PowerPoint file - Fellowship in Montreal

The Prophet (Serving One with
the Word of God) and the One
Being Served, as Seen in the
Serving Life of Jeremiah and
Three Kings of Judah
Three Challenges of Jeremiah in
Raising Up Three Kinds of Kings:
Routine, Rebellion and Indecision (or
Wishy washiness)
2100 BC: God’s promise to Abraham
2000 BC: Jacob is born
1900 BC: Joseph sold into slavery
1446 BC: Exodus begins
1406: Israel begins establishing itself as a sovereign
1400 BC: Israel ruled by judges
1050 BC: Saul becomes Israel’s first king
1010 BC: David becomes king of Israel
970 BC: Solomon becomes king, builds temple
926 BC: Israel becomes divided kingdom
721 BC: Assyrians conquer northern kingdom of Israel
586 BC: Babylon destroys Jerusalem and the temple
• A son of a priest from Anathoth in the land of Benjamin
• But called to be a prophet
• Many times, God calls us to serve Him not necessarily
according to what we think we are qualified to do.
• Jeremiah may have expected to serve God as a priest.
• Yet God wanted him to speak as a prophet.
• This forced him to go beyond himself, to be stretched.
• God will stretch us to force us to depend not on our
natural ability, but on Him.
• 628 BC to 586 BC
• A period of at least 42 years
• He lived in the last years of the kingdom of
Judah before, during, and after the siege of
Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.
• He prophesied during the reign of 4 kings:
1. Josiah
2. Jehoiakim
3. Jehoiachin
4. Zedekiah
• The Last Five Kings of Judah
1. Josiah
• Reigned 31 years (640-609 BC)
2. Jehoahaz (Shallum)
• Reigned 3 months (609 BC)
• Taken prisoner to Egypt by Pharaoh Neco
3. Jehoiakim (Eliakim)
• Reigned 11 years (609-598 BC)
• Died in Jerusalem
4. Jehoichin (Jeconiah, Coniah)
• Reigned 3 months (December 9, 598 - March 16, 597
• Taken prisoner to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar (with
5. Zedekiah
• Reigned 11 years (597--586 BC)
• Taken prisoner to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar
Definition of « Jeremiah »
• Jeremiah, in Hebrew, means « God exalts,
and God tears down »
• Meaning that Jeremiah had to experience
God’s raising up and God’s tearing down
of himself
• This means that a prophet must
experience what he speaks to others
Jeremiah’s Calling
• Known by God before his conception
• Set apart by God from his mother’s womb
• Appointed by God as a prophet
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations (1:4-5)
Jeremiah’s Response
• I do not know how to speak, for I am too
God’s Response
God touches Jeremiah’s mouth
Everything I command you, you shall speak
A prophet’s mouth must be touched by God.
It is not just a matter of speaking, or speaking
our portion, but of being touched and broken by
• God puts His words in Jeremiah’s mouth, to
destroy and build up. Jeremiah had to himself
experience this in his own life
Jeremiah’s Vision
• God asks Jeremiah, « What do you see? »
• God asks us the same question.
• If we want to prophesy for the Lord as a serving one, we have to
see something.
• First, Jeremiah sees the rod of an almond tree
• This means that God is watching over His word to perform it
• Secondly, Jeremiah sees a boiling pot.
• This refers to the sin of the children of Israel in forsaking God
and turning to idols, and God’s judgment on them.
• Based on his vision, Jeremiah is charged by God not to be afraid,
but to speak.
• God is honest with Jeremiah to tell him that his words will be
• However, God is with him and will deliver him.
• This is one of the first lessons of a serving one. A serving one
speaks to others, yet in his speaking, the main thing that God is
after is to speak to him first, and to save him first. If God can
deliver me, He can deliver others also.
Characteristics of Jeremiah
One of the most human of prophets
Full of feeling towards the people
Called the weeping prophet
Never distancing himself from the people
Ready to suffer shame at the hands of the
• Willing to go through physical
demonstrations in order to illustrate his
Characteristics of Jeremiah
• Desperate to release his burden, and devastated when
people do not receive his burden:
O LORD, You induced me, and I was persuaded;
You are stronger than I, and have prevailed.
I am in derision daily;
Everyone mocks me.
For when I spoke, I cried out;
I shouted, “Violence and plunder!”
Because the word of the LORD was made to me
A reproach and a derision daily.
Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him,
Nor speak anymore in His name.”
But His word was in my heart like a burning fire
Shut up in my bones;
I was weary of holding it back,
And I could not (20:7-9)
First Challenge: Routine
Jeremiah Begins His Ministry:
Raising up Josiah
• He began his ministry during the 13th year of the
reign of Josiah, that is when Josiah was 21
years old (Josiah was 8 years old when he
began to reign)
• Right after Josiah had begun to purge Judah of
the high places and the idols
• Five years later, under Jeremiah’s speaking and
shepherding, Josiah decides to repair the temple
of God (at the age of 26).
• It is during that time that the book of law is found.
• It is also during this time that the Passover is
In Raising Up a Young Person
• Josiah, a young brother learning how to
serve in the church life
• At age 16, 5 years before Jeremiah began
to serve him, he began to seek after the
God of David his father (2 Chronicles 34:3)
Training Josiah Not to Be in
Routine or Oldness
• Josiah had grown quite well, and was
positively following the Lord
• Yet Jeremiah is keen to warn Josiah
against complacency and routine:
For My people have committed two evils:
They have forsaken Me, the fountain of
living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns
broken cisterns that can hold no water (2:13)
Jeremiah continues
The LORD said also to me in the days of Josiah the king:
“Have you seen what backsliding Israel has done? She
has gone up on every high mountain and under every
green tree, and there played the harlot (3:6)
Jeremiah points out the sin of Israel and Judah to Josiah.
Josiah was seeking the Lord.
He was therefore able to receive this strong word
concerning the people, which would force him to go to
the Lord in His light to repent even further.
Jeremiah did not let Josiah become complacent because
of his positive attitude in following the Lord.
The more we follow the Lord, the more we are brought
into His light concerning the condition of God’s people.
The more the Lord exposes our own condition, the more
we are able to see the condition of others and minister to
their need.
A Hidden Ministry
• There is no mention of Jeremiah’s role in
raising up Josiah, neither in 2 Kings nor in
2 Chronicles.
• The only mention of Jeremiah in the books
of history is at Josiah’s death.
• Jeremiah laments Josiah’s death.
• This may indicate that Jeremiah’s ministry,
as far as the public record is concerned,
was hidden and behind the scenes.
Further Challenge for Jeremiah
• During Josiah’s reign, the situation had changed for the
• Josiah was a king who was able to lead the people to the
proper worship of God.
• There was a revival in Judah, seen in the way that the
Passover was celebrated.
• However, Jeremiah, as a prophet with vision, saw the
need to continue his ministry with Jehoiakim.
• This shows that Jeremiah was not content with merely
fulfilling his ministry with Josiah.
• He was burdened for Jehoiakim, Josiah’s son, even
though Jehoiakim lacked the qualities of his father.
• As a serving one, do we pick and choose, or compare
those we serve with ones we served in the past?
• Or do we take what God gives us, and labor with burden
and vision to bring that one into God’s way and heart?
Second Challenge: Rebellion
• Routine leads and blossoms into rebellion
• The routine apparent during the reign of
Josiah manifests itself during the reign of
The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying,
“Stand in the gate of the LORD’s house, and proclaim
there this word, and say, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, all
you of Judah who enter in at these gates to worship the
LORD!’” Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel:
“Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you
to dwell in this place. Do not trust in these lying words,
saying, ‘The temple of the LORD, the temple of the
LORD, the temple of the LORD are these’ (7:1-4)
• The more we have spiritually, the more we
will boast.
• The temple had been built by Solomon
• The temple had been restored by Josiah
• There was a lot to boast about.
• But there was no reality in the daily living
of the king.
• No fruit, no expression of what they
boasted in.
• Jehoiakim was 25 years old when he began to
• His reign came after his brother Joahaz or
Jehoaz reigned for 3 months in Jerusalem, and
then was deposed by the king of Egypt.
• Jehoiakim was made king by the king of Egypt.
• He reigned 11 years.
• He did what was evil in the sight of Jehovah.
• He is often referred to as Jehoiakim, the son of
• This indicates that there was no spiritual
continuation or reproduction with Josiah.
Jeremiah’s Labor with Jehoiakim
• All of Jeremiah’s speaking is according to the
word of the Lord to him.
• The word that Jeremiah speaks is at a precise
time, during a particular moment of the reign of
Now it came to pass in the fourth year of
Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, that
this word came to Jeremiah from the LORD,
saying (36:1)
• Finding a way to impart the word of God to the
people and to the king.
Jeremiah’s Labor with Jehoiakim
• Using the religious setting and gatherings to speak the word
of God:
In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah,
king of Judah, this word came from the LORD, saying, “Thus
says the LORD: ‘Stand in the court of the LORD’s house, and
speak to all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the
LORD’s house, all the words that I command you to speak to
them. Do not diminish a word. Perhaps everyone will listen
and turn from his evil way, that I may relent concerning the
calamity which I purpose to bring on them because of the evil
of their doings.’ And you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the
LORD: “If you will not listen to Me, to walk in My law which I
have set before you, to heed the words of My servants the
prophets whom I sent to you, both rising up early and sending
them (but you have not heeded), then I will make this house
like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of
the earth.”’”
So the priests and the prophets and all the people heard
Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the LORD.
• Jeremiah struggled to release the burden of the
Lord within the given situation.
• This means that in the church life, we have
limitations and restraints within which we must
• Even if religion or routine characterizes our
church life, we can still serve in that situation
with the word of God until the Lord says
• There is still hope for our heart to turn back to
the Lord, away from our religious fervour and
How Is Jeremiah Able to Release
His Burden to Reach Jehoiakim?
• In chapter 36, Jeremiah realizes that he is not able to
come directly into the king’s presence.
• He does not give up. He finds a way.
• He dictates the word of the Lord to Baruch who writes it
down on a scroll
• He commands Baruch to read the word to the people in
the house of Jehovah during a fast
• One man, Micaiah, hears the words.
• Micaiah goes to the princes (the rulers) and narrates all
the words that he had heard
• The princes respond by asking Jehudi to bring Baruch to
read to them the scroll
• Baruch reads the scroll to the princes
• The princes are convicted
• They realize that they must report these words to the
Jehoiakim’s Response
• The king sends for Jehudi to read the scroll to
• Jehudi reads the scroll to the king
• As he reads 3 or 4 columns, the king cuts out
that section with a knife and throws it into the fire
• The king and his servants were not afraid and
did not tear their garments
• The king did not listen to the nobles who urged
him not to burn the scroll
• The king orders Jeremiah and Baruch to be
• God hides Jeremiah and Baruch
Application to Our Church Life: As
Serving Ones
• As Jeremiah, as serving ones, we need to find
an entrance into the heart of those we serve,
even if they might not want to listen to us.
• Jeremiah did not let the situation defeat him.
• Rather, he worked with Baruch, one individual.
• Eventually, it was through Micaiah, another
individual, that the princes were touched.
• Our labor may be with many people, but we
should always have a few specific ones as our
• Our labor on a few may open the way for the
many to be touched.
As Those Being Served
• Jehoiakim was not present during the fast.
• Therefore, he was not able to listen to the word of the
Lord through Jeremiah.
• This means that even in our weak spiritual condition,
even in our lack of much reality, the word of God can still
be spoken to touch us.
• Instead, Jehoiakim was sitting in his winter palace in
front of a blazing fire while the fast was going on.
• Sometimes, we like to forsake the gatherings or spiritual
exercise to avoid religion.
• Such a practice can lead us even further away from the
• Eventually, when a specific word comes to us, we will,
like Jehoiakim, take a knife and cut out that word from
our lives.
Cutting Out the Word of God and
Burning It
• Any word from God that does not fit my person
or character
• Any word from God that does not fit into my
sphere of operation
• Any word from God that does not fit into my
understanding of the truth or the Bible
• Any word from God that threatens to upset my
comfortable existence in the church life
• Any word from God that threatens the peace in
my church life
Leading Eventually to Rebellion
God no longer has a way to speak to us
We become settled in our ways
We become old and routine
There is no freshness in our pursuing
There is no, or little fruit
We do not shepherd or raise up people
Yet we handle spiritual things and even
boast in them.
What Can We Learn From This?
• As Josiah, we must have a pursuing heart and
• Josiah listened to Jeremiah and let Jeremiah’s word
operate in him.
• Eventually, Jeremiah’s word became God’s word to
• As Jehoiakim, the biggest danger is being settled
and content, yet thinking that we are pursuing.
• When the word comes to us, do we bring that word
to the Lord in prayer, or do we cut it out of our lives
and burn it?
• As Jeremiah, we need to labor with a few and seek
to find ways for the word to gain an entrance in the
hearts of the people we labor with.