Eat This Book: Episode #26


“Man of Constant Sorrow”

HOST: Michael Whitworth


Jeremiah was a priest from Anathoth, a city near Jerusalem in the land allotted to the tribe of Benjamin. Most scholars believe that he was in his 20s when he received the call to ministry. He is brutally honest and sincere in his relationship with both God and man.

The public ministry of Jeremiah began in the thirteenth year of Josiah’s reign (about 627 B.C.). Jeremiah’s prophetic work continued through the reigns of Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah. Shortly after the destruction of Jerusalem (586 B.C.), Jeremiah was carried by fellow Jews into Egyptian bondage and ended his life’s work there. All told, the work of Jeremiah spanned four decades.

Key Themes:

  1. Jeremiah’s message was constant, regardless of who was in power. When we become entangled in politics and sideshows we can lose sight of the real issue—glorifying God through our love for others and our relationship with him.
  2. Though he bore God’s message of judgment and destruction, Jeremiah did not do so from a position of moral authority. Rather, he wept for and interceded on the behalf of the people. Like Jeremiah, when dealing with those enslaved to sin and sinful practices, the church must retain a healthy dose of humanity.
  3. Many false prophets in Jeremiah’s day put an unhealthy emphasis on the Temple, believing that God would never allow his House to be destroyed or see ruin. But they were wrong. We must beware lest we deceive ourselves with a false sense of security, resting upon the laurels of previous generations and pointing to a restored Christianity as evidence of God’s favor. Our ears and eyes must be attentive to God’s message, and our hearts must be ready to make reforms when the need arises.
  4. Though Josiah and Jeremiah led some reforms, they did not take root in the heart of the people of Judah. Obedience that is not from the heart is not obedience.

Keys to Reading:

  1. Read 2 Kings 21-25 for the historical framework of Jeremiah
  2. Note how politically inept Judah becomes as various kings refuse to fear the Lord.
  3. Note how Jeremiah opens with God holding out the offer of hope and redemption to the people if they repent, but how later chapters concede that destruction is inevitable.
  4. Finally, note how the people became incapable of believing and obeying the word of the Lord, even when it was spoken for their good.

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Michael Whitworth is the founder of Start2Finish and author of several books, including the award-winning "The Epic of God" and "The Derision of Heaven." In his spare time, Michael enjoys reading and drinking coffee, watching sports, and spending time with his awesome family and furry golden retriever.

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