation he little realized that he had been ordained from birth to be ‘a prophet unto the nations.’ [Jeremiah 1:5.]” Prophets and Kings, 407.
4 For what specific mission did the Lord choose Jeremiah, even before his birth? Jeremiah 1:9, 10.
Note: “Thank God for the words, ‘to build, and to plant.’ [Jeremiah 1:10.] By these words Jeremiah was assured of the Lord’s purpose to restore and to heal.” Prophets and Kings, 409.
5 When the Lord called Jeremiah, what warning did He give him? Jeremiah 1:17. What can we learn from this call, and how are we included in the commission? Isaiah 43:10, first part.
Note: “The same God who gave his messages to Moses and Jeremiah will give his word to his witnesses in this generation. ‘For it is not ye that speak,’ Christ declares, ‘but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.’ [Matthew 10:20.] This word of the Lord has been verified in all ages, and it will be verified to the close of time in all who hold the beginning of their confidence firm unto the end.” The Review and Herald, May 24, 1898.
“Each has his place in the eternal plan of heaven. Each is to work in cooperation with Christ for the salvation of souls. Not more surely is the place prepared for us in the heavenly mansions than is the special place designated on earth where we are to work for God.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 326, 327.
“In this closing work of the gospel there is a vast field to be occupied; and, more than ever before, the work is to enlist helpers from the common people. Both the youth and those older in years will be called from the field, from the vineyard, and from the workshop, and sent forth by the Master to give His message. Many of these have had little opportunity for education; but Christ sees in them qualifications that will enable them to fulfill His purpose. If they put their hearts into the work, and continue to be learners, He will fit them to labor for Him.” Education, 269, 270.
6 How is the faithful watchman instructed to labor for those under his care? Ezekiel 33:7; Acts 20:28. What should God’s ambassadors always remember?
Note: “We are Christ’s ambassadors, watchmen unto the house of Israel, to see the dangers that await souls, and give them warning. The pastor is a shepherd of the sheep, guarding them, feeding them, warning them, reproving them, or encouraging them, as the case may require. There is visiting to be done, not to have a pleasant chat, but to do the work required of a watchman. There should be earnest conversation and prayer with these souls. This is the kind of work that gains valuable experience in the upbuilding of Christ’s kingdom.
“But if this work is neglected, the wolves will find access to the flock. They will work for their master, as the watchman has failed to work for his. The sheep will be wounded and bruised, owing to the cold indifference and irresponsible course pursued toward them by the shepherd.
“God has enjoined upon the watchmen to watch for souls as they that must give an account.” The Review and Herald, October 20, 1896.
7 How did Jeremiah react when the Lord called him? Jeremiah 1:6, 7. What did the Lord say to His servant concerning the spiritual condition of His professed people? Jeremiah 1:14, 16.
Note: “Stern were the messages to be borne in the years that were to follow. Prophecies of swift-coming judgments were to be fearlessly delivered. From the plains of Shinar ‘an evil’ was to ‘break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land.’ ‘I will utter My judgments against them,’ the Lord declared, ‘touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken Me.’ [Jeremiah 1]. Verses 14, 16. Yet the prophet was to accompany these messages with assurances of forgiveness to all who should turn from their evil-doing.” Prophets and Kings, 409.
“God does not send judgments upon His people without first warning them to repent. He uses every means to bring them back to obedience and does not visit their iniquity with judgments until He has given them ample opportunity to repent.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 179.
8 For how long was Jeremiah to be a faithful spokesman? Jeremiah 1:3.
Note: “For forty years Jeremiah was to stand before the nation as a witness for truth and righteousness. In a time of unparalleled apostasy he was to exemplify in life and character the worship of the only true God. During the terrible sieges of Jerusalem he was to be the mouthpiece of Jehovah. He was to predict the downfall of the house of David and the destruction of the beautiful temple built by Solomon. And when imprisoned because of his fearless utterances, he was still to speak plainly against sin in high places. Despised, hated, rejected of men, he was finally to witness the literal fulfillment of his own prophecies of impending doom, and share in the sorrow and woe that should follow the destruction of the fated city.” Prophets and Kings, 408.
9 Facing a very difficult time, what comforting promise did Jeremiah receive from the Lord? Jeremiah 1:8, 19.
Note: “Cruel were the mockings he [Jeremiah] was called upon to endure. His sensitive soul was pierced through and through by the arrows of derision hurled at him by those who despised his messages and made light of his burden for their conversion. …
“But the faithful prophet was daily strengthened to endure. ‘The Lord is with me as a mighty terrible One,’ he declared in faith; ‘therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail: they shall be greatly ashamed; for they shall not prosper: their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten.’ ‘Sing unto the Lord, praise ye the Lord: for He hath delivered the soul of the poor from the hand of evildoers.’ Jeremiah 20:11, 13.” Prophets and Kings, 420.
10 What prophetic view did God give to Jeremiah? Jeremiah 31:12.
Note: “Amid the general ruin into which the nation was rapidly passing, Jeremiah was often permitted to look beyond the distressing scenes of the present to the glorious prospects of the future, when God’s people should be ransomed from the land of the enemy and planted again in Zion. He foresaw the time when the Lord would renew His covenant relationship with them.” Prophets and Kings, 408, 409.
“On one occasion, by command of the Lord, the prophet took his position at one of the principal entrances to the city and there urged the importance of keeping holy the Sabbath day. The inhabitants of Jerusalem were in danger of losing sight of the sanctity of the Sabbath, and they were solemnly warned against following their secular pursuits on that day. A blessing was promised on condition of obedience. ‘If ye diligently hearken unto Me,’ the Lord declared, and ‘hallow the Sabbath day, to do no work therein; then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and this city shall remain forever.’ Jeremiah 17:24, 25.
“This promise of prosperity as the reward of allegiance was accompanied by a prophecy of the terrible judgments that would befall the city should its inhabitants prove disloyal to God and His law. If the admonitions to obey the Lord God of their fathers and to hallow His Sabbath day were not heeded, the city and its palaces would be utterly destroyed by fire.
“Thus the prophet stood firmly for the sound principles of right living so clearly outlined in the book of the law. But the conditions prevailing in the land of Judah were such that only by the most decided measures could a change for the better be brought about; therefore he labored most earnestly in behalf of the impenitent. ‘Break up your fallow ground,’ he pleaded, ‘and sow not among thorns.’ ‘O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved.’ Jeremiah 4:3, 14.
“But by the great mass of the people the call to repentance and reformation was unheeded. Since the death of good King Josiah, those who ruled the nation had been proving untrue to their trust and had been leading many astray. Jehoahaz, deposed by the interference of the king of Egypt, had been followed by Jehoiakim, an older son of Josiah. From the beginning of Jehoiakim’s reign, Jeremiah had little hope of saving his beloved land from destruction and the people from captivity. Yet he was not permitted to remain silent while utter ruin threatened the kingdom. Those who had remained loyal to God must be encouraged to persevere in right -doing, and sinners must, if possible, be induced to turn from iniquity.
“The crisis demanded a public and far-reaching effort. Jeremiah was commanded by the Lord to stand in the court of the temple and speak to all the people of Judah who might pass in and out. From the messages given him he must diminish not a word, that sinners in Zion might have the fullest possible opportunity to hearken and to turn from their evil ways.
“The prophet obeyed; he stood in the gate of the Lord’s house and there lifted his voice in warning and entreaty.” Prophets and Kings, 411–413.
©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.